Volume 1- Issue 3
July 23, 2004
am running behind on my personal deadline to get this newsletter
out. The Bethlehem Steel Prints have been out for a few
weeks now. However, my failure to let you all know right
away was for a very good reason. I've been busy working
on the drawing for the poster for the upcoming "Bethlehem
Historic & Cultural Festival" on June 11, 12 &
13 under the Hill-to-Hill Bridge in Bethlehem..
particular drawing started out as any other drawing but
it soon took on a personality of it's own. A very demanding
personality, I must say, because it took control immediately.
I was helpless! It led me in directions that I've never
been before. My pen and I did everything we could to keep
up as it twisted down one treacherous path after another.
This drawing was merciless!
seen these paths before. In fact, Ive been on them before...
with my pencil, not my pen; The idea of using ink to create
things like glowing light, sparks, smoke, clouds or people
was terrifying, not to mention presumptuous. These elements
are easily handled with a pencil (and a little help from
a shading stick and an eraser), but I've always used my
pen strictly for architecture or "man-made objects
such as brick, concrete, steel, etc. And, of course, trees
can be manipulated much easier and can always be erased
and redrawn in the unlikely event of an "ooops".
Not with a pen! When you put a solid black line on a solid
white surface, it's there for good. No mistakes allowed!
If your pen decides to get an attitude and leak a large
blob of excess ink onto your drawing, the only thing to
do is wipe the tears away, curse at yourself for not paying
attention, and grab a new sheet of illustration board. And
this drawing cared about none of that!
after my intended 50 or 60 hour journey turned into a 150
hour journey, I was tired, beaten and torn... but I survived!
And as they say, "what doesn't kill you only makes
you stronger"... so now I rise up and dust myself off,
and proudly present to you the drawing that took my skill
to the next level, and is perhaps the best drawing I've
hope you enjoy my efforts.
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A printable version of
"The Anatomy of the Festival Poster"
click on image for larger printable version
"Portrait of my Son"
B Sullivan Jr"
medium - pen & ink
image size - 5 1/2" x 7"
drawing time: 23 hours 17 minutes 11 seconds
son, Dave, recently graduated from Liberty High School with
High Honors. I would also like to add that he did this while
working full-time as a cook at Chili's Restaurant in Whitehall,
walking the 8.3 miles between the two when his car was temporarily
down for the count. And when time permitted, he would stop
at Gold's Gym to work out. As I attempt to teach him and
guide him away from the pitfalls of my own life, I am inspired
by his own efforts and I'm certain that I learn more from
him than he does from me.
wanted to show Dave how proud I was of him. Of couse, the
pursuit of artistic greatness doesn't pay that well (as
opposed to actual "artistic greatness", which
I hear pays very well.) So, while other parents were out
shopping for new cars for their grads or sending them on
overseas vacations, all I had to offer my son was my talent
and my time. Not that I feel bad about this; a car is one
of thousands that will rust away in a few years or get totalled
by another grad in a new car. And a vacation, though the
memory will remain intact... the event will be over almost
immediately. This portrait, however, is a one-of-a-kind
that will be hanging on the wall of my son's office some
day, being admired by his grandchildren... and years after
that, it will be one of the most sought after pieces of
DB Sullivan by art collectors around the world. I won't
be here to see it, but my greatgrandchildren will be lovin'
style I used to created this portrait is very bold and dramatic
because that's the way I see my son approacing life. This
would not be an appropriate style for everyone. It certainly
wouldn't work for wedding portraits, family portraits or
babies. This style works for people such as corporate presidents,
politicians, authors, sports figures, rock stars, and of
course my son, Dave.
would like to offer an explanation for the exact
drawing time of 23
hours 17 minutes and 11 seconds. I
normally estimate my time and round it out, but one of Dave
Jr's quirks is that he doesn't like even numbers. While
the rest of the world struggles to get the gas pump to an
even ten dollars, Dave purposly stops his at $9.62 or $8.37
some other arbitrary number. He tells me that he does this
simply because the rest of the world stops at "ten".
That's my boy!
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Announcements & Good News
28 Inch Mill"
of the features of "The Steel Festival" was
"The 28 Inch Mill", a one man play produced
and performed by Stan Frantz. The play, a dramatic tale
of what it was like to work in the steel, was written
by Stan's father, Robert Frantz, who worked at the Steel
in the 50's and the early 60's.
went out on a limb in pursuit of his own artistic greatness
by producing and performing this play. Unfortunately,
as it happens with many artists, the limb broke; due to
poor attendance, all the remaining shows had to be cancelled.
