Tuesday, January 17, 2012


it was a rough weekend in phoenix.  i'd been a little worried about getting up on an unsactioned wall on roosevelt in light of it's exposure.  however, when i got to phoenix and talked with breeze about another beautiful red wall i spotted on roosevelt, he mentioned that when lalo hit the front of the wall, it was an unsanctioned hit.  he just went at it.  inspired by that, i hit the wall.

it took me about 45 minutes to get up; maybe a bit longer.  no hassels with the installation.  i went back the next day to cover the wall with a coat of polyurethane.

that's lalo's boom box on the front side of the building.  i submitted images of this installation to bsa and got this back "...the images of the "film strip" are not too clear.  they really don't represent your best work which is usually very strong with an immaculate sense of placement."  i was bummed to get that.  i'd just gotten up on an illegal wall in downtown phoenix and got no love from bsa.

then yesterday, i went to get up on a wall phoenix king, lalo told me about at roosevelt avenue and 7th avenue.  he thought the wall was cool because another wheat paster, nomas, (who said i'd never get up on the wall at the hive), had a wheat paste up there and the owner of the building was cool with it.  the first thing i noticed when i got to the wall was that the piece by nomas had been buffed.  the wall was totally clean.  i could see where his piece had been painted over.  not a good sign.  but it was a beautiful day in phoenix.  it'd rained the night before.  the air was clear and a little crisp.  it'd rained the night before.  i thought i'd do a fun installation and enjoy the day.  i started getting up...

my thinking was that i'd fill this wall with images of different sizes of bubblehead jamaal.  i got to this point when breeze arrived.  we hung out and talked for about 20 minutes.  it occurred to me that i should either finish the piece or pack up.  about that time breeze said "...oh, oh.  here comes the police."  boom!  there he was.  a single officer got out of his squad car and approached me asking "...is this your building?"

"no," i said.

"do you know who owns this building?"  again, i said "...no."  

"then what are you doing putting graffiti up on it?"

"well, it's still wet.  i can take it down."  (i have to thank blek le rat for that one.  i read in his book that he'd frequently say that to police when caught wheat pasting in paris.)  

the officer said, ok.  take it down.  i asked if i could photograph the piece before buffing it.  he said, "...yeah, but hurry up.  it's drying."  i really wanted to ask him to stand in front of the piece.

another squad car with 2 other officers arrived while i was removing the piece.  in the end, they were cool about it saying that it would be okay to put the piece up if i knew the building owner.  i got my id back from the officer before he departed.  breeze lightened the moment by telling that his girlfriend was in their car crashed out totally oblivious to everything that had just gone on.  this experience gave the installation on roosevelt and it's rejection by bsa perspective in that i was happy to have just gotten up.

my other installation from last weekend was on 16th street.  the store owner walked out while i was putting this up and dug it.

i had the brilliant idea of running the u2 lyrics that accompany this piece through google translator and translating it into spanish since i was going to install it in the barrio.  the u2 lyric goes

"we scorch the earth; set fire to the sky
we stoop so low to reach so high."

this is what mr. googles gave me:

"que quemar la tierra, prendieron fuego al cielo
que caer tan bajo para llegar tan alto."

not being a spanish speaking person, i was told by a spanish speaking woman leaving the store that what i wrote made no sense.  that comment summarized wheat pasting phoenix last weekend.  we live and learn.


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