Saturday, April 10, 2021

Moving the shop......again.

Last time I moved I was hoping that it would be the final resting place of Rock Lobster. This turned out to not be the case so now, a little less than three years after the last move I'm pulling up stakes again-only to move back into the building I was in before. I won't go into the reasons for the move but the opportunity to get into a larger shop with more natural light, better ventilation and less rent was too good to pass up. That said, it has not been an easy road getting there . 
The new place was rumored to be opening up about a year ago- the old man who was renting there had given notice. This was followed by many months of stagnation and procrastination by the old man, and who could really blame him. He had been a sculptor in the space for 36 years. In the last decade he had pretty much stopped working and had used the studio as a storage space. This was not good as he really was a hoarder of all sorts of stuff. The photos of the interior you see here were taken just last week - after nearly a year of trying to move out. The old man could not let anything go or decide what to take home. Most days when he was intending to come and sort through stuff at the studio he would just drive up in his van, not get out but sit there for a time and then drive away. Moving out was not really happening and as a result, I had a very long wait.
In March I heard that the old man gave notice again that he was moving and he had stopped paying rent. I was able to meet with the building manager and get a rental agreement and pay the first month's rent at the beginning of this month. This was at least 6 months after I have been approved and had put down a deposit and had paid a legal fee. I was not in that big a hurry to move but I really wanted a firm date so I could plan. I was told that the space would be mine on April 1st. 
This was not quite correct as the old man had moved very little stuff out of the space , even with a whole year gone by. I could not move in- I was essentially paying the old man's rent to store all his remaining stuff-I didn't quite know what to do. The landlord had told me that it was now my job to clean out the space as they had given me the original security deposit from the old man as he had not cleared the studio out , even after a year and it didn't look like he was going to do it-even after I and my shop mate had done four dump runs for him. 
I didn't want to disrespect the old man-I know that in time I will be in the same place as him-looking at a shop full of accumulation not knowing how to deal with it. The old man's family and friends were absent-maybe he had burned bridges, maybe he had not asked anyone to help. He was trying to deal with this mountain of mostly garbage by himself. 
My wife came up with an idea-schedule a hauling company to clean out the studio on a set day. I told the old man to remove anything he wanted to keep by mid day on the 9th. This would give me 3 weeks to move my entire shop- not really enough but I had to cut the old man some slack. His pile of stuff had gotten away from him and at his 86 years he was not really able to wrap his head around even parting with empty cardboard boxes. We agreed on the date and late in the afternoon the big truck came and a crew of three guys emptied the space. I kept nothing except a hospital gurney ( what the heck was anyone doing with that ? ) which I was giving away to my shop mate and one empty file cabinet that I would use. 

I looked at the empty space last night and was relieved- I would have a place. The old man wound up thanking me for helping him cut loose of all the stuff that had anchored him to that spot where he had done decades of work but had not really used in a number of years. I was glad to have reached a compromise with the old man, even if a lot of work and cash had to be spent. I know that this shop will probably be the best space I have ever had and that I had a responsibility to honor the space and the old man by being creative with what I do there, how I set it up and by making my work count toward some goal greater than earning a wage. After the breach-birth of this move I think that it will not be difficult to meet that goal.

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