Monday, July 16, 2012

headless heroes of the apocalypse (4 labrona)

man, if you know anything about labrona at all, you know he's a hardcore audiophile, crate digging jazz head.  yes, i love him. 


i asked him how he knows so much about jazz.  he said it's only a certain period of jazz that he's familiar with - the horace silver, andy bey style of hardbop/soul jazz from the late 60s into the 70s.  he got into by wanting to find the original samples he heard in hip hop from the underground scene.  


one of the people he hipped me to a few weeks ago was eugene mcdaniels who did an album called "headless heroes of the apocalypse."  it's been sampled by the beastie boys, a tribe called quest and others.  


anyway, when i was invited by aaron schmitt to come to durango, co to do a piece,  i knew i wanted to do something that had a western vibe to it but in a contemporary way to show how the west is changing demographically like the rest of the country.  it was easy.  i broke away from the stereotypical image of a white guy in a cowboy hat on a horse.


instead, i chose donté from baltimore whom i met this past may.  i loved my time at the stables in south west baltimore (sowebo).  donté lives around there.  one afternoon he was getting teased by some older guys about being afraid to ride the shetland ponies.  (i learned from someone just yesterday in durango how ornery shetlands are.)  in order to get donte to fill the wall, i had to chop his head off and make the piece about something else.  


it became a hand study, a look a movement and control.  i like that the photo seems to ask "...who's in control?  the guy on the horse or the shetland?  if it's the guy on the horse - why is he headless?"  (in truth, i guess you'd still ask that question even if donte's head was there but it becomes a more poignant question if he's headless and gets up back to the original question - "why is he headless anyway?)


because this is dedicated to my friend labrona who turned me onto eugene mcdaniels (and "languidity" by sun ra.  it doesn't get any better than "where paths meet."  damn!)


meanwhile, in durango my crew there (nick jones,  aaron schmitt and brian raymond simmonds) told me about what they went through to get the wall i was going to work on.  this past spring they had a graff show called open art surgery: an exploration of public art where a small group of artists from all over the country came for a gallery show.  several people collaborated for a kick ass mural loved by the community on the side of a gas station with the owner's approval.  however, the mural violated the city's sign code.  so rather than let the wall go since the mural had so much community support, aaron and his friends met with the city council (i think it was) and presented information at a public forum on the issue as to why the mural should keep running.  one of the objections the city had was that the artists hadn't prepped the wall and the mural was already starting to peel.


dig that.  that was one of the city's concerns as opposed to being totally closed to the possibility of starting a mural program.  one of the people who stood before an audience of his community members was 11 year old brian brieger, a big time fan of street art.  he was devastated at the thought of the mural leaving.  he and his dad know where the spots are around town and will go watch writers paint asking them questions about the process.  nick totally digs the art form.  


nick holding speech he gave before city council


yeah, so anyway - nick was happier than a pig in stink to be working with us yesterday and we were happy to have him there.  it's his wall.  he stood before city council and fought for it.

little nick + big nick wait for the storm to pass









saturday, we got a little shower that wasn't too bad.  because i really wanted to get all of the top row done saturday so we could have the hard part behind us, we worked through the shower.  it was great.  we just had to keep up with where the thunderheads were.  sunday, we thought we'd be able to get away with working through the storm but man, it dumped.  we had to retreat for a bit.  when it slowed to a steady drizzle, we hit it again.



photo by nick jones


headless heroes of the apocalypse (4 labrona)



like little nick, i felt that the original mural had to go.  there's a housing complex across the street from this wall and a lot of people from over there took the time to tell us how much they loved the first mural and were wondering why we were covering it up.  not everyone knew about the plan for the city council to have the art on the wall change every 4 months.  that was the compromise little nick and aaron reached with the city.  that, and they'd prep the walls before art went up.

so, i was a little shocked when i rolled up and saw the original mural on the wall untouched (except where it had been toyed over). i spent some time checking it out and having aaron tell me who did what and where they were from.  sorry i can't remember all the names.  there were several elements i loved that found their way into my piece.  respect to the original crew.


tropicalismo lives!




ron

it was crazy.  i don't know if it's because i went to durango wanting the type of community interaction i saw some of the painted desert artists have or whether the stars were properly aligned or what.  but durango gave me mad love for 2 days.  thank you for the spontaneous gifts of food and your presence stopping by on the street to check out what was going on.  it was incredible.  thank you.


my crew from left to right...

nick jones, nick brieger, jetsonorama (sans drama), aaron schmitt, brian raymond simmons




big up!







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