anybody who knows me knows how much i love david byrne as a musician, cultural ambassador who introduced the music of tropicalia to those of us north of the equator, as a cycling advocate and as an artist. i remember sitting in a theater watching "stop making sense" on a big screen when it came out in 1984. the theater had dolby surround sound (a big deal back then). i was in bliss watching my favorite art band funk it's way through the film starting with psycho killer.
in 1987 when i moved to the navajo nation i used to park in front of my tv and play bongos along with steve scales on my vhs copy of the movie. "i lost my shape trying to act casual. if i don't stop, i might end up in the hospital."
one of my favorite reads last year was byrne's "bicycle diaries."
so yeah, i was super stoked when gaia recommended me as a public artist to participate in a project to reinterpret the logo for david byrne's record company. three other street artists, including gaia (http://www.gaiastreetart.com/), were chosen for the initial phase of this meme campaign.
here's what byrne said about the logo some time ago...
Many times I have been asked about the symbolism of the Luaka Bop logo. It has been described variously as a leaf, a spade and a heart. None of these are strictly correct.
The logo, whose use is granted through an agreement that is subject to certain conditions, is a rather obscure Masonic symbol linked at various times to the Trinity of the Illuminati and to the Egyptian Knights of Templar. The Knights were guardians of the secrets of harmony. Hence the obvious and appropriate connection to music. But their concept of harmony was much greater and ranging than our own- not only encompassing the harmony of the spheres, of the heavens, but the harmony of inner fluids and dynamic forces- and in the case of the Egyptian Knights these were ruled by the dead. The Knights believed that the dead are the custodians of the present day, and that no harmony can be true and lasting without their assistance.
Today, the symbol exists as a vessel for music, text and image, through which it’s members communicate to the population at large, Alan Greenspan and occasionally Jaques Chirac.
The eye of the Luaka Bop log is the eye of Vilaç Trimegistes, the Balkan alchemist who gave his eyes to his work, and who was the first to uncover the secrets of the Egyptian Knights. The shape and purportion of the Eye of Vilaç is in a mathematical relationship to the vessel, or “heart”. The heart being considered a vessel not only for the blood, but for the dead. The rays, “thorns” or nails that line and protect the vessel were incorporated during the middle ages, an addition that was deemed necessary in lieu of the then power of the Papacy."
it doesn't happen everyday but sometimes i hear stories from patients so profound and poignant that i'm moved to tears. i met a woman today who is severely deformed from rheumatoid arthritis. she told me that she'd had over 40 operations on her hands and feet in order to maintain the ability to perform routine, daily chores around the house (called "activities of daily living" in the medical world).
the pain from her illness is great. yet, she had the most cheerful disposition of anyone i've ever met. she told me that she's been walking about 2 miles per day in hopes of walking 300 miles next summer. her goal is to walk from the western side of the navajo nation to the tribal offices in window rock where she hopes to have an audience with the tribal legislature regarding land rights. with determination and faith she moves forward one step at a time.
i really like it when i look through my negatives or in this case, lightroom files and come across an image i'd forgotten about but it strikes me now in a fresh way. this is what happened with this image of owen. (what an afternoon with those guys!) i love the very focused, very inquisitive look on his face. his attention is rapt!
so, i'm feeling a little low. i had an incredible week with no drama + mighty mytty. they took really good care of me and we got some good work up. now no drama is back in flagstaff getting ready for river trips and mighty mytty is back east.
they were with me when deshaun broke his skateboard last week. well, i got a new one from him this past weekend and this evening went to deliver it. even though i knew where his trailer is, i had trouble finding the right series of roads to get me there (even though it's a stone's throw from the old trading post). he heard me pull up and came to the door. initially, he was going to close the door and go back inside but i was able to get his attention before closing the door.
he came out. i said "...i've got something for you." (he had no idea we'd planned to get him a new skateboard.) the look on his face when i gave him a new, still in plastic, tony hawk board was as genuine as owen looks rapt. for some reason, i'd expected him to be really subdued and to not show any emotion. he extended his hand and said "thank you" from his heart.
as i was fiddling with my now broken camera to take his photo with the board, his mom walked out. it occurred to me that i'd done this all wrong. i should have gone to one of his parents first, introduced myself and told them why i was giving their child presents. all the mom knew was that there was some strange black man in their yard who'd given her son a skateboard and who was now trying to take his picture but the strange man's camera wouldn't work.
so i took the time to do what i should have done in the beginning. though awkward, i think deshaun's mom believed the story of our meeting and why i was giving him a skateboard.
o well. we live and we learn...
it was all good. (see the post above about deshaun's stepdad who stopped by while i was putting this up!)
race across america starts tomorrow on the west coast. they always come through the navajo nation. i think the first riders will start coming through by thursday. and to think, the first rider will have taken 7 days to race 3000 miles across the country. http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/raam2.php?N_webcat_id=7 it's insane!
stephanie (aka "step"), and i decided her street art name will be "no drama." so now when we paste together, we're "no drama, jetsonorama" or "jetsonorama, no drama." anyway, she and i put this piece up in big wind today on j.r.'s house outside tuba city for the race across america riders. they'll start filtering by it in 2 days. we're thinking about you all!
my friend, ken wine, sent this photo of pat in tatters. i'd wondered how this installation was holding up and had hoped she was in better shape. i don't know what the weather has been like since i put her up. maybe san francisco has had a lot more rain like they did in march.
i had an interesting email exchange with hank schroy who is living in rio with his family for couple years. he hooked up raul zito recently when zito and his crew of street art friends went to rio. i asked hank what zito uses for his photos in brazil as that's an environment that gets a lot of rain. apparently, he has access to large buckets of glue similar to elmer's. hmmm.
yeah. it was another gorgeous day on the rez. while installing at cow springs, we met a local youth named deshaun. his skateboard broke while he was showing us a trick. we're going to get him another one but he doesn't know that yet. thanks for the love deshaun. back at you.