Sunday, February 27, 2011

bicycle inter-community art + salvage, tucson

step on scaffolding

last year's installation on the right

remnants from last year's installation
no reservation required crew was invited back to the community center/bicycle advocacy organization, bicas (bicycle inter-community art + salvage), in tucson, az this weekend.  yote couldn't make the trip this year.  step and i had to represent.  

being sensitive to the horrific mass shooting there january 8, 2011 that left 6 people dead and 13 injured, i wanted to put imagery in the community that reflected love, nurturing and hope.  i chose an image of my son's mom and his half sister i shot in 1991.  kylie, a bicas organizer, asked "what if people confuse the imagery with a pro immigration propaganda in response to arizona's sb 1070 law (which requires authorities to stop and challenge brown people they suspect are here illegally)?

"all the better," i said.  "all the better," to which she agreed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

it's not every day...

one gets to see a step in the evolution of thought and energy.  wait.  this is what i'm trying to say.  how often do we get to see the immediate impact of our actions on someone? it's not every day, right?

a woman in albuquerque, new mexico contacted me through flickr where she checked my work. she read the story i wrote about pasting my friend's house without their knowledge while they were away (, and was inspired to go in her own direction.  

one of the unforeseen blessings of doing wheat paste is that i get to have moments like this.  you can check my friend's work at:

when i was in brazil, upon seeing a piece, doing a piece, talking about a piece (you get the idea), the street artists would hug one another and say "...yeah!  keep the energy going!"  so here's to you mattie!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

tagged at cow springs...

Monday, February 14, 2011

eu amo o brasil!

big shout out to raul zito, photographer and wheat paste artist in sao paulo, brasil.  ive been following his work on various street art blogs and learned through flickr he's been following mine as well.  here's an example of his work in sao paulo.

he and i got in touch with one another and he offered to get me up in sao paulo.  the piece isn't finished yet but here's what he's done so far.  i absolutely love it.  he put me beside magrela who did the piece on the second apartment in the first photo up top.  sweet!  i love the way jamaal is flying into the mama bird's mouth, through the basketball hoop while the beautiful, nude woman checks it all out.  wicked piece!

stay tuned.  he'll be getting files of his to me soon to paste here.  how cool is that?!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

a visit to the car corral

i returned to the begishe camp today to give them photos i'd taken 2 days before.  i found ernest with his wife in their traditional one room hogan with his wife watching a movie and eating pizza.  they came out and gave me 10 or so snapshots from when jim took horses to graze up on cumming's mesa some time over the past year.  

he told me that a lamb had been born since i was there.  they were all happy about that.

jim was over at the car corral getting ready to take his mule to the watering hole.  as a reminder, jim is 91.  i loved that they used a smashed old vehicle as part of the corral fencing.  unlike 2 days ago, mae was in to being photographed.  i left feeling that today was one of those times when i was reminded of how special it is to be out here having this experience (and wishing my left brain was better at learning languages)...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

getting stupid with yote

silly rabbit.  tricks are for kids...

Friday, February 11, 2011

visiting jim begishe

hosteen jim begishe is a respected elder in the community.  he's 91 years old.  i noticed yesterday when i saw him that his shades reminded me of rammelzee and his hat said "navajo pride."  i don't think it's a gay pride reference.  seeing him made my day.

while i was visiting hosteen jim at his home, his grandson, ernest, came over and talked with me for about an hour telling stories about hosteen.  i'm so glad he came.  hosteen speaks less english that i realized and my conversational navajo skills don't exist.  

ernest told me that hosteen still rides his mule to heard the sheep.  ernest said it happens frequently that hosteen will take the mule to go track the sheep to bring the stray animals home.  about 4 hours later the sheep will come wandering back by themselves from the opposite direction that hosteen went.  then some time later hosteen will come ambling back.

i loved that ernest was hanging out in a tee shirt with snow on the ground and an ambient temperature of about 50 degrees F while wearing a red san francisco 49s beanie.  we talked about how much snow we got last winter.  he told me of getting caught at home with deep snow and little firewood.  we talked about big winds blowing over pinon trees 50 years old.  (he didn't actually tell me the age.  that's what i'm guessing it was.  it actually may have been older.)

ernest and his wife stay close by so he can take care of his grandparents, aunties and uncles. and that's the way it is for them out in this quiet stretch of canyon country.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the black show, page 5

king leopold's ghost revisited

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the black show, page 4

girls on glue
aids orphans in nairobi, kenya 
may 1993

the circumstances for this shot were crazy.  i got this image while doing the trans continental trek of africa by bicycle with dan buettner.  after 6 months on the road, our team of 4 cyclists arrived in nairobi.  we crashed here for about 2 weeks as i remember.  we went to masaai mara and enjoyed being tourist in east africa.

dan's dad and his brother, nick were visiting at this point in the trip.  the buettners were in downtown nairobi souvenir shopping when dan encountered the girls pictured above sniffing glue.  he asked if he could photograph them.  they consented.  apparently he paid them but the older girl didn't feel they'd been paid enough.  while dan and his family were shopping for t shirts, the girls remained outside sniffing glue.  i happened upon them at this point and was intrigued.  the older girl still had her shirt on when i first encountered them.

dan and his family emerged from the t shirt shop and were confronted by the older girl.  he told her he'd paid her all he was going to and demanded she leave him alone.  bad move.  she created a scene by ripping her shirt off, tossing it to the sidewalk and speaking loudly in swahili.  naturally, this drew a crowd.  at one point, dan pushed her away and proceded to walk away.  the two girls followed as did an ever enlarging crowd of onlookers.

dan and his brother steve walked about a block away, turned the corner and came to a bank that had 2 guards with riot helmets and large sticks positioned on either side of the door to protect the bank.  dan's thinking was he'd use them to protect he and his brother from the crowd should it turn hostile.  just a couple days before he'd witnessed mob justice while dining at an outdoor italian restaurant in downtown nairobi.  as dan recounted the story, there he was with his dad and 2 brothers enjoying a casual lunch when they saw a guy running down the street followed by a crowd of people yelling "thief! thief!"  he witnessed the guy getting caught and set upon by the group as dan said "getting beat to within inches of his life."

now here he was.  confronted by what he feared was a similar mob waiting to turn on him.  this was at a time in kenya's history when hordes of aids orphans roamed the streets homeless.  there used to be stories of the authorities rounding them up and taking them to camps outside the city limits.  because the kids lived in the ruins of old, sometimes burnt out buildings, they'd appear as monochromatic, ghostly gray figures moving in groups through the city.  

because the spectacle of white tourists being accused of god knows what by 2 girls on glue, one of whom was topless, was great theater, the crowd on the sidewalk grew larger around dan and his brother.  i was in the crowd witnessing this.  at this point i decided to go into the circle to join dan and his brother.  the energy in that space was palpably electric.  there were the 2 girls immediately in front of dan animately demanding more money and sniffing glue with the bank security guards (who never flinched), on either side of dan.  i photographed the moment.  dan suggested i go find a taxi to prepare for his escape. i left the circle; however, dan's dad who was also in the crowd watching this unnerving spectacle, found a taxi first.  dan and family piled in to the waiting taxi with the topless girl holding onto the taxi as it sped away. 

fortunately, the situation for aids orphans has improved in east africa over the past 20 years.  more efforts are being made to reunite them with relatives living in villages.

Monday, February 7, 2011

the black show, page 3

Saturday, February 5, 2011

page 2 from the black show

pokot girls of northern kenya post clitorectomy