Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wall Flowers

On Saturday August 22nd I participated in the 'Sand City West End Celebration', an art and music event where the West End blocks are closed off for the party.
It is a nice social gathering, re-connecting with locals and other artists I know. I didn't bring any art to display this year, as I had the previous two years.
Instead I was contracted to do chalk drawing for the event.
I was given a wall to draw on along Ortiz Avenue, very central in the layout. I don't usually draw on walls with this medium, but it was a fortunate occurence that day. I was so tired and strained from the previous two days of drawing that using the vertical surface instead of hunching over the pavement was a nice alternative.
After looking over the wall I decided on one of the more basic floral forms. The construction of the wall, with numerous cracks between the cinder blocks would make any kind of detail very problematic. It turned into an 'audience participation' work, with kids and people who passed by picking up chalk and adding to it.


Friday August 21st was the main event for the museum.
Myself and three other chalk artists created images for the event in the plaza next to Bubba Gump in Cannery Row. Each of us had to recreate one of the children's book illustrations that are in the show opening at the Monterey Art Museum. I recreated the illustration from "Rumplestiltskin" by Zelinsky.
It was excellent to have a setting such as this, and we each were given a tent over our drawing space and plastic chain stanchions to designate the area. It was an exhausting day. I had chosen the most complex of the images (enjoying the challenge) and the other artists finished theirs way before me.
A lot of tourists milled around, watching and taking pictures. The weather was perfect. I believe I worked on this one from about 1030 to about 630, with some breaks inbetween.
I had intended to do more to add a distinctive flourish to the piece; possibly by making the girl's outfit more elaborate, yet just recreating it as-is was difficult enough for the time frame.

Arrow to the Sun

As part of being invited by the Monterey Art Museum to participate in the "Over Rainbows and Down Rabbit Holes" exhibit, I made a rough sketch of this image from the McDermott story, "Arrow to the Sun".
I had come in by train from Oakland early in the afternoon of 8-20 and met with the Museum members at the MPC Farmer's Market.
It was a bakingly hot day and the drawing surface was black road asphalt; drawing on the actual road in the lower parking lot area. Asphalt is not an ideal surface to draw on because of it's texture, but for this particular piece it worked well. The native american theme lends itself to a more textured style, emulating stone and earth.

Priestess Profile

I will be posting images of a few drawings done in Monterey in August.
This one was done between other projects at the East Village Coffee Lounge.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sidewalk Flower

A leisurely Sunday.
Drew a quick flower next to a pizza place at valencia and 19th.
It may not stay very long; the stretch of sidewalk was near the backdoor
to the kitchen, and they would come out there to rinse off mats and things.
They seemed apologetic about this. I could only shrug.
The proximity to flowing water means not putting an excessive amount of time
into a piece. With any luck it will avoid the worst of it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Huntress in Primary

Near 16th and Dolores St.
A quick piece.
One I have done at least four times by now!
I like this design for the strong profile it forms;
the overall shape has an agressive edge to it.

Musical Euphoria (Continued)


Near Dolores Park

19th and Dolores

Wanted to make a larger attempt at this design.

The cops showed up briefly, then left.

Someone had called them, saying we were spraypainting.

Hoping to get colors in on this one.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Musical Euphoria (Sketch)


Near Valencia and 23rd

This design has been on the line-up for a while.

I've been planning on doing it for a promoter who works downstairs.

It turned out not to be the day to work on this one.

In the process of completing the sketch I realized I was drawing it too small.

And the surface wasn't ideal. And there was something funky about the spot.

Likely redraw this one larger, in detail, somewhere else soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Faces of Synthesis

The first two images: an unknown mission dude. He was passing by; I have no idea who he was.
The middle two: Stella, my drawing companion.
The last: myself.

Synthesis Progression

The lower images are of the initial outlines.
The middle are after the first wave of coloration.
The uppermost image is the overall effect after retracing the white lines.

Synthesis (The Lovers)

Over the days of 8-7 through 8-10.

