I started pasting in June of 2009 and marked my 5 year anniversary last month. This month will mark my 27th year on the rez. It amazes me still to see the resonance the project has and the opportunities it’s afforded me to share art and life experiences in this quest to build community.
I like to think that I have enough experience now to anticipate the tonal range and acuity of the prints I get from my printer. I thought I’d come up with a bomb proof method for installing work on windy days. But no. The heat was brutal last week. It wasn’t Phoenix hot but 6500 feet on the Colorado Plateau before the monsoon rains start hot. Between the heat, the wind and the print being too dark to be deciphered from the highway some 200 yards away, I failed. But hey, when one door closes, another opens. I’m excited about plan b (not the one the supreme court ruled against this week).
And then, a supporter of my work stopped last week to pick my brain a bit. He had questions about my process, about the reception of the work by the community and how that impacts my work at the clinic. Then he asked me the one question I’ve been anticipating and thinking through for the 5 years I’ve been pasting. And when he asked, it was like I’d never considered the question and couldn’t come up with an adequate response. The question was “…How would you say your work differs from JR?” Bam! There it was and there I was, brain dead. I think in not having been asked that question in 5 years I was lulled into thinking the difference between JR’s work and mine was obvious. I guess not.
Ultimately, I don’t think it matters. I still thank JR for showing me how photography can be used as a street art medium. JR’s work reflects his life experiences and my work reflects mine. And if I’ve said it once, I’ll say this traditional Diné prayer again + again…
With beauty before me, I walk
With beauty behind me, I walk
With beauty beneath me, I walk
With beauty all around me, I walk.
In beauty it is finished
In beauty it is finished
In beauty it is finished
In beauty it is finished.
As my dad was fond of staying, “…Nothing stays the same. Things either get better or get worse.” In anticipation of Doodles returning next weekend with Monica Canilao and crew of carpenters to reconstruct a food vending stand for Mrs. Woody a mile from my house, I learned that no more construction can happen at the Crossroads Flea Market site. It seems there’s a family that lives close to the flea market site who has been complaining to the Inscription House Chapter that every Saturday during the flea market people relieve themselves in the shrub surrounding the market site. Rather than install toilets since the site was never designated for this purpose, the Chapter is shutting it down. That means Mr. Daw’s food stand with Overunder’s piece is history…
Mr. Daw’s food stand coming down
Overunder’s original mural in June 2012.
i returned to work last week after a 3 month break where i got to get art up in perth, australia, oakland, philly + hotchkiss, colorado (population 923). it took a little getting used to but by the end of the week i was getting my patient care groove back. people ask me sometimes whether there’s any carry over between my work as a doctor and the public art project i’m doing. it’s one thing to say “yeah, i get to use both sides of my brain in a complimentary manner attempting to create a state of wellness + restore balance so people can walk in beauty and to actually interact with people and feel their appreciation that i’m back. and back i am!
the painted desert project will kick off in a few weeks with an outstanding line up of artists + carpenters including monica canilao (oakland + detroit), doodles (new mexico + washington state), jorael elliot (phoenix + l.a.), troy lovegates (montreal + san francisco), jaz (buenos aires, argentina), labrona (montreal, canada) and hyuro (valencia, spain). i’m thankful for people in the community who have expressed a willingness to work with the visiting artists. it should be an awesome season so stay tuned!
there’s a billboard i’ve become attracted to on highway 89 north in antelope hills. i got a piece up onto it about a year ago. the woman who works at the trading post initially hated the idea of having rodeo bullfighters pictured on the billboard. with support from customers who liked it, she tolerated it. it occurred to me it’s time to change it out which i thought i’d do last weekend but because i had friends visiting, it didn’t happen. then today, i looked at my 3 mockups from a couple weeks ago once more and realized i really like the original choice, which isn’t the print i’ve been cutting out for the past week. now i’m waiting for the arrival of the new print.
in the meantime, my primary camera is broken. i’m thankful it didn’t happen during the 3 months of travel i recently completed. waiting for my camera to be repaired and the new print to arrive, i’m in a holding pattern which has allowed me to look back through old digital prints. though the image above comes from a christmas eve celebration at ohkay owingeh pueblo north of santa fe, i fell in love with it again.
falling in love again…
photo by mary hockenbury
hotchkiss, co (population 923) where kind people will serve you grapes + chocolate kisses.
debra yepa-pappan shared with me one of her iconic images which she allowed me to remix and install. i got it up at the roadside stand of marge james in march of 2014. she consented to an interview which appears here on vandalog.
“vermillion” is a short film by doug bell + kitchen sink studios about friendship + fly fishing at lee’s ferry in which imagery from the painted desert project appears.
the navajo nation was considering building a resort at the confluence of the little colorado river and the colorado river on the east rim of the grand canyon. it was opposed by traditionalists on and off the reservation who viewed this as a desecration of a sacred site and it was opposed by environmentalists. we learned late this winter that the tribe dropped it’s plan to pursue the resort resulting in a win for the coalition of traditionalists and environmentalists.
for more information, check this may 2nd posting on the save the confluence blog.
marilyn + gregory
the bahe ketchum code talker piece i put up about 18 months ago when i discovered that my neighbor, friend and coworker had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
my good friend, marilyn came to visit with her boyfriend, gregory. it was great getting to spend time with them and to laugh in one of my favorite spots near my house – atop white mesa. i’ve had an incredible 3 month mini sabbatical where i got to go to australia with a bunch of the artists who have been here over the past 2 years taking part in a street art festival in perth. from there i traveled to oakland, philly + hotchkiss, colorado (population 923) meeting incredible people and getting art up.
it feels good to return home, to see my son + to see people from the community as i prepare to return to work monday. however, while all that’s happening the first artists for the painted desert project will be coming out in about a month. it should be an awesome summer and fall.
so welcome to the new site + here we go…