16. 9/11 and Change


                                            September 2001

The Setting

In the years prior to  2001 my studio took up the whole side of a floor –  the side that had the only access to a fire escape. One day my landlord was pressured to create public access to the fire escape, so he had to cut my space in half. One side would remain my studio shooting area and the other had my office and darkroom. As I became more involved with 3D illustration I rented out my shooting area and then eventually gave it up, because I stopped using it. I kept the darkroom/office side. My darkroom tenants covered the rent for the darkroom/office area and their presence also provided me with some company.

In 2001 I was doing freelance Photoshop and 3D work. The 3D was usually done for POP, or Point of Purchase, companies where I would build 3D models and sets to show what a newly designed POP unit would look like before it went into production.


On the morning of September  11, 2001 I was on a bus to such a freelance job in New Jersey. I had worked at the company for several days and when the bus dropped me off all the employeees were out on the front lawn. When I asked what was going on, they pointed to the smoke coming from the World Trade Center off in the distance. The office was in chaos. People didn’t know whether to work, watch the TV news in the manager’s office or leave.  There was no way for me to get back to Manhattan that night so several of us stayed in a hotel room one of the company’s Boston salesmen already had reserved. Joe Soucy and I still speak every year on 9/11.

After 9/11 all my magazine clients retrenched. They brought their artwork needs in house and so, effectively, business stopped for me. My darkroom tenants did something similar. They seemed to vanish overnight. Looking for advice, I called my accountant and asked him what he thought I should do. His answer was: “Close the studio”.

So that is what I did. I sold everything I could – all the darkroom equipment I studiously  bought over many years. I had stored family things in my studio loft and all of it had to come home. I had had my studio for 19 years and now that phase was over. I had no idea what would be next.

Like so many other people, I was in shock. I sat home with boxes everywhere, all taken back from the studio. I sold darkroom enlarger lenses, my motorized Besseler and many other things as best I could.

Then I took my first full time job in 19 years building POP, or Point of Purchase, models in 3D and after six months the company had problems so they let me go. I wasn’t used to having  a full time job, much less loosing one so soon.


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