Updated: Sep 5, 2020
I wrote in the last blog post about how a new auto business moved in next door to our house and began making an obscene amount of noise even late at night despite there being no soundproofing between our properties. We asked them to please soundproof their work areas, and they have ignored us completely, and apparently the city isn't going to do anything either, so we have to do everything we can to soundproof that side of the house. This means every window I use to do this project now has to be covered at all times with heavy-duty soundproof curtains, old pillows stapled to the window frames, all the extra blankets that we have, any and all extra fabric I can find, to try to block as much as of the noise as possible. When this started, I was so worried that the landlords next door would respond to our concerns by blocking our windows with a soundproofing wall, but it turns out they didn't care at all, and were very effective at getting us to block the windows ourselves, having no other choice.
To the left is one of the 54 cityscapes I did from my house in the year that we have lived here. You can see most of those works here.
I have health problems that have been getting exponentially worse. We chose this house in Winston-Salem in the neighborhood it's in because there are places to buy groceries and eat and
some entertainment within walking
distance, something that is really important for me with my extremely limited stamina. The views to the west are wonderful especially at sunset, and this was a main selling point for buying the house, which for us made up for the level of noise from the traffic. Now we have even more noise and no view. We thought this house would be better for my health. We were really, really wrong.
Above on the left, my upper story window that I used for the main bulk of the Southside Cityscapes, what it used to be like before I had to cover it with anything and everything I can to try to muffle the sound. The photo on the right shows the same window now, covered with a rack of clothes, 3 layers of fabric plus expensive soundproofing curtains, and TWO PILLOWS stapled to the window. The sound is still pervasive enough to have to use fans and earplugs. Obviously it is not possible to move all these things when I want to draw.
The men at the business next door have bullied and harassed both me and my husband to the point where we don't feel safe living here, and don't feel comfortable going out in the neighborhood or even on our own front porch anymore. We cannot afford to move. All we can do is shut ourselves in and try to live our lives, since this isn't really a community. A community supports its members when they need help.
I am not going to put on earmuffs and try to peek out of my window, risking being yelled at by the "professionals" next door, to continue to do this project, for free, for people who in the end couldn't care less about the quality of my life.
I am devastated to not have my windows to look out anymore. They were my lifeline. Other people watch Netflix the way I look out my windows. When I feel really sick, I used to just sit in my comfortable chair and look out the window for hours, drawing things when I caught them. Now I have to cower on the opposite side of the house wearing ear protection. I have been so sick that I've lost 15 pounds, and spend most days in bed. Nobody cares!
This project is now an archive. I may take it down completely if I ever get the energy to get everything wiped off but still accessible to me for my own records.
When you have people who are actually trying to do interesting and unusual things in your community, you have to rally around and protect them, or they will get bulldozed over by people who only care about money.
I have been faithfully doing this project for 6 years, abusing my own health in order to go all over the city, documenting real people and events, and then meticulously scanning, organizing, and sharing the drawings online, so that the community can benefit from them. This project has always been available to view completely free, on several different social networks as well as the web for maximum accessibility, and I did all that MYSELF and it took me HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS of unpaid work! Prints were only $15, originals only $30, making these works affordable. However, most people engaged with and enjoyed this project without compensating me, and I can only be ok with that when the community actually gives a shit about me as a person. I am not going to work for free for people who care so little about their neighbors.