Except for one! There will be a special performance at
the Ice House on Sand Island in Bethlehem (Behind the
Depot Restaurant) at 2:00 pm on Sunday, July 4th. I wanted
to help Stan get the word out, but I didn't get this newsletter
done in time, and many of you won't be getting this until
Monday or Tuesday. However, If you're reading this on
Sunday morning, and you can make it to the show at 2 o:clock,
you won't regret it. If you're a steelworker... it'll
give you chills, if you're not a steelworker... it'll
intrigue and facinate you.
you can't make it to the show, you can still see it and
support Stan's great efforts by ordering a DVD of the
performance. I encourage you to visit Stan's site The
28 Inch Mill to read more.
finally got inside the Bethlehem Steel
This news falls under the "better late than never"
category. On Friday, May 14, 2004, after trying for over
a year... I finally made it inside the Steel property...
legally. Joined by a friend of mine, Edgar Prause, a fine
art photographer from upstate New York, we both had our
dream fullfilled as we stood in between the giant buildings
and structures that now remain.
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 the silence.
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 5 or 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 pc.
in all... it was a day I will always remember!
Year's "Steel Festival"
the festival was over, everyone involved began looking
at how next years event could be made better. After all,
it's much easier to change an existing something than
it is to create a new something.
I am pleased to say that I've been invited by The Steelworkers'
Archives and the PFIW to be on the committee for next
year. This is something I am truly looking forward to
as I didn't want to say "goodbye" to any of
Factory... here I come!
of the results of the festival was having Bruce Ward taking
me to meet some of the good folks at The Banana Factory.
I met with Janice Lipzin, the Director, along with some
of the staff. Everybody was very friendly and greeted
me with the utmost hospitality. It was an enjoyable experience
that deepened my desire to get involved.
work will soon be in the gift shop and I spoke with them
about teaching some classes and maybe even obtaining a
studio there. I certainly intend to keep you all posted
on the outcome of this venture.
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A Gift for my Subscribers
that I have 700 photos of the Bethlehem Steel, I don't
want them to sit on my computer doing nothing. So I created
a screensaver of 35 of these photos to share with you
you would like to recieve my "Bethlehem Steel"
Screensaver click here
are some great pictures! Please don't be shy!
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 draw like that?"
is the question I'm asked the most, though I realize it's
more of a comment than a question. I'm sure nobody ever
expected an answer, but it provoked me into looking for
an answer which I think I found...
several young children in a room together drawing pictures.
Each one of them is capable of only drawing to the normal
ability of their age. They don't know any better and contently
draw their primitive pictures.
an adult calls one of the children, a little boy, into
another room and tells the child to roll up his right
sleeve. The adult reveals a flat device and straps it
to the boy's arm. As he wraps the velcro straps securely,
he tells the boy that this will help to keep his arm straight.
What he doesn't explain to the boy is that this is actually
a magical drawing machine and whoever wears it will be
able to draw pictures well beyond their normal capability.
He pulls the boy's sleeve down hiding the machine and
sends him back into the room with his peers.
with this "miracle machine", the boy begins
to draw spectacular pictures that overwhelm the other
children. They all gather around him and exclaim, "Wow,
how did you do that?... That's awesome!... I wish I could
draw like that." The boy smiles and welcomes the
the other children don't realize is that the boy, himself,
is just as amazed at his pictures as they are. The pictures
just happen to be coming "out of his hand".
He doesn't know how or why... he doesn't question his
ability... he just draws. He obviously isn't aware that
it was a gift from someone.
the little boy in this story... I, too, am in awe with
what comes from my hand. I don't know how I do it, I just
do it. I take a blank white board and strategically place
little black lines and dots all over it's surface. After
many hours, I sit back to see what I did and find myself
looking at it with the same amazement that everyone else
does, maybe more.
Unlike the little boy, I am very aware that my ability
is a gift that was given to me.
they were out of the "wrist models" when I got
my gift so I was upgraded to "the embedded model".
The embedded model is integrated with the soul and the
personality of the user as opposed to getting strapped
to the wrist. Unfortunately, it has some ill side effects
such as eccentric behavior, disorganization, procrastination,
occasional anti-social behavior, disregard for authority,
weird dreams at night and writer's cramp (just to name
a few). The good thing about the embedded model is that
it's much easier to wash your arm.
the last difference between the little boy and me is that
I didn't get my gift from an adult in the next room...
I got mine from God.
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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:
Members of the Steelworkers' Archives and the PFIW
would like to thank all the members
of The Steelworkers' Archives and the PFIW.
Just as the steelworkers back in the early 1900's built
the neighborhoods and the churches of the Southside, the
steelworkers in these organizations built a festival to
honor their ancestoral co-workers. If it wasn't for these
fellows I would not have had the great experience I had,
nor would I have attained the credibility I did.
I mentioned earlier, Stan produced and performed the one
28-Inch Mill. Stan is a well-rounded artist whose
talents are spread out among a variety of areas.
other things, he designed the websites for The
Steelworkers Archives and Save
Our Steel. These two organizations will be hosting
venues for me to sell my Bethlehem Steel Art and the Festival
Poster and Stan has begun working with me on details to
make this happen. He is a very generous person who seems
to put his desire to help people before considering himself.
out Stan's website: Synergistic
behalf of everyone interested in the Bethlehem Steel...
Thank you Stan!
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