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.
A little backstory on this project…
Between working, sleeping, and socializing I split my time pretty evenly between Oakland and San Francisco. Given that most of that time is spent in the Tenderloin (where I work) or Fruitvale (where I live) I have a passing familiarity with urban blight and the underutilization of green space. The specific issues – and by “issues” I mean observable symptoms not their underlying causes – in each area differ immensely. In San Francisco, urban space is a cage – the grid-like layout of it’s streets and the box-like architecture of it’s buildings marching up and down hills like prison bars or long teeth. With buildings pressed up against the sidewalk and one another there’s a dearth of front yardage, a dearth of tree wells and a general dearth of visually accessible greenery. However, this series is not about that specific set of urban issues. Sorry San Francisco, this series is very much about Oakland’s relationship to space. Continue reading