• I'm Jesse
      • My Birthday?
      • You Remembered!
• Pool? Animal Style!
      • Dumplings w/Neptune
• Sicilian Sculptor
• The Golden Years
• Human Hangers
• Just a Barista
• I Need to Dance
• Can't Stop Looking Up
• Be Careful What...
• The Collection
• Into the Light
• A Perfect Interview
• The Abbey
• Who You Know?
• What's This Life For?
• Unexpected Talent
• Just a Dog's Day
• Chester
• Darren
      • Darren and the Circus
• Voice of God
• Aaron
• 5350

• Resurrection
• Private Dancer
• Eye Contact
• Bullying
• The Surreality of It All
• Sound of Silence
• 31 Days of Christmas
• Giant!
• Fear or Comfort?
• You're Different
• Another One Bites...
• Stroll with the Clouds
• Walking with Banshee

Can't Stop Looking Up (05/21/21)

F rom the first day we stepped into our new condo, we gazed at the field of old, gnarled vines that made up the beautiful vineyard across the street. Spaced about 10 feet apart, and held up with no trelessing, the hauntingly shaped vine had withstood history in the field for over 100 years.

Once a year, the family that owned the field and the vineyard growing on it would come out and harvest the grapes that had ripened on the vines. It was always an event to watch, with several vans of people arriving and sweeping through the vineyards carrying empty baskets in, and lugging heavy, full baskets containing their yearly bounty out.

Then, for another year, the field would remain at the mercy of nature, untouched by human hands. It was rumored that the wine made from these grapes was some of the best in the region, but very little was produced, and always remained within the family that owned the vineyard.

For the rest of us, we enjoyed watching the seasons change the views of the vineyards, and regularly watched the families of red tailed hawks that lived in the area swoop over the vineyard, occasionally dive bombing down to capture their rodent prey in their sharp talens.

The field provided both food and drink for those who had access to it.

Then disaster hit, and we sat in awe watching from our balcony as a pair of bulldozers crashed through the field, removing every vine and stump in the field, reducing what was a beautiful swatch of nature into nothing more than acres of dirt.

We continued to watch from our balcony as the construction trucks and crews arrived, and transformed the field of what was old-growth vines to a glistening, concrete and steel warehouse facility.

The visions of before and after were at opposite ends of the scale.

We did find it amusing and intriguing watching the manner in which these warehouses rose. Large, precast concrete section brought in on flat-bed trucks, and raised into place with a giant crane. As each piece was stood up, large metal poles were attached to keep the section in place until further pieces were erected.

Once the 4 walls of the structure were complete, all the poles were removed, interior facilities were put in place, and the roof added to the top.

It was a horrible day when the roof was tarred and sealed. The stench of burning tar remained in our condo, and in our noses, for a week.

The warehouse was an attractive assemblage of concrete, aluminum trim, and corners of blue glass windows, but the sense of loss we felt no longer having the vineyards out our window was immense. Along with the loss of the vineyards, was the loss of the hawks—we no longer saw them foraging for a meal riding on the currents of air prior to a dive.

For months we looked across the street towards the white-walled concrete shell of a warehouse, with no more activity other than the landscaping crew maintaining the manicured greenery surrounding the facility.

Then the trucks started rolling in. With the lease signed, a logistics and fulfillment company moved in, and the daily drone of 18-wheel trucks interrupted what once was a quiet field. The screeches of hawks riding the winds were replaced by the horns and air-brakes of industry in motion.

Oddly though, the most attractive corner of the facility, a 22,000 sq. ft. space on the south-east corner, remained unoccupied.

A year after the facility had been completed, I sat on the balcony of my condo looking over at the empty space on the corner, saw the sign advertising the corner piece of the parcel, and thought "could I be so lucky as to be able to afford that section?"

I jotted down the phone number, and later that day called the leasing agent to arrange for a site visit, and to discuss pricing—and to ask about why that corner of the building still remained occupied.

On the initial call I casually asked about the lease rate, and was surprisingly pleased with the quoted rate. Damn, I could afford that, though I was not sure it was the proper location for an 'art gallery.' But then is there a rule for a 'proper' location for a gallery?

I scheduled the site visit, and a week later stood in front of the glass door to meet the leasing agent. It took us about 2 minutes walking into the space for me to quickly say "I'll take it!"

