Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Back to business

Yesterday, not a lot got done, but I definitely feel accomplished. I feel... better. I decided I wanted to go exploring a little bit, so that's what I set out to do. But, no more than a few steps out of my front door, I feel the itch to call Rusty. I end up going out to his place where we talk shop. He shows me a couple things that I didn't know about that he thought I should know about, and most importantly, there were twenty-five cent chicken wings. I was in hog heaven. Also, his dog Magnus, which apparently has a natural aversion to tall thin people, fell in love with me. Rusty thinks it's because I'm a living cartoon. Which could very well be, in all honesty. He also read me the riot act for not having " 'strations" on the 'Stration Station. Now is not the time, but soon. Very soon.

I walked away with a renewed sense of purpose and came back to waste the rest of my evening.

Today, however, was a little bit exciting. It was the portfolio drop off day at the New Yorker, so I headed out into the world with all my facts in order. Or so I thought. Brian and I get out there and to begin with, we have trouble finding the building. But, silly me, I was looking for the front door and street number on the street the address was listed on. Eventually I spy the doors and street number on a side street, so I head on in. Then things get interesting.

The security crew informs me that I need to have a contact to get a pass to get into the building. This is after the series of "who are you here to see" questions, to none of which the answers were derivative of "the illustration department". I made a few phone calls, and eventually got a contact name. Apparently the security guard couldn't find her in the system and as she was getting ready to make me a temporary pass by hand, the other guard chimes in by asking me what I'm doing there, for the umpteenth time. (Oh yes, he was a part of the initial questioning where I outline the purpose for my visit.) I tell him that I'm there to drop off my portfolio. All of a sudden he has an answer for me; to go around to the other side of the lobby to the internal mail room. Awesome.

I walk up and when asked if someone can help me, I reply that I'm here to drop off my portfolio for review by the good people at the New Yorker. He pulls the most interesting face for all but a moment then tells me that they've informed him last week that all submissions must be done online but he'll call to double-check for me. New Yorkers are fantastic. At this point I'm thinking they get a bad rap for being impatient and rude. (Though the receptionist I spoke with on Monday apparently gave me false information.) He hops onto the line and calls up to the 20th floor. The woman asks him some questions which he promptly relays to me and he gives her my reply. This game of telephone (woah) goes on for a brief minute and the woman he's talking to decides to come down to the lobby to check this out for herself.

Another person, another riveting series of questions. She wants to know who I'm looking for. Demanding, would be more appropriate, actually. She was very insistent to know their name and extension. Now would be a good time to point out that the name I had, she didn't recognize either. Joy. I explain that I spoke with a receptionist on Monday (she wanted to know his name too) and I was told that portfolio drop offs were Wednesday from 10 am until 6 pm. Her explaination for wanting so much information is they've had problems with portfolios in the past. They've lost some, it would seem. She didn't want me to drop mine off without a contact, have it get lost, and then come back with attitude. Oh, attitude I would have in spades, but I tell her I understand her concern (even though I can feel fear creeping up my leg and spine) and ask what information I need. She promptly invites me to collect all of the pertinent facts (name and extension) and then come back to try it again. I walk off to the other side of the lobby, retracting my previous thought about New Yorkers to myself, and start trying to call up to the 20th floor again.

This time I get a receptionist, which I thought was fantastic, maybe my luck is beginning to turn. Why? Why do I even bother thinking things like that? I explain again who I am and what I'm trying to do, and further the explanation saying I need the proper name of the art director and their extension. The name he gives up easy enough, so I'm stoked on that, furiously scribbling into my sketchbook perched on my knee. I ask for her extension and apparently I asked too much. He repeats her name, and I point out that I was instructed to get an extension. He gives me their main line's extension. Bundling up all of the "pertinent facts" I walk back to the mail room and approached the woman I had just dealt with. Handing the facts over to her she pokes her head back into the mail room and asks for a Conde Nast sticker.

They don't have any; instead they hand her a blank label for me to address myself and place on the front of my portfolio. Yeah, somehow I didn't see myself placing a very sticky label onto the front of my professional portfolio. I ask for a bag or manilla envelope to place my book in to which I can place the sticker on the outside. I get a plastic retail shopping bag to put the accumulation of my skills to date in. Worry hits me upside the back of my head and nearly knocks me to the floor. Tentatively I place my book in the bag and put the label on the bag and hand it to the guy in the mailroom. He tells me that it should be where it needs to be by 2 pm (it was 1:35 pm at that particular moment) and asks if I have anything he needs to sign. My face goes blank and, even though I don't much care to do it, I answered his question with a question, knowing full well he probably didn't have an answer. I asked where I should go to pick up my book. He assumes the person I addressed it to will come down with it, and that I should probably just come back to the mailroom. Fantastic.

Honestly, I'm more than a little worried. Losing it wouldn't be the end of the world, but I would prefer not to lose it if I can avoid it. Especially after the woman who came down to talk to me put some fear in me. I plan on calling the contact I got tomorrow and checking in on my book and trying to find out when it is I can expect to show up to get it. Hopefully that goes smoothly. Anyway, after that ordeal and some sketching outside of the Conde Nast building Brian and I head out into the city. Our travels saw us further south where we geeked out in a brand new art store then decided to head up towards Central Park and the Met .

Upon exiting the subway we began walking, like you do, and my thoughts start to wander. About a block from the park I'm violently wrenched from my flights of fancy. I find myself staring into a window across the street at paintings. Beautiful, beautiful paintings. Suddenly I'm gripped by deja vu. I've been here before, and I know what I'm looking at; the American Illustrators Gallery. We head on in and guess who has a bunch of working hanging on the wall? Only my favorite artist ever! Joseph Christian Leyendecker . Oh yeah, you heard me. We spent about half an hour staring at the works of beauty, and I plan on going back tomorrow. Oh, coincidentally, the curator of the gallery is the guy who just wrote the new book on Leyendecker that's going to be coming out. click My copy has already been purchased, but I felt delightful being able to look through it before the public at large. I'm so excited.

When we leave it starts raining, so the plan for people watching and drawing were killed. Instead we decide to walk back to the apartment. We were on 77th street, and we needed to get to 118th street. We walked. According to google, it's a distance of 3.2 miles. Which, I'm going to say, feels like a lot more when you've been walking for most of the day already, and you're carrying a moderately heavy bag over your shoulder. Nice.

And that's where it pretty much ends. We got back and kind of just fell out. I layed down on the couch and didn't really get up. Then I started blogging, and here you are.

Tomorrow, it sounds like we're going to visit some museums. And I, of course, am going to try to get my book back. I'll probably make some business phone calls too. Fun and exciting, right? Yeah, that's what I thought.

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