To Alfred and Beyond!

I’m still trying to process my trip to Alfred this week.

For starters it was amazing! I have to admit that I had some mixed feelings about coming to Alfred to speak to art students about my tattooing. Public speaking is definitely not my forte. However since I was asked to speak about myself and my tattooing – it’s not really like I could get it wrong.

I arrived at Alfred Monday night and had a wonderful dinner with my host Fred Tschida and several other new friends. After dinner bunny and I checked in at the Saxon Inn on campus. Not at all what I was expecting. I had kind of figured I would be staying in an old dorm room or something and had even brought a towel and washcloth with me in case where I was staying didn’t have them. Nope. Very nice little hotel with an extra especially nice clerk working the front desk. bunny at the Saxon   hotel room at the Saxon Inn (Alfred)

Tuesday morning I awoke bright and early to the ongoing sound of my neighbor snoring (I can’t imagine how unbelievably loud it must have been IN his room, because it was pretty bad from mine) and went exploring just a bit. There was an abandoned High School just next door. So very tempting. I am SURE that if I was a student here I would have to go exploring this building!

abandoned high school      broken window   graffiti    sculpture   graffiti    Because Beauty...   door of abandoned high school   front of abandoned school   spiderweb window   Outside of the hotel there were a bunch of daffodils when I checked out. daffodils    daffodil I had a few minutes to checkout the outside of the buildings before meeting up with Fred.

graffiti   unlit neon   After some wandering around the building (into rooms that I was clearly not supposed to be in). I finally asked a student where the neon shop was and he showed me that I was a floor off. The neon shop was obviously an incredibly cool place.

neon   These squirrels were saved from being thrown out and renamed Salt and Pepper. salt and pepper squirrels   Salt and Pepper Squirrels   grape lampgrape lampgrape lamp   rusty toy truck      glass  And Fred’s office was even cooler! I could spend weeks in here going through all of the great stuff that he has collected.  Fred Tschida office   Fred Tschida's office   Fred's office   Fred's office   Fred's office   Fred's office   Fred's office   Fred's office   

A very nice young lady (who’s name I unfortunately have lost) came by to give me a tour of the school. I started out taking photos for a little bit and then became so overwhelmed and excited about the environment that I spaced out and forgot to take any more pictures.

I’ve decided that I want to run away to Art School. I would so very much love to me able to be immersed in this kind of creative place. To be able to experiment with so many different forms of art and to be surrounded by supportive, enthusiastic people. At first I was thinking that I am jealous of all of these students – but then I realized it wasn’t even that. More than jealous, I am excited for them. They have no idea how wonderful it is here. Such is the way of youth that we often don’t appreciate the things that are right in front of us at the time. I know that if I would have been able to go to school I wouldn’t have appreciated it at the time… and I often speak with Art School graduates who think that it wasn’t worth it or they didn’t really learn anything when they were there. They don’t understand that they will not ever again have the opportunity to be so completely immersed in a creative space like that. Maybe it is even why so many art students don’t wind up pursuing art after they graduate…. it must be an enormously loss to be outside of that and have to rely on yourself for inspiration.

For me, since I was unable to attend Art School – I am driven to learn all that I can. Maybe I wouldn’t have that drive if things had gone differently. Who knows.

Anyhow, rather the students know or not – rather they appreciate it or not…. It is an amazing place full of opportunity and inspiration. I am happy for them.     * I need to find out who is making this bunny and try to buy it off of them. I want this bunny in my life *      bubble wrap creation

I was able to do my presentation/talk right in the neon lab – which was infinitely more comfortable for me than standing at a podium in a more conventional environment would have been. Since I have never been to University and have never heard an outside speaker come in to present to the class – I have no idea how I did. I do know that the PowerPoint presentations that I put on my iPad actually worked properly and projected as planned. I did not pass out, hyperventilate or even get that weird voice thing that I get when I speak in front of a group. So I was way more comfortable than normal. The students were all very nice and had lots of great questions and feedback for me.

I would even go and do it again.

Fred and his students were wonderful. I wish that I could remember everyone’s names to thank them – but having Fred, Katie and Max there helped me feel more at ease (as well as all of the other students that I was introduced to that day).

The entire experience was both wonderful and surreal and I am terribly grateful that despite my misspent youth and lack of a “proper” education – I was actually invited to a place of learning to share my thoughts.

Rib Cage light   neon tubing   neon tubing

After I was finished Fred presented me with a really amazing book which is a companion to an exhibit that is going to be (or is currently in) Philadelphia. The book is so incredibly cool that I want to figure out when the exhibit is and take a run down there (maybe to the Mutter Museum the same weekend). Several of the students signed the inside cover as well – so it will be a wonderful souvenir on top of being a wonderful reference source.

A Glorious Enterprise

I can’t possibly convey how grateful I am for this experience and for the glimpse that I was given of Alfred and it’s students. I’m sitting here both giddy and tearful all at the same time and I guess no one else really needs to understand that but me….

I’m going to go make stuff now : )



~ by justteejay on April 11, 2012.

3 Responses to “To Alfred and Beyond!”

  1. I am a student of Fred’s and was looking for images of him. I am curious when this was? Did you end up doing a tattoo of a moth on a student as a part of this relationship? Did you do Fred’s finger tattoos? I am so curious!

    • Hi Michael! It was a few years ago, I️ could probably figure out exactly when by looking at the posting date. I️ did make a tattoo of a moth for one of the students, but she did not ever get around to finishing the piece that we were exchanging for.
      Yes, I️ made Fred’s finger tattoos for him. We traded work. He made me a small neon sign based on one from Blue Velvet is says “this is it”.

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