I moved my studio last month. I’m excited now to be sharing a space with four great authors and illustrators. The crew here includes — or will include, once everyone (else) gets back from summer vacations and time away and so on — Sophie Blackall, John Bemelmans Marciano, John Rocco, and Sergio Ruzzier. We’re in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, near the Gowanus Canal, a fabled strip of water, infamous for the sludge and worse that industry has poured into it over the years. Thomas Wolfe wrote:
“And what is that you smell?
Oh, that!...It is the old Gowanus Canal, and that aroma you speak of is nothing but the huge symphonic stink of it, cunningly compacted of unnumbered separate putrefactions. It is interesting sometimes to try to count them. There is in it not only the noisome stenches of a stagnant sewer, but also the smells of melted glue, burned rubber, and smoldering rags, the odors of a boneyard horse, long dead, the incense of putrefying offal, the fragrance of deceased, decaying cats, old tomatoes, rotten cabbage, and prehistoric eggs.”