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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Dream Job....

Back in the early 80's I had a dream job and I got it because my son didn't!! My son and I were both looking for different jobs at the same time. He had an interview one afternoon and came back and told me about it and said he didn't think he got the job. The next day I was reading through the classifieds and found one that jumped off the page at me! An artist was looking for someone to work in his studio!! I immediately set up an interview and went off with my fingers crossed. I was interviewed by two young women who worked at the studio....the artist was letting them do the interviews since they would be working with the new person. Right away I thought "I like this guy!"

I hit it off with the two gals and the artist and I got the job only to learn that it was the very same one my son had applied for earlier!! But he was ok with it because he didn't think it was right for him. I loved it from the first day! The artist was Joe Culpepper. I copied this from the internet:

Joseph Culpepper. Internationally known artist in the mediums of etchings, oil and printmaking. He has exhibited in hundreds of galleries, and is in corporate and private collections throughout the world. A number of his prints have CULPEPPER boldly printed on them, and many were published under the name Images West. He can be contacted at Culpepper Fine Art, 7200 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Ste. 392, Albuquerque, NM 87124, Phone: (505) 896-4317, culpepperfa@att.net.

Here's a photo of Joe at an art show....




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The job involved inking his metal engraving plates and then printing them. When I first started they gave me brown ink and I had to learn how much to apply, how much to rub off to get shading, and how much to leave on to get the correct depth of color. It was something learned over time. I think I spent about a week with that brown ink!! Then I began actually making prints and that meant I had to learn to mix the inks to the exact color of the original. After awhile it got to be easier because each of us was responsible for certain prints. That meant we got to work on several plates over and over and over so it became a bit more routine. We had to lay down the plate....some of them were fairly heavy because Joe worked large....put the ink on in the correct areas and then wipe it off until we got the desired effect. We used newsprint to wipe off the ink and the floor would just be covered in inky paper when we were finished with a plate. Then we carried the plate to the huge printer, laid it down, placed the paper over it along with a heavy blanket and rolled it through. And each print was done one at a time.

We were paid by the piece and Joe gave each of us a key to the studio and we could set our own hours!! If I wanted to come in at 5 AM and work, it was ok or if I wanted to come in at 5 PM it was ok....just keep track of the prints that were made and be sure to keep the stock filled. Sometimes it was easier to get a lot done if I was there alone because then I didn't have to share the printer. But most of the time it was nice to be there with the other girls.

Many times the three of us would show up for work and just decide we'd like to go have margaritas for lunch and that would be the end of our day! But when we worked, we worked steady. We got along even though they were younger than I was. We laughed, played the radio at full blast, nibbled snacks, and just had a good time working.

After awhile Joe was experimenting with heavy cardboard pieces that had to be inked individually and laid out on the printer bed in a certain pattern....kinda like doing a jigsaw puzzle only the pieces didn't interlock or even touch. He was trying this process under the name of Garland. Here's a photo showing some of this work.



The bottom prints were ones I worked on. Everything that shows white is just the paper....the other parts were the individual pieces, some quite small, that were inked and fit to the pattern.

The whole etching/print process was interesting for me. It was a messy job and we were constant customers of the thrift stores in the area! We would buy pants and a shirt and wear them for a few days and then throw them out because they would be covered in ink and then we'd buy more.

Our hands were always covered in inks and we had fun sometimes placing our handprints on various parts of our clothing!! All in all, it was one of the best jobs I ever had. The only reason any of us left was because Joe began to have some personal problems that overflowed into his work.

I often think about that job and how much I loved it. Perfect hours, good pay, and friends to work with....what more could I want?!

29 comments:

  1. Now I'm craving a margarita!! No joke!!
    :)

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  2. Sounds like the perfect Job! Lots of fond memories there Janet! Thank you for sharing them with us!
    *HUGS*

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  3. this was really interesting, especially the insight into the workings of the studio... sounds like it was a great time in your life!

