Sunday, May 20, 2012

full annularity

full annularity

it's that time of year again.  in just a couple weeks, race across america (raam), will begin.  it blows my mind still that it takes the fastest of those guys and women just under a week to cycle from the west coast to the east.

when yote and i first talked about organizing an art project where we imagined inviting some of our favorite artists out to paint murals on roadside stands, i told him that i'd like to hold it the last week of may so we'd have art up for the raam cyclists (as they travel from oceanside, ca to flagstaff to tuba city to kayenta to mexican hat to montezuma creek before heading to the four corners to cortez,  to annapolis, maryland.  there are so many different categories of cyclists [men 35 + down; women tandems > age 50 and so on], that the different categories start over the course of a week from june 12 - 18.)

anyway, it's crazy.  it looks like gaia will be here for about a couple weeks from june 15 - 27.  doodles, overunder + labrona are supposed to drop in during that time.  i'm thinking breeze + tom greyeyes will come up to share their energy during this interval too.  today i was in touch with shonto begay who also agreed to come give us some love.  the potential for dynamic exchange leading to the making of great art is strong.  i'm excited.

stay tuned...

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

adventure journal shout out

mr. tony

Monday, May 14, 2012

shout out from the san francisco bay guardian

thanks for the shout out caitlin!

martha cooper's images from her neighborhood in south west baltimore (sowebo)

 jaguar man riding the tiger - jaz

labrona in the house

portrait of the community matriarch - other

tony divers holding it down

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, May 6, 2012

when all is said + done...

near the stables in sowebo

when all is said and done, being in baltimore for 2 weeks with open walls baltimore was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  you have to appreciate the context.  i started wheat pasting 3 years ago in june of 2009 after returning from brasil.  since then i have wheat pasted images from my negative archive of the past 25 years on the navajo nation along roadsides here exploring how this might build community.  to find myself in baltimore with people whose work i've admired for the past 2 to 3 years was mind blowing.

i thought i'd be there for only 8 days.  however, it was cold and rainy which along with juggling who got to use the lifts made the coordination of getting pieces up tricky.  that and andrew doesn't have a car or driver's license which meant occasionally having to schlep buckets of wheat paste, the posters and brooms to sites in the neighborhood.  (shout out to nanook for all of your help!)  

for the life of me, i don't know why gaia + crew don't use lids when transporting their buckets of paste.  it's funny actually and is one of those things i love about those guys.  they'll have open 5 gallon containers of paste in the back of a vehicle when killian or one of the other crew members is around with a car.)  the biggest problem though was attempting to put a 36 foot piece up on an un-prepped surface.  once that piece came off the wall, i decided to stay another week and had to explore whether my staying was about satisfying my ego to produce good work in this environment versus honoring my word to tony about getting his picture up.  nanook and i had gotten a lot of positive feedback from people at 2 a.m. who were still on the street telling us how much they liked the piece.  in the end it was both my ego and my desire to honor my word to tony that led me to stay.

the people who were giving nanook and me positive feedback as we worked late into the night were black people of all ages from the hood.  it meant a lot to me that the work i did resonated with the people who were getting the work.  some of the comments i got from people in the neighborhood when i wasn't with nanook were things like "...we're happy to see a black person involved in putting art up over here.  thank you."

when i was installing my last day in baltimore outside galarie myrtis in station village a black woman who was at the stoplight waiting for it to change yelled out to me from her car window.

"that's nice!  i like that.  thank you for sharing your art with us.  be sure to put your name on it when you're done because if you don't, the white man will come along and say he did it."  

the whole thing of being black, a physician, in my 50s hanging out with people who are white, european, american, south american and in their 20s and 30s was a question addressed to me several times in interviews while i was in baltimore.  being in that space reminded me of being with street artists in brasil who were black, white, italian, french, brasilian and in their 20s and 30s.  they accepted me wholeheartedly without question or concern because they appreciated my love for the art.  it was the same way in baltimore.  i was moved deeply by the experience.  thank you baltimore and thank gaia for the opportunity.


Labels: , ,

Friday, May 4, 2012

leaving baltimore

tony divers by his mural

although he lives 5 blocks away now, his family lived in the block where his portrait went up 50 years ago.

mural by lny

gallery myrtis
2224 north charles street in station village

work by other artists taking part in open walls baltimore

sten + lex on a mission...  (italy)

that was the joke with them.  they were on a mission because everything that could go wrong, was going wrong for them in baltimore.  they had problems with the conversion from meters to feet + reprints had to be made, the weather was cold + rainy, their wall had to be angle ground before they could begin.  (i gotta say, i never knew what angle grinding was or that people did it before installing pieces outdoors but sten + lex did most all of their own angle grinding, frequently in the rain, on their big ass wall.)  

i had the pleasure of spending 10 days with them in gaia's studio.  as i type this, manuel has been searching for the past 20 minutes for his headlight so, as every night, they can continue working late into the night.  james brown's death was timely because sten + lex would have taken his title as the hardest working man in show business.  now, in light of jb's death, they're the undisputed champs. 

their technique is so labor intensive and time consuming it's nuts, but yields beautiful results.  i loved sten + lex before i ever met them or saw them work but love them more after hanging with them.  you guys are the best!

pixelpancho + 2501   (italy) 

pixelpancho (italy)

i tell people frequently that i attended an alternative, quaker, junior high school.  it was the arthur morgan school in the mountains of north carolina.  it was a small school; there were only 24 to 25 of us in grades 7, 8 + 9 during my time there.  each spring we'd divide into grounds and venture out into the world on field trips.  my 8th grade year i did a canoe trip through the florida everglades.  my 7th and 9th grade years i went to a small, black, quaker community near beauford, south carolina.  we did community service work and laying a walkway in the garden or clearing a field of brush, all the stuff you hate to be doing at that age.  

i was supposed to be here for only 8 days but because my first attempt at getting tony's picture up last thursday night (from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m.), resulted in "the major fail," i extended my trip a week.  it's been my first 2 week vacation in almost 3 years.

this 2 week period in baltimore has reminded me of my community building experiences in junior high school.  i had an opportunity to walk the streets of a new, unfamiliar city and make a few acquaintances such that when i saw people on the street, we'd exchange greetings on a first name basis.  it felt good and reminded me of home in north carolina.  

i'm sad to leave baltimore.  i feel i made some good art, met and worked with some wonderful people and connected with a few people in the community who appreciated the art coming to them.  

thank you marty for that!

Labels: , , ,