Monday, October 17, 2011

Cups at the Flatiron: 4 Weeks Down and 10 to Go



So what is the hardest thing about being in the window of the Flatiron drawing five days a week? That coffee cart right outside on 5th Avenue. It is just so dang hard to draw! I have now tackled it a half dozen times. Three of the resulting cups passed my keeper test and are hanging in the window. Have a hunt for them.

Cups of the Day #90 by Gwyneth Leech.
Recent cups in the Flatiron window.
India ink on upcycled white paper cups.

After that, it is the perspective of the buildings on all these converging and diverging streets. No, I don't have to tackle them, but it is an irresistible challenge. I peer up Broadway and 5th Avenue to the north and try to figure out that crazy skyline. Am I really seeing buildings as far away as 42nd Street? What a vista!

The view from the inside
the cup installation by Gwyneth Leech, 
in the Sprint Prow Artspace, Flatiron Building,
where 5th Avenue and Broadway Meet.

Visitors outside the plate glass, and those who find their way in through the Sprint Store are always welcome, as long as they don't mind that I usually won't be looking them in the eye - I have to keep drawing, it is nothing personal. Lots of kids come in on Saturdays especially, and don't want to leave. Thanks to Faber Castell and my now enormous stash of empty take-out cups from all over the five boroughs, there is plenty for everyone who wants to try cup drawing.
 

The view from Broadway.
Everyone knows about cups!

Usually mom and dad are too shy to draw, and while little Johnny tries his hand on one, two, three cups they cruise the Sprint store checking out the latest merchandise (which is the new I-phone, by the way).
 
 Impromptu drawing workshop inside the exhibit.
A steady flow of kids on a Saturday afternoon.

I am getting to know the rhythm of the Sprint store by now. I arrive each morning a few minutes before 11am with my takeout cup from one of a selection of nearby places (Eisenberg's, Deli Marché, Argo) and catch the eye of the manager(ess) on duty - Rob, Ashley, Precious, Yanelli, sometimes Matt. Then I go and sit in mental Zen space by the glass door leading to the Prow until the key is fetched from a secret location down a spiral staircase and deep in the bowels of the offices below street level. The key arrives, the manager(ess) unlocks with a smile, there is a whoosh of air as the door opens, I am invariably wished a good day, and finally, I have reached the inner sanctum.

The door is left ajar and will be locked again once I leave. I get myself situated: cell phone and camera out, coffee at hand, pull up the chair, take a seat and bam.... I am in the zone for the next three hours, drawing and looking and dreaming and seeming to float on the current of humanity outside the glass. The buzz and music from the Sprint store recede, people and traffic are a distant hum, there is the occasional low rumble of a passing subway train. None of it distracts me. I have to say, it really is a sweet spot for a studio, right in the heart of the city, and four weeks have flown by! I feel fortunate indeed to have another ten stretching leisurely before me.

The installation from the very point of the Prow.
The exhibit is changing and growing 
as I add new cup drawings five days a week.

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