Thursday, June 11, 2020

and then there were four

Four Days and Counting

As the count down continues I feel like Barry Allen (Flash from the my childhood comic books).  I'm buzzing around doing stuff and time is standing still.  It is one of the properties of time when you are waiting I guess.  I realize it's been a while since I talked about where Shannon and I would be staying if we get this residency.  So, here's a bit of a refresher.

Dry Tortugas National park are a chain of 7 small islands totaling a 100 acres.  It is 70 miles west of Key West Florida and 80 north of Cuba.  The Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico meet there.  Loggerhead Key is the largest island at 40 acres.  Loggerhead Key is where we would be staying for a month.  There is a non functioning lighthouse a lighthouse keeper's house and couple of small buildings.  You can walk around the island in 90 minutes.  The lighthouse was built in 1858 and ceased operation in 2015.  around 90,000 people visit the park each year by taking a boat or seaplane to Garden Key where Fort Jefferson is.  There is no direct access to Loggerhead Key so the artists in residence can go days at a time without seeing another human.  they check in with the ranger station on Garden Key once a day by radio.  This residency is not for the faint of heart but more for folks with adventurous spirits.  This is not glamping or art camp.  The artists need to know how to operate the desalination plant for their fresh water and the solar array for the power to the house.  There is no internet or cell service.  We will be getting a satellite phone so we can call back home to our wives (Wendy and Deana) to  check in and chat about the experience a little. 

There have been artist residents on Loggerhead Key every September since 2015, I think.  During the waiting period before announcements it is natural to look at some of the art made by the folks who graced that island before you.  There have been painters, photographers, writers and filmmakers.  So what can we say differently about this wild magical place that others have not already?  This is a question I find myself ruminating on quite a bit.  My first thought is we are the first team that does all those things.  I thought of bringing a harmonica and adding musician to the list, but as I can't play the harmonica and would like to leave the island thirty days later still friends with Shannon I'll leave the blues harp at home.  I keep coming back to how will we make our time on Loggerhead personal?  First the painting we produce.  I'm a huge fan of Shannon's Florida paintings and can't wait to see what he can do with those giant skies, turquoise water and big storms.  I think it will be a milestone for my friend's work and this residency can get him the exposure he needs.  I'll work on watercolor and ink sketches and bigger watercolors.  I'm dying to put QoR's saucy watercolors to the test and see how they shine in a world of jewel tone colors.  I think the biggest mark we will make will be with the documentary.  I have seen a lot of great footage recorded on the island, in the water and at night of the stars.  It all is amazing and we plan to put our spin on that, but we are also turning the cameras inward and exploring what living off the grid and having no internet (and social media) will be like.  I have some ideas about that but the proof will be in the pudding as it were.  We will be armed with cameras and audio recorders most of the time and i'm hoping impromptu and unguarded interviews will be compelling and make others want to make the pilgrimage to this very special place, but not too many.  I like that it is hard to get to and remote and staying on the island is not for everybody.  After all the sea-turtles need a place to nest and the birds need a resting place on their way south in the fall.  Too many sets of footprints on the island  and discarded soda cans would spoil the place.

With four days to go until the announcement every team that submitted an application is having the same day dreams as we are I imagine.  It is a fun way to pass the time while the world around us stands still and we hold our collective breath.

Loggerhead 2020 or bust!
Carl Stoveland
on behalf of the Flying Tortuga Brothers

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