Second Wave Invasion     7 February, 2007, 03:39 pm
Age and college major are probably the main factors that separated first and second wave artisans. Artist and calligrapher Susan Loy didn’t finish her studies at Ohio State until the late 70s, much too late to make it into the first wave. Her studies in literature, art history, and philosophy didn’t lead her directly to a career in the arts – it took time for her to invent her Literary Calligraphy art form. By this point in time, there was an expanding show circuit and a market for innovative art.

Much of the show circuit was in place by the early 70s. Potter David Ross graduated from college in Boone, NC and did his first show in 1972. There were already artists and craftspeople exhibiting on a limited show circuit. He reports lots of camping, VW buses, and general partying. Bobby Zarcone, a leather worker, had much the same experience in 1973. Upon learning his craft, he was able to do his first real show by purchasing someone else’s contract for the Washington Square show in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

A budding young artist observing the show scene and deciding to try it out bears a strong resemblance to the reaction to Elvis by the young John Lennon. In “The Beatles Anthology,” (p.11) Lennon states, “I’m an Elvis fan because it was Elvis who really got me out of Liverpool. Once I heard it and got into it, that was life, there was no other thing. I thought of nothing else but rock & roll…” Lennon and the Beatles followed Elvis as the leaders of the second wave of rock, the so-called British Invasion.

Just as Elvis got Lennon out of Liverpool, the first wave artisans and the institutions they helped create propelled Susan Loy out of Moneta, Virginia. The comparisons between Lennon and Loy don’t end there.

John Lennon never had a job other than as a musician. He famously celebrated this fact in the lyrics of “Norwegian Wood:”

“She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn't and crawled off to sleep in the bath.”

Like Lennon, Susan Loy never really had any other job than artist and calligrapher. She had numerous small jobs to help pay her bills in the early days, but nothing that lasted. She became immediately consumed with her art and as a second-waver, was able to support herself via the arts and craft show circuit.

The arts & craft show circuit is a job that artisans joke that you can work all week and then, work the weekends too. Part of the rewards comes on Monday mornings. Everyone else goes to work on Monday morning, but not these artists. They instead join that special club celebrated by Lennon in his final lyric:

”And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I lit a fire, isn't it good, Norwegian wood.”

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