Located on 19th between Valencia and Guerrero in front of a park where the Mission Pool and community center is.
On Friday I got the outline started, drawing alongside a friend whom I'd just met.
Got approximately the top half done in white outline.
On Saturday we came back to resume work on our different pieces
only to find that sprinklers (?) had come on during the night and done some damage.
The hand that Stella had drawn was almost completely erased, down to the fingertips.
The top of my piece was washed away, but I decided to rebuild it and finish the design.
(Even knowing for certain that it would be getting water damage)

There was a group next to us on the sidewalk, selling their wares, much the way many people do in the city, an un-official sidewalk flea market. Part of a hispanic family: a grumpy grandpa and a grandson and granddaughter, both teenagers.

It was a really pleasant place to be drawing on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and I got the feeling that Grandpa didn't care for us being there, making art. (Maybe he thought we were 'homing in' on his turf, or would affect his business)
He did his best to discourage us at different times. First it was 'Hey you gotta get a get a permit for that!? The cops gonna come arrest you for graffitti.'
I explained that I wasn't worried about it; its legal, and I'd already talked to the police about it.
The two grandkids, who were really nice, made a point of apologizing for him, saying 'He's always like that'.
Then a while later he tried a different tack: ' Why you drawing that when it's not gonna last? It's just gonna get washed away, you're doing it for nothing.'
I told him thats why I take photographs.
A bit more time went by and he still hadn't given up.
'How bout those houses over there?' he points down the block. 'Can't you draw over there?'


This was, I believe, only the second time in several years that someone had attempted to bully me away from making art. I am a fan of directness. I try to listen to the words people put together and spot the meaning and motivation that they carry.
'Look man, do you not want us drawing here or something? This is a public sidewalk. And we were drawing here yesterday.'
He had no answer for that.

It turned out to be a rather heavily trafficked spot, being on the way to the entrance to Dolores Park. My drawing was large, and took up most of the width of the sidewalk. I did my best to keep out of peoples' way, and even wrote 'ITS OK TO WALK ON' on either side of the drawing. Still, a curious effect took hold: nobody wanted to walk on it. I suppose I should take it as a sign of respect, but truthfully it was a little irritating. I'm at the very edge of the sidewalk near the street trying to do my thing and stay out of people's way, and they keep walking behind me!

During the daytime, the kid of the family (who was 11, but a monstrous 11) practiced his rudimentary skateboarding skills, and we got him to play a bit of hack with us when we took a break.

My friend finished the dismembered heart she was working on and took off late in the afternoon. I pushed through and got the fill-in work done, exhausting as it was for the large area. At one point I got into a discussion with the mom and the grumpy grandpa about the work. They couldn't believe that I get paid for doing this.

I'm thinking of this one as a study for the Tarot image, 'The Lovers', though I may not use it for that. To get a decent photo I tried scaling a tree hanging above it. I was so exhausted by the day of drawing that I didn't go for the usual step of reforming the white outlines after the color layer.
It was great to go lay in the grass in Dolores Park afterwards.

The next day the sprinklers had done their damage, and the overall effect was a muddy mess. The color selection and lack of cohesive linework brought all the worst qualities to the front.

So, finally, today I felt compelled to go back and sharpen it up a bit. With a few minutes work I had redone the outlines, and it looked much better. I was even pleased with the effect of the water damage, partially erasing the faces of the figures in rivulets.

Pictures of all this forthcoming...

Courtesan of Water


This piece was drawn on 7-22-09
near the corner of Valencia St. and 19th.
In keeping with the process of exploring Tarot imagery
I rendered this stern woman of the water suit.
A local homebum was impressed;
told me I was creating, "from the heart".
The color blending came out really nice.
The highlight for me, of the comments made by passers-by:
A group of elementary school kids walks by.
One kid says, "Wow, that's insane!"
The next kid says, "That's awesome!"
And the third one says, "That's insanely awesome!"
I was laughing so hard...

Ephemeral Artworks: Chalk Murals

On walking paths, on the banks of human rivers
I find empty places to fill with color
I weave together forms
and abstract, fanciful structures
I take over these spaces
Until the rain comes
Drawing lines upon the earth
Creating kingdoms out of dust
Revealing the bright mirror of the psyche
through masks and symbols
Peering back at those who pass by