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.
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?
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 →