Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Studio Front Door

When I started this blog site in December 2008, I posted a photo of my studio building -- scroll down the right-hand column to see it.
Whenever someone asked me where my studio was located, I'd describe it as a large blue building immediately north of Highland Park Elementary School. The studio is on the corner of 7th Avenue and Hilger - or so one would think. But 7th Avenue bends slightly at Hilger and at that point 7th Avenue magically becomes 1st Street for the distance of all of a half a city block or less to where it "T"s with the truck bypass street. I was unaware of that little "detail" until one time I'd given driving directions as: "follow the truck bypass, then turn on 7th Avenue." My visitors promptly became lost! After that I always referenced the school and the fact that my studio is large, blue and sitting in full view on the corner. And somehow lots of people managed to drive right by and miss it. A vacant lot, it seemed, would be more visible. (I must admit though, most of the time I'm okay with this "hiding in plain sight"; I get more art done when no one stops in.)

I decided to give the studio front door a fresh coat of paint in 2009. It was autumn, which meant that while I painted, dozens of red and black Box Elder Bugs plopped into the paint can. No surprise. Twice a year (spring and autumn) their population explodes. Harmless -- Box Elder Bugs can't bite or sting -- they're regarded as a nuisance because there are so many.

Picking wriggling lumps out of the paint, it occurred to me that everyone has a box elder bug story to tell. I don't know if that's the reason I decided to paint a very large Box Elder Bug on my studio door but in hindsight is makes perfect sense. My bug is complete with it's shadow in the proper relationship to the actual direction of the sunlight on the door.
Now, when people ask for directions, I simply say "a Box Elder Bug is on the door." And there is instant recognition of my studio and location. I don't even mention the school anymore.
Just the big Box Elder Bug.

What kinds of insects signal the changing seasons where you live?

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