“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” ― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
HARUMPH! It’s been quite some time since I’ve painted anything other than logos or perfect lines of text. The Urban Camo Seed Bomb project demands a certain photo-realistic precision and that series has ruled my brain for longer than I care to remember. “Out, damn OCD; out I say!” should be my creative mantra – in both good ways and bad.
But obsessive, anal-retentive work is better suited for gloomy winter days indoors; spring calls for more spontaneous, lively, and organic art. So in honor of the season I’ve decided to add some more delicate and painterly pieces to my seed bomb repertoire. Consider this a change of pace and an aesthetic declaration of “Fuck off winter, it’s time for sunshine!” Let me present the first additions to the Faberge Egg Seed Bomb Series. Continue reading →
I love using maps to visualize data. It’s often the only method that allows me to see/think through my spatial blind spots. So of course I had to throw my Urban Camo Seed Bomb data into Google Maps to help gain perspective on future placement sites. Turns out that using Google Street View in my neighborhood is FASCINATING. I blame the rain, my various winter colds, and the resulting cabin fever for this newfound interest in digital urban explorations. Google Maps Hole!
So after thoroughly exploring the pixelated contours of this particular Map Hole I’ve found some special tidbits and interesting urban puzzles worthy of sharing. Consider this the best of the weird from Fruitvale and Google.
Both of these Urban Camo Seed Bombs disappeared within one week. The Pyramid Brewing cap is from the Bay Trail near the High Street Bridge. The Holiday Shiner cap is from the freeway onramp at 40th Avenue and 12th Street.
I really wonder where these go. Are my neighbors collecting them? Are magpies and crows scooping them up? Are dogs wolfing them down? I guess I’ll never know. But in the future I should probably aim for more covert seed bomb placement.
In general, I’m not a fan of stencil art. I find it aesthetically beautiful but technically and conceptually dull. However, I’m not so snobbish that I can’t fall in love with random examples of the genre. A great example of a stencil piece I LOVE is this site specific installation on 16th Street between Hubbell and 7th. The mirroring of the tile work, the purposeful framing, the reclaiming of disused space – I tip my hat to whomever made this piece. Despite it’s roughness it’s quite clever – I’m a sucker for clever.
Looking at it, I wanted to know more about the tile work it mirrored. Was it part of a now-demolished building? Was it someone else’s playful intervention in the space? What exactly did that now-demolished building look like? Was it someplace important or interesting or beautiful? So off to the internet I went. And then suddenly – map hole.
Today, July 17th 2012, it rained in Oakland. Well, it was more like a heavy misting but it was enough to bring out the snails. I hate snails. In elementary school my mother paid me 1¢ per snail I killed. I would collect them in a big bucket, dump them in the middle of the street, and crush them under my bicycle tires. I had an interesting childhood.
I’ve always wanted to do an art piece with snails; partly because their flesh repulses me and partly because I find their shells to be infinitely interesting objects. Which is probably why I’ve been so taken with these two blog posts/creative snail projects.
I’d love to take a whole bucket of similarly sized snails, paint them each a unique color, and arrange them in a grid ala Damien Hirst’s dot paintings. Watching the snails slither away and organically dissolve the piece would be quite conceptually satisfying and more than a little beautiful. Snails and Damien Hirst – what’s not to love/hate?
This is what a candy wrapper Urban Camo Seed Bomb looks like after two weeks in the wild. While the painting is still intact; the combination of wind, fog, and sun has been less than kind to it’s physical shape . Not only is this candy wrapper twisted and warped but it’s a good five feet from the original placement site. We’ll see how long before it blows down the freeway embankment completely.
The latest Urban Camo Seed Bomb. Well, actually this was the first one I painted – I just didn’t get around to documenting it until now. Now it lives on an onramp embankment in East Oakland. A sad little spot full of weeds and trash; it seemed fitting and perhaps a more fertile locale than a sidewalk tree well.
Right now I’m working on some non-bottle cap Urban Camo Seed Bombs. I’m not sure how I feel about this particular one, it’s not quite working for me. Perhaps it’s because I “cheated” and used watercolor pencils and gouache to achieve the metallic quality? Also, I’m not a classically trained painter – I actually hadn’t painted in over nine years when I started this series – and this particular seed bomb was difficult. There’s something simple about painting logos and text. Having to accurately render non-graphic objects was a challenge.
Anyway, I’m constantly seeing condoms and condom wrappers on the ground in my neighborhood so I figured this was a fitting addition to the series.
This is what the CoronaCap looks like after eleven days outside; including four days of rain. All detail has dissolved away and the bottle cap has physically split in two – the top of the cap separating from, and sliding off, the bottom. Can poppy seed sprouting be far behind?