Volume 1- Issue 1
May 3, 2004
to the very first issue of the DB Sullivan Studio newsletter.
This is the next step in the evolutional ladder of my web
presence. From e-mails to newsletter, this is a prelude
to my website which I hope to have up in the next month
or so. You folks will be the first to know!
I must say, making the switch from a normal e-mail to a
newsletter was a bit more time-consuming than I anticipated.
First, I had to come up with a format in html, which I did
using Dreamweaver. I had to choose my content and what I
would feature in each issue. Then I had to find, download,
install, and learn a program that could send my newsletter
automatically and separately to each subscriber. I found
Controller which seems to do a good job. It took quite
a bit of time for the initial set-up, but now it should
be smooth sailing. I'm using the free version which is limited
to a single list with a maximum subscribers of 100. (for
those of you interested in writing a newsletter).
let me know if there is anything I can do to make this newsletter
better... Is it too long? too short? Not enough pictures?
Does it take too long to download? ...etc.
It's been a while since my last mailing and a lot has happened
since then, so this newsletter is rather long to catch everyone
up on things. And I actually finished the third Bethlehem
Steel drawing weeks ago but held off on sending it until
I finished this newsletter. In fact, the prints of the first
three drawings were picked up from the printers this past
Friday and they'll be released this coming week. I'll be
including an official release of these drawings in my next
hope you enjoy my efforts.
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"Bethlehem Steel Series"
medium - pen & ink
image size - 10" x 14"
aprox. drawing time: 60 hours
drawing was done from one of the photos I took from "behind
enemy lines". It was during my illegal excursion when
I was able to steal this view of "The Tool Steel Finishing
awesome as this building is, this drawing's intention is
to focus on the tracks leading up to it's doorway. These
tracks are now barely visible, hidden beneath dirt, stone
and a lot of time. Yet these rails were once the lifeline
of the Bethlehem Steel, carrying coke to the blast furnaces
and molten steel to the mills. Now they lie dormant and
slowly become forgotten.
drawing is dedicated to the railroad workers, without whom
the Steelworkers would've never stood a chance.
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Announcements & Good News
recently become quite the activist by getting involved
with the Save Our Steel campaign.
I met the co-founders of SaveOurSteel.com,
Amey Senape and Michael Kramer. They're a husband and
wife team who started the site last year with their
own time and money. I strongly urge you to check out
their site. And if you're local and you have an interest...
and want to "be heard"... you can download
pre-written letters and addresses to city and state
officials; all you have to do is print them out, sign
them, and mail them.
I've made an agreement with Mike and Amey to put my
prints for sale on their web site to benefit their cause
(as well as my own, of course).
believe the presence (and ultimate success) of my Bethlehem
Steel prints will also help in raising community awareness
of the Bethlehem Steel Issue. After all, out of site...
out of mind. If people see these drawings, they might
be reminded of a sentimental place in their heart that
would miss the Steel if it were gone. And hopefully
it will inspire them to get involved.
inside the Steel
(this is a great story)
After trying for more than a year
to find someone who could get me inside the Steel property
... I basically gave up and started doing drawings from
some photos I took from outside the fence. One day,
I decided to push the envelope and went behind the fence
(where it ends at the railroad tracks near the blast
furnaces). As I walked along the tracks, I saw notices
along the edge of the Steel property that read "keep
out". So I figured... if I weren't allowed to be
there, they wouldn't have those notices. So as long
as I saw those notices, I was okay. Well, it sounded
logical at the time.
I walked down the tracks for close to a mile, almost
to the Minsi Trail Bridge, before venturing back...
snapping away with my camera, nervously
glancing around from time to time. I almost
made it back out into the "safe zone" when
I got intercepted by a security guard in a white pick-up
truck who came flying up behind me along the railroad
tracks. A short, elderly, white-haired gentleman got
out of the truck screaming, "Gimme the film, gimme
the film!" All I saw was white hair, a bright red
face, and alot of spit flying. I calmly explained to
him that I was an artist and yada yada yada... he was
having none of it! "Gimme the film!"
Then I told him I had a digital camera that had no film,
so he insisted that I erase all the pictures... or be
arrested and fined. I didn't like the idea of erasing
several hours of work, but I also didn't like the idea
of getting arrested. So, I compromised. I erased only
the last picture I took while making him think I erased
all of them. That way, everybody was a winner... the
security guard got a feeling of satisfaction from a
job well done, and I got out of there unscathed with
about 160 images.
I immediately began a new pursuit of someone who could
identify the buildings and structures in all these pictures.
Through yet another phone journey, a woman from The
NMIH (National Museum of Industrial History) put me
in touch with Bob Stocklas, a man who worked at the
Steel for over 40 years. I contacted him and he said
he would be glad to help me. As it turns out, he was
the Senior Property Manager of the Steel for Tecumseh
Redevelopment Inc. In fact, I had to enter Steel property
and go through guard houses to meet with him. He graciously
spent an hour and a half pulling out blueprints and
maps, going over my pictures, explaining processes,
Obviously, he could tell from some of my photos that
I had been in "no man's land". I told him
my story and he pointed to his bottom right desk drawer
and said, "I have a drawer-full of undeveloped
film. He (the security guard) is constantly bringing
me film from someone who wandered onto the property."
That's about the time the same white-haired security
guard walked into the building to talk to Bob about
someone who's been riding a motorcycle through the property.
