Stilts and Cranes three watercut sculptures in cypress frame elements, benches, slate black board element, Stiltsville structure with roof 2007
This work was commissioned by Schools of Choice/Magnet Schools for an interior courtyard of one of the oldest schools in Miami Dade County Public Schools. Using the original blueprints from the school district and site visits, I designed an outdoor classroom for approximately 30 students that included seating, a blackboard and sculpture elements. At three of four compass points I placed images of things that could be found at the corresponding compass point: To the East, I made a relief print (watercut aluminum/powdercoated) of Stiltsville and Biscayne Bay that was supported in a structure reminiscent of the Stiltsville houses out on the Bay, incorporating a large natural slate chalkboard; To the West, I made a relief print (watercut aluminum/ powdercoated) of a Sand Hill Crane in the Everglades, a resident of the Everglades’ ecosystem; To the South, in a nod to the rampant construction in the early 2000’s, I made an image of the Construction Cranes that were seemingly everywhere in the sky. Seating was provided near each image on three 12 ft x 12 ft square concrete slabs using concrete pillars (stamped with both Sand Hill and Construction Cranes) and native Cypress plank seats.
A landscape plan with native plants and wildlife attracting, flowering shrubs through the generosity of Rick Yasko, Landscape Architect and Visual Artist. Both the landscape plan and my original design were created to supply an ongoing conversation between this classic 1920’s Spanish Courtyard, the vanishing community of Stiltsville, the Everglades with its indigenous species of wildlife, and the rapid changes to the urban Brickell corridor.
Leila Thirteen Times 9 in x 9 in x 3 in (closed) 2005
This book was the result of several collaborations and a profound respect for another artist. The book consists of 13 pop up prints, seven to the right and six to the left. The book is an edition of 13. Covers are book board with Thai Unryu Newsprint that open in both directions from the dos a dos/accordion book block.
Escape 3: Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll 11 inches x 15 inches x .5 inc 2008
In this third and final volume of the Escape Series, the artist lands on Duval Street in Key West during a charming festival called Fantasy Fest. It is a cautionary tale with seven maps, seven pop ups, seven prints and accompanying stories from the Key West Citizen’s Police Briefs. Hard to believe, but I assure you, it is all true. I have seen it.
Book block is sewn with a kettle stitch using plywood covers wrapped in white denim with a plain brown wrapper. The endsheets are katazome paper. The edition size is 20.
This book is dedicated to a long time friend, Rick Reasin.
“escape*… restrictions apply,” 11 inches x 15 inches x .5 inc 2003
This is Tom Virgin’s first artist’s book. It is the first of three books examining the concept of “escape” in the context of a trip from Miami to the Florida Keys. During the course of this journey (escape* part one) the artist views various landmarks that break up the miles between Card Sound Road and the 7-mile Bridge. Also addressed along the way are more metaphorical walls, bridges, and escapes of another nature.
“escape*… restrictions apply” is printed on Arches 88, containing 17 pages. The book block is sewn with a kettle stitch, and glued into blue denim covered wood covers, with Japanese Katazome paper end sheets. The book is 11 inches x 15 inches x .5 inch. Fonts used are arial and Scott Ulrich’s Cheap Signage. Content includes an essay by the artist, seven digitally colored original woodcut prints by the artist, and maps showing the location of the images in the prints by Mile Marker in the Florida Keys. Facts and figures about the Keys follow the essay and prints.
The work pictured here is a series of prints taken from repeated trips to the Florida Keys, visiting a long time friend. Sadly, my friend has passed away, but the friendship and experience of seeing the Keys as a native still lingers. The works begin on Card Sound Bridge and move south and west to the Seven Mile Bridge. The second group goes from Big Pine to just south of Key West. The third group runs around the main drag in Key West, Duval Street. These images are a snapshot of what happens during a Duval Crawl during Fantasy Fest. These images are gathered into the Escape Series of artist’s books as well.
Each print is 16 inches by 20 inches, edition of 20, woodcut relief prints on Japanese papers (except ATG and the Card Sound Bridge and Tracy and Bahia Honda Bridge, 30 inches x 34 inches).
This series of 13 linoleum cut relief prints ended up in the aptly named Leila Thirteen Times, an artist’s book… about an artist named Leila. Each image is 12 inches x 12 inches, printed black on Japanese paper in an edition of 20. Created in 2005.
An artist’s residency at Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2007 was a rich experience, kitty corner across the world from what I am used to. The Cascades are incredible, volcanoes popping up from the ground, from California through Washington State. I came with the hope of creating an homage to Hokusai and the people of Portland. I left with renewed friendships from my youth and new friendships with Portland’s finest.
All images in this series 16 inches x 20 inches, black ink on Japanese paper, edition of 20.
2008 brought a new wrinkle to my production: Broadsheets. John Cutrone taught an introduction to broadsheets at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts that was anything but beginning. His teaching and guidance helped me to become a part of al-Mutannabi Starts Here group of artists. For more on this, check out the Jaffe website: http://www.library.fau.edu/depts/spc/JaffeCenter/collection/al-mutanabbi/index.php
Another opportunity to work with writers came through the Miami SWEAT Portfolio. A group of Miami writers and artists responded to a call for broadsheet collaborations that responded to the concept of “sweat” in any or all of its permutations. Two meetings at Sweat Records in Miami in 2009 and 2011 provided a venue for the meet and greet between the visual/word artists. The portfolio continues to grow.
The SWEAT Portfolio also introduced me to several writers with national reputations and local addresses. Several years of artist’s residencies have brought a wealth of experience from artists in other disciplines to bear on my practice. I am always amazed and charmed to find that that guy (or girl) who I say hello to at Book and Books in Coral Gables is also a writer. Poet Michael Hettich and I began collaborating as a result of meeting during a SWEAT get together. In 2011 we collaborated on his poem, “Flood.” The effort produced four broadsheets that weave images through this beautiful poem. Our broadsheets were purchased for the collection of Alberto Ibargüen at the 2011 Locust Projects “Smash and Grab” Fundraiser.
Various other works spinning out of public art projects and other ventures are included in this gallery.
Friends and family have brought me to Boone, North Carolina on several occasions. I was a finalist in a call for public art for the AppalCART Transportation System that serves Appalachain State University and Watauga County in the mountains of North Carolina. The work is a result of exploring the area and meeting its residents. The proposal images for the AppalCART Central Station are in the Public Art section of this site.
Linoleum cut prints, black ink on Japanese Paper, editions of 20. C-prints dimensions variable, editions of 20. Metal Drawings, editions of 5, dimesions variable.
In 2005, in the middle of the real estate boom in South Florida, I began taking photographs of of buildings that fell victim to the need for more land to build on. One of these buildings was a humble apartment building, no more than 15 units, at most. Latin music, parties, children’s voices, the smell of barbeque grills and more vanished literally overnight. Knowing that my apartment of over 15 years may well have been the next complex to go led me to do this series of prints of the semi-demolished building. This was 3029 S.W. 27th Avenue, Coconut Grove, Florida. As I write this, it is a large condominium building with several vacant units.
Each of the prints in this series is 16 inches by 20 inches, in an edition of 20, black ink on Japanese paper.