"Can't See It From My House"
With an essay by Dr. Paul George
By Thomas Brian Virgin
Miami: Thomas Virgin, 2008. Edition of 20 plus 5 artist's proofs.
9.25 x 12"; 24 pages.The cover is blind embossed Murillo, with Foldovers and Tackets. Paste papers front and back are real estate listings laminated in Mulberry paper, as are the end sheets. Title page includes a pop-up. The body pages consist of seven folded sheets, 12 x 18" long, of Hahnemühle Copperplate paper. The book block is sewn together with a kettle stitch and bound to the cover with a Complex Multi Quire binding. Illustrations are archival inkjet photographs, one mixed media drawing, and five woodcut prints (reduced and recreated with polymer plates as relief prints with letterpress printing). Font used throughout is Garamond. Designed and laid out with digitally captured original artwork in Adobe Photoshop CS3 and InDesign CS3. Introduction essay by Dr. Paul George. Closing essay by the artist.
Tom Virgin: "The images in Can't See It from My House were originally intended as an homage to Miami shelters from years past: their craftsmanship, durability, and beauty inspired me … even while they were being destroyed and replaced by newer, taller, slicker, more profitable edifices. Their ultimate inclusion in this book was a by-product of 'progress' visiting me a bit more directly. On day upon returning from my photo trips to Downtown Miami to visit wrecking balls, implosions, and piles of rubble, I found the neighboring apartment building half gone…."
Colophon: "Can't See It from My House was created from woodcut prints, photographs, and other ephemera gathered between [2005 and 2007] in Miami and Coconut Grove, Florida. It is the story of one neighborhood being replaced by another, although it is far from being a completed story. The story will continue to be told by the City of Miami for years to come…."
Dr. Paul George (Miami Dade College and the South Florida Historical Museum) introduction essay: "Tom Virgin has captured in this sensitive, expansive work a Miami in rapid transition owing to the unprecedented building boom of recent times. Downtown is Virgin's focus, as it should be, since the boom's impact holds out great changes for that historic quarter....
"Study Tom's work, whether it be the downtown area or Coconut Grove, which is his home neighborhood, and you will understand his sensitivity over the tug of war between the old and the new. His photos beg the questions: What price development? Where is historic preservation in this rush to develop? Who will patronize these behemoths when they are completed?"