2013 International Art Festival
Artist Official Entries
stephen woodsSunnyside NY USA
It’s been over 20 years since I sat in a technical drawing class in the northwest of Ireland. Twenty boys and two girls were equipped with setsquares, a T-square, a compass, a protractor and a 2H pencil. The instructor used a large black board and in chalk demonstrated how to construct shapes using the equipment. The board was old and it had a sheen that showed the remnants of the previous classes lesson. Underneath our lesson I would sometimes see writings in French, Gaelic and English. In a designated area a large wooden compass with a metal tip was used. Its tip pierced the surface; chalk dust had embedded thousands of these small holes, making them highly visible. Lessons were given on perspective, the golden ratio, scale and we were shown how to draw plans in 2 and 3-Dimensional form. To the students right hand side of the board was a large clock with black hour and minute hands and a red second hand that moved seamlessly. Under the clock was the speaker box for the PA system and on occasion we would hear our instructor’s name be called. This gave us a chance to talk to one another. Around this time the cult classic soap opera Twin Peaks was airing and it was a topic of conversation for me. Its mystery and aesthetic was unlike the mystery and aesthetic I knew. I was more accustomed to narratives of Druids and Vikings and the imagery of illuminated manuscripts. Animal and bird symbolism were evident in the show; a few years earlier I spent two years on my grandparent’s farm and life there functioned with regards to animal and bird behaviors. Weather patterns, social events and death were predicted. Paranormal activity or UFO sighting were not taken seriously and seldom were they discussed. My grandfather would say, “television is the ruination of conversation” and I remember my grandmother encouraging a book, titled: old sayings and Irish proverbs. Reading was a pastime for them. Other times he would sit quietly and smoke his pipe, while my grandmother kneaded dough for soda bread. My chore was to bring drinking water from a well located a short distance from the house. At 6PM the national and international news was listened to and at night the mechanisms of a clock ticked loudly from inside their wooden casing. In reflection spending time with my grandparents was like stepping into a time machine. While staying there I drew a cityscape on a piece of mirrored glass. In black marker I outlined buildings; rectangular windows filled the outlines and various aircraft filled the sky. It was not long after finishing school that I boarded a plane for New York.