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Independence Day: 4th Anniversary of Self Employment

Margaret Almon with Beverly Pepper's Vertical Ventaglio
Margaret Almon with Beverly Pepper’s Vertical Ventaglio , June 2014. Photo by Wayne Stratz. Vertical Ventaglio by Beverly Pepper in the Memorial Art Gallery Sculpture Garden in Rochester, NY. Vertical Ventaglio, 1967-1968 American Sculpture Stainless and carbon steel with automotive paint 104 5/8 in. x 43 1/2 in. x 86 in. (265.75 cm x 110.49 cm x 218.44 cm)

July 2014 is the 4th Anniversary of my Independence.  My employer closed the library in which I worked and let me go.  I am thinking about that phrase, “Let me go.” They let me go, and I went.  I was scared, anxious and sad.  I worried about money.  I felt unnecessary, obsolete and hurt.  They let me go, and I decided to let them go, and work for myself as an artist.

Now, I can’t imagine working for someone else.  It is both scary and exhilarating to choose my own path, knowing that each month I start again with the balance sheet.

Stratoz and I were on vacation in 2010 when the list of those who were laid off was announced(and which thankfully I did not know until I got back).   This photo is from our 2014 vacation trip to Rochester, NY, with the sculpture at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery by Beverly Pepper.  I read a story about the artist which I admire:

Turning from painting to sculpture in 1960, Pepper first carved in wood, a plentiful and inexpensive material. Instead of hand chisels, she preferred power tools as appropriate to the modern Machine Age. In 1962 the organizer of the music and art festival at Spoleto, Italy, invited ten sculptors to use local steel factories as their studios for a month. Of the three Americans, two were well-established masters of abstract metal constructions: Alexander Calder and David Smith. The third was Pepper, who did not yet even know how to weld. So she apprenticed herself to an ironmonger and shortly thereafter made her first steel sculpture, nearly eighteen feet tall. Thereafter, Pepper sculpted only in metal on a monumental scale, preferably for installation outdoors in urban spaces. 

Beverly Pepper | Landmarks.

I admire Pepper’s confidence.  She didn’t know how to weld, but she wanted to weld, and onward she went.  Another independent spirit!

What is independence for you?

My visit to another Beverly Pepper work, this time at the Grounds for Sculpture

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