In the fall of 2005, upon returning from a 2-week trip to Japan and being desperately broke, I was surprised by a phonecall from a former employer in NYC. She ran a sculpture fabrication studio in Manhattan, near Penn Station, and I had spent a summer there between semesters in gradschool. The work was toxic and grueling, but the projects were interesting. The main material was polyester resin. When I agreed to take the position, I committed to a life of long-hours, low-pay, and constant exposure to dangerous fumes and particles. Under the constant pressure of outrageous deadlines, a year of my life flew by in a blink. In exchange, I was able to hone my skills in fabrication and develop a rigor unmatched in my life.
Just before taking the job, I submitted some images to a contest based in Berlin. They ran 4 cycles per year of international juried calls for artists. The fee was 25 euro. I won 2nd place, which was a cash prize of 150 euros and an invitation to show in a group show in Berlin in January of 2007. One of the pieces I would show is a culmination of my year spent working in resin, a portrait of George W. Bush made from chopped up army men.
Upon returning from Berlin I would seek new employment.