Another two weeks passed, financing was established, contracts and all the legal documents for the lease were assessed by my attorney and approved, and the lease was signed.

Once again, I schedule a time to meet the leasing agent, asked if the meeting could be early in the morning, as in, just before sunrise? Though the agent was obviously a little irritated by the time of the request, she met me just before sunrise, handed over a packet of documents, and the keys to the space.

I had brought coffee and pastries, which she politely said "no thank you" to, and the transaction was completed in about 60 seconds. Though she never said anything, and was nothing but polite and professional, I could tell in the back of her mind was the question "why so darn early?"

I had to laugh, it didn't matter at this point.

I walked into the first floor entry area, and was a little underwhelmed. I realized there were no lights on in the main facility, so I was literally looking through glass windows out into a black space, but I thought there would be a little more excitement. I had asked to gain access prior to sunrise simply because I wanted to see the space in the dark.

Off to the right was the main light panel with all the switches for the entire space. Walking over to the panel, I made sure my back was facing the interior of the warehouse, so that I could turn on all the lights prior to turning and looking.

I flipped all the switches, saw the reflection of light behind me, and turned to take a look.

I gasped. Now there was the excitement I had hoped for. I walked up to the interior windows that separated the 'office and facilities' areas from the warehouse floor, and looked out over 20,000 sq. ft. of uninterrupted floor space.

I could barely contain my excitement and not run out the door and into the space. I thought, "keep cool," and turned and walked upstairs to the office located on the corner of the building on the second floor.

From the second floor the glass windows provided a complete view of the entire warehouse floor. My excitement was starting to get the better of me.

I decided enough was enough, ran back down the stairs, through the door and out onto the warehouse floor. I could barely contain my excitement at this point.

I stood on the concrete floor of a vast space, 120 ft. by 180 ft. in size, with a metal h-frame supported roof which allowed for a column free space for the entire floor area.

And then I looked up—a 38 foot ceiling height. It was spectacular, it was like standing at the crossing of an industrial cathedral. I was now giddy with joy at the space and my mind started racing with visions of what I could put in the space and how it could be arranged.

I stood there looking at the space, and thinking about the details. Though the square footage seemed excessive and more than I needed, the dimensions of the space actually made it feel small—only 120 ft. by 180 ft. I thought to myself.

Again, I looked up. It was the 38 ft ceiling height that really made the space, and made me, a 6'4" human, feel small and insignificant.

Then I remembered! I had brought a 4 ft by 6ft canvas with me. I had wanted something to establish a sense of scale once I had entered the space. I walked back out to the entrance lobby, grabbed the canvas, and realized exactly how large the space was as I walked back into it.

The canvas would fit nicely in the lobby, commanding a wall, with neither the space nor the canvas overpowering each other.

But not on the main floor. The canvas was but a speck in the available white space that surrounded it. And like all white space does, the power of the canvas increased the further back from the canvas I walked, making me realize that this vast space would be a perfect 'frame' for the display and exhibition of art.

And I just happen to know an artist that produced monumental canvases—the latest I saw in his studio was 16 ft. in height. I laughed as I thought "he could stack two of those puppies and still have space above them."

Once again, I stopped and looked up. "How the Hell am I going to replace those light bulbs?"

I already knew the answer, but found the thought of cruising around the 'gallery' floor on a scissor lift amusing, and exciting. I already had the rental source on my phone for such a lift and had already done all my calculations on the cost of rental vs. the cost of purchase.

Rental! It was a no brainer!

I spent about 2 hours just walking through the space, going back into the offices and looking out onto the floor, heading back into the space, laying on the floor and looking up. "Are those spider webs?" I dialed the rental company and ordered delivery of a scissor lift. We'd have to do some dusting!

Then I called my local nursery. The purchase I had made several weeks earlier had arrived and was sitting at their facility waiting to be delivered. I had them find the oldest grape vine they could locate, and was placing it directly in the center of the gallery floor, on a mound of dirt. It was to be my homage to the vineyard that once called the location home.

The piece de resistance and first item of art to be placed in the gallery would be my 'Lost Decade.' It would finally have the home that it deserved.


#gallery #warehouse #lostdecade #grapes #vineyard