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  4. Very interesting. You don't hear too many people say they are working or have worked at a dream job anymore. Sounds like a great time in your working life. I wonder if any of those processes have changed. I can see why you'd want fairly disposable clothes too.
    XOXO
    Love,
    Lisa

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  5. What a fun job. I worked for a printer of the commerical kind as a job when I was 15 and I never got to do such fun stuff!

    You're right it was a dream job.

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  6. Ok, you got me, this must have been one of those times we were not in such close contact with each other as I do not remember any of this!!! It does sound like fun though and something you really would like. Thanks for letting us hear about it.

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  7. Wow Janet. I guess your son was glad if he lost the job to anyone, best his mother, right?
    I like a boss that lets you set your own hours. I think you work harder and take ownership of your position that way.
    xo
    Neat work! I like the bottom one you worked on actually, it looks like a medittereanean (sp?) village!

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  8. That DOES sound like a dream job!

    Have you ever done any etchings or prints of your own?

    Thanks for sharing about it. Just realized the address you gave - did you used to live in Albuquerque? I wonder if I saw any of his work while I was there, and didn't even realize it!

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  9. That really was a dream job!
    All that you learned working there, is a great influence on the art you do now!

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  10. Sounds fantastic to me Janet, not least because of the absence of the '9 to 5' routine!

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  11. This sounds like it was a
    ~dream job!~ ..I'm sure you learned much from the artist.
    I also had a dream job in a private home computer work..I loved it as well.Just me myself and the computer work! hugs NG

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  12. Sounds like a fun job Janet....listening to music, chatting, taking Margarita breaks...oh and the work itself
    LOL seems interesting.

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  13. Sounds really interesting, and probably didn't even seem like "work" but more fulfilling to your artistic side..
    xo

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  14. what a great job to have Janet....it would be so great if everyone on the planet could LOVE their jobs.....and only work 20hrs. a week...and make twice as much money....(I'm dreaming) :-)

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  15. Sounds like a really great job! It's funny that you were up for the same job as your son - but sounds like it worked out for the best!!

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  16. It's not often that we are lucky enough to have our dreama job. This sounds like it was very interesting, and with your love of art and colour, it was perfect for you.

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  17. a lovely post....a wonderful memory for you!

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  18. You have had a very interesting life Janet. This job sounds fascinating (if messy). And working with an artist would have been fun too!

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  19. WowieeeEEEE! Janet! I will have to look him up later, this is sooOOooo interesting!!! That's one of my dreams, to get back to New Mexico!!! Were YOU there???!!!

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  21. I lucked into a job like that once. Working for a famous graphic design artist.. It was hard to quit and go on.

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  22. Janet! That is so great! What a cool post...I have never had a job that I loved..can you believe that?! I never realized it til I just read your post!

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  23. Lucky you that you were able to work at a dream job. I never had such luck. Most of my jobs were secretarial in nature and I hated secretarial stuff.

    My son is an artist. He has a business and makes his living doing decorative wall treatments such as murals and Venetian plaster.

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  24. I just love this story! Sounds like the eighties too...the margaritas part anyway haha! Isn't it funny how we all have different perceptions of our dream job! Just the fact that you could pick your own hours must have been pretty fantastic. Not sure about that ink though...I was fairly vain in the eighties....not a hair out of place! Where did your son end up working instead? Did he like the job he got? Thanks for sharing this one Janet!

    Hugs Sherrie

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  25. That sounds like it was a perfect job for you! Isn't it great to get paid to do something you love?

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  26. Hi Janet

    Seems for ever since we 'chatted' and as usual loads has happened and for a change all good.

    I am starting a 'myspace' to add photos of my new grandson and my daughters marriage, just 2 of the good things happening at the moment. Would love to hear from you again, enjoyed reading your blog.
    Love Linda x

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  27. That sort of job would have been perfect for me, too.
    What a great story.

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  28. How kewl Janet, to have had this opportunity! I know you treasure those memories.

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  29. oh how wonderful to have had a dream job.

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