He saw the drawing of "The "A" Furnace"
and commented on it. Meanwhile, I had a hundred or so
pictures laying on the desk proving that I was illegally
on the property. I nonchalantly gathered them up as
I talked about my drawing.
he left, Bob explained to me that he wouldn't hesitate
to take me down to the magistrate and issue a $390.00
fine. He said, "It's not worth it", and that
if I ever wanted to get more pictures, I should come
see him and he'll issue me a pass (along with some ground
rules) to go anywhere on the grounds and take all the
pictures I wanted.... without any fear of being spit
on by "the white pickup truck guy".
few weeks later, my 2 year quest came to an end. Joined
by Edgar Prause, a fine art photographer from upstate
New York, I had my dream fullfilled as I stood in between
the remains of
the giant buildings and structures.
was absolutely surreal. I felt like I was in a ghost
town... the kind of place where the silence seems to
talk about days past. Everywhere I turned I saw something
that was personal to someone, somewhere. It might have
been a scratch in a door that was, perhaps, made by
someone named Oliver scratched by his tool belt as he
rushed out of work because he recieved news that his
wife just gave birth to their son... or a nail in a
wall put there by someone named Nathan to hang his cap
on when he filled out his reports. There were thousands
of these little memories that seemed to scream out in
with my digital camera, I bounced from place to place
snapping picture after picture. I took over 400 pictures
that day, which brings my tally of Bethlehem Steel photos
up to around 700. I don't spend alot of time on getting
my photos perfect. My camera is my "visual notepad"
used only to record images that I can later use to create
a drawing. Unlike my buddy, Edgar, who spent over a
half hour just setting up for a single shot. He used
a gigantic "accordian-like" camera that used
8"x10" negatives. He reminded me of Elmer
Fudd as he stuck his head under the cloth that draped
from the back of his tripod. I think he got about 6
or 7 pictures that day, but I'd bet they're phenomenal.
He told me that negatives of that size could be blown
up to 20" x 24" with no loss of clarity.
spent about 6 hours inside, taking a break halfway to
empty my memory card on my computer at home and to get
some more batteries. We would've stayed longer, but
I ran out of room on my memory card again and we didn't
have time to make it back from a second visit to my
in all... it was a day I will always remember!
Festival in June
Steelworkers' Archives (a non-profit group committed to
preserving the history of the steelworker), along with
the PA Federation of Injured Workers, will be sponsoring
"The 1st Annual Bethlehem Historic & Cultural
Festival" on June 12, 13 & 14, under the Hill
to Hill Bridge. This festival is geared towards the Bethlehem
Steel & the Steelworker, and the heritage and culture
that each share. And, yes... I'll be there peddling my
that's not all... The president of the Steelworkers' Archives,
Bruce Ward, saw my work when I went in to drop off my
application. He immediately asked me if I would be their
first official "Steel Artist" and design their
first poster. I will be handsigning these posters at the
festival and selling them to help benefit their organization.
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This is a feature where I answer one of the many questions
people often ask me about my artwork or my ability to
If you have a question you would like answered, click
do you get your inspiration from?"
when I was in high school, I spent way too much time looking
for inspiration instead of drawing. I was always looking
for "something great" to draw. I wasn't satisfied
with plain, ordinary subject matter. I wanted to draw
Utopia. I wanted to draw something magical that would
capture the viewer and take them to a place that nobody's
ever been before. And so I searched and I searched...
and got absolutely nothing accomplished!
then one day, an artist by the name of Dick Boak showed
me a book... it was a reproduction of a book from a time
back when printing proccesses were primitive, when the
text and the pictures couldn't be printed on the same
page together. This particular book was the last volume
of an encyclopedia which consisted of all the pictures
that accompanied the volumes of text. There were thousands
of images in this book and all were pen & ink drawings
done by one artist (I don't know his name, but that doesn't
matter). Now think about what's in an encyclopedia....everything!
Well, that's what was in this book.... pictures of cathedrals,
animals, butterflies, insects, trees, machines, dresses...
you name it! And every drawing was spectacular! This artist
made "everything" look like "the great
drawing". It became quickly evident to me that
it's not what you draw, it's how you draw it.
So, really.... what's needed is not inspiration........
what's needed is motivation. And what motivates me? Hmmm.....
that sounds like another "Answer" to me.
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This is a regular feature where
I acknowledge and thank those who've helped me in some
way with my pursuit of artistic success.
I would like to acknowledge:
is my father who is a missionary in Russia. I haven't
seen him in about two years and although we are thousands
of miles away, we keep in touch on a regular basis through
e-mails. Over these past two years, he's been a great
emotional help for me and has gotten me through some pretty
tough times just by responding back with the right words.
If not for his encouragement to "keep going",
you wouldn't be seeing any of these new drawings because
they wouldn't exist.
Also... it was the e-mails of my artwork to him that evolved
into this cool newsletter.
Thank you Dad.
is my father-in-law. (no, I didn't get remarried... I
just never divorced my in-laws)
Before Sam had become a successful business owner (in
utilities construction), he worked on the railroad for
sixteen years. In a recent e-mail to me, he wrote about
the blast furnaces: "I SPENT MANY COLD NIGHTS WARMING
MY BACKSIDE WHILE MOVING THE HOT METAL CARS AND THE SLAG
POTS WHEN I WAS WORKING ON THE P.B.& N.E RR BETWEEN
1951 AND 1967."
And although he's done quite a bit for me throughout my
life, I am acknowledging him now because it was his enthusiastic
persuasion which prompted me to do this last drawing featuring
the RR tracks.
He also said he would like to see something of the "slag
pots" and the "submarines" (both are "railroad
cars" used to transport molten steel to the mills.)
And they'll be coming down the road... or should I say
"down the track"
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