Employee owner name: Ryan Douglass
Department/Job at Work: Art Preservation Dept. / Backing / Packaging
Number of years working at Bark: 6.5 years
Hails from: I was born in New Jersey, raised in the Chicagoland area and central Connecticut, and came to Bark Frameworks after about six years in Boston.
What did you do for work before you worked at Bark Frameworks?
I worked as a bookseller and printer at Rodney’s Book Store in Central Square, Cambridge.
What is the biggest challenge in your area of work at Bark?
I’m the end of the line with the frames we make, so I go through the job sheets and look at the frames and try to see anything that could be a problem – be it with the matting, fillet size, frame finish, the stain, the measurements (we measure to the 1/32”). Paying attention to the hundreds of little problems – that’s a challenge.
What do you like best about working at Bark?
Seeing the artwork! And playing the shop radio. I get to choose what we listen to. I play the livestream of WMBR 88.1 FM, the community station for MIT back in Boston. They have a great daily show called “Lost and Found,” which features rare songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. But they also have heavy metal shows, jazz, western music. It’s a really well-curated station.
Name a particularly memorable framing job you worked on (if we can mention it).
We’ve framed works for Gregory Crewdson in the past. We made metal frames for an exhibition of his large-scale photographs taken in and around Pittsfield, MA, a while back. I grew up around that area – and would go to the big book sale in Pittsfield for work – and just think he does a great job of capturing the post-industrial depression and other-worldliness of Western New England.
What does being an employee owner mean to you?
In my most romantic imagination, it’s a big middle finger to The Machine.
Any outside hobbies/interests you have when you’re not making frames?
I do a lot of community work. I also go to school at night for Urban Geography and Urban Theory. I used to do tech for black-box, basement theater shows before the pandemic, and would occasionally write some stuff too.
How has your COVID/quarantine experience been? Any shift in priorities?
I’ve been helping out at food drives, with housing advocacy, a corner bookstand, and a compost site in Sunnyside. We actually collect sawdust from the woodshop upstairs for mulching on the weekends.
Are you an artist?
That’s not for me to say.
Do you have a website or link for us to follow?
I have a Newsletter I put out called “Lunchtime or the Dialectics Fail Me” – it’s about urban growth and production in post-industrial cities. You can subscribe to it by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Ryan!
Ryan Douglass helps to salt the sideaalk outside Bark Frameworks during a 2016 snow storm.
Interview Text and Photos: Jennifer M. Clark