Friday, December 16, 2011

Sailing Past the Median in the Flatiron Prow

Cups of the Day #94
Fire Escapes by Gwyneth Leech
Colored India Ink on white, upcycled coffee cups.

I am surprised that it has passed already - the halfway point on my journey in Sprint's Prow Artspace at the Flatiron Building! Favorable winds of goodwill have buoyed us along since September 20th, and the exhibit has been extended until February 18th, 2012. 

I must admit, my first day drawing inside a sweltering triangle of glass seemed endless. I paced and peered out the windows in all directions. How was I going to manage this? But a routine took shape and my temporary studio has become an enjoyable and productive place to be five days a week. When I am not there, I think of drawings I would like to do, gestures and patterns to explore.
The artist at work
Photo by Trish Mayo
View from Fifth Avenue, December 2011

I top up the cup stacks daily with my own beverages from the many coffee bars and delis nearby. In addition, friends have donated stacks of their own used cups, each one with name and date on the bottom, and the place they drank the coffee, expanding the record of social moments.  I love to take lucky dip and see what color or text comes up from a coffee bar in deepest Brooklyn or Queens that I haven't yet had the good fortune to visit!

Rainy Day window
November 2011

Orchids from Eve and orchid cup
Colored India ink on white paper coffee cup
October 2011

Looking back over the first half of the journey, there are so many highlights: cups reflected in umbrellas during torrential rains, twins in brilliantly patterned rain coats smiling in at me, my hot dog cart so hard to draw, the tricky fire escapes on the buildings across 5th Avenue. Then there was the Bicycle Barber who came to call and gave me and the exhibit's curator, Cheryl McGinnis haircuts, the freakish blizzard that engulfed the Prow before the end of October, and Eve Suter who brightened a dark afternoon with a bouquet of coffee colored orchids in a tall white cup.  Not to mention the many great conversations with old friends, and new ones from around the world.

Hot Dog Cart Cup
White-out pen and colored ink on
Maroon printed paper cup
September 2011

Summer styles have given way to winter coats. I spy Santa hats, Christmas trees and giant bags of shopping these days. The trees in Madison Square Park changed to gold and are now a tracery of black branches against the pale stone buildings beyond. The sweltering heat of late summer sun turned to chill breezes inside the Prow. For awhile I sat bundled in coat and sweaters. Finally, the heat kicked on in the ancient radiators, sending the cups spinning in waves of convection.

Freak blizzard at the Prow
October 2011

Nights come early now and more and more photos are posted online, documenting the windows in all weathers and times of day.

Fortified by stacks of coffee cups, ample art pens from Faber Castell, the never ending flow of visual stimuli on the streets outside and the promise of many interesting social moments yet to come, I am looking forward to the rest of the crossing. February 18th will be here before we know it!

Night Photographers, November 2011
to view a Flickr album of other people's photos
of Hypergraphia at the Flatiron click here.


  1. Gwyneth - thank you! For bringing a smile to my face the other day during a break from my crazy job. For reminding me that art can be created using every day items. For inspiring me. I took a few pics while I marveled at your art and shared them on my blog. Thank you, for sharing your passion.

  2. Absolutely wonderful! Love your work, what fantastic dedication and imagination.

  3. Saw your article in Psychology Today! Wow you are getting some well deserved press and congrats too on your TV spot! Love, love your creative spirit and its been so fun following your journey!