In this post, street art comes to you (or at least it could.)
Click to embiggen!
“Honey, this place looks like it’s closed.”
Moni is trying to brush the sleep from her eyes. Leaning forward as far as the seat belt will let her, she cranes her neck around to see if she can see why I have pulled over. The more she sees, the more she realizes how very right she is. As I recall, this place was already closed over ten years ago when I used to drive through Gray Mountain on my way to work. It’s well past closed now.
“Why are we stopping here?”
After a moment, she realized the answer to her question.
(Click to embiggen. …You know you wanna!)
FWIW: My Instagram.
I’ve been to San Francisco before, not often, and never for long. This summer I spent a couple days in the city with my girlfriend, Moni, and her friend Annie, all before starting the great road trip with Wonder Woman as our companion. That was this summer, but what do I recall from before?
I was once on a massive field trip to San Francisco with virtually my entire grade school when by a perverse coincidence someone in California decided to kidnap a school bus full of children and bury them alive while waiting for the ransom. The seventies were kinda wacky that way, but don’t worry, they all made it.
…and someone at my school had to tell countless concerned parents that we were all on course and fully accounted for.
The field trip, itself I don’t remember much.
I remember a speech and debate tournament held at Berkeley way back when I was in college. I remember a hoard of people drumming in a courtyard, lots of great bookstores, a lovely trip to the wharf, and plenty of great street performers. I also remember wearing red ribbons in protest of apartheid. This was a new thing at the time, not just the color and the specific cause, but as I recall the notion of wearing ribbons as a political statement. It wasn’t then quite the cliche that it is now. Two athletes realized what the ribbons were for. That was all.
I also remember attending an anthropology conference held in San Francisco. We were palling around with an ex-Jesuit priest who had done his fieldwork in China. The guy swore he knew a great dim sum place near the hotel. We were snaking up and down the side streets until he finally hooked a quick turn into some place quite unimpressive, at least until they started serving the food. I remember him asking about spicy chicken feet. He was told they didn’t serve it to the customers, because we wouldn’t know how to eat it. After speaking to her in Mandarin for awhile, she agreed to feed him, and she brought out just enough for HIM to eat it. The rest of us got to watch.
I remember a little here and there from other trips, but nothing worth mentioning.
This time I recall getting very sick on a tour boat. I do that sometimes. Pretty much whenever I’m on a boat. Sometimes on a plane. Once recently in the back of a sled. Needless to say, roller coasters are right out! Anyway, I got off the boat this time and found myself miserable and bucking up for a day of hard work just to make it through what should have been good fun. So, Moni and Annie let me sleep in the park for an hour or so after which I actually enjoyed the rest of the day. At the very end of the evening, we decided to check out some street art. Seeing me go crazy with my camera as the sun went down, her friend, Annie, graciously agreed to take me back to check out the art in the Mission District again the next day.
I think I love Annie!
My all-time favorite was the Women’s Building with its great mural, MaestraPeace. We weren’t the only ones there with cameras, which is quite fitting, because a lot of great talent went into this piece.
MaestraPeace Mural was painted in 1994 by a “Who’s Who” of Bay Area muralists: Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton and Irene Perez.
Seriously, that painting is very cool.
We were hunting some murals in a small alley at one point when a local suggested we go check out Clarion Alley. Moni was a little annoyed that I was talking to random homeless people, but honestly the guy helped me out quite a bit. Clarion Alley was great advice! Moni was even more annoyed the next day when I was accosted by a homeless man who wanted me to leave Clarion Alley very quickly. He wasn’t as helpful as the first guy. Still, I got my pics, and he didn’t shoot me after all, not that he had a gun mind you, but shootings were mentioned.
…as were donuts.
Anyway, I clicked away at my camera for the better part of a full day, and I could hardly tear myself away as the sun fell again. I have no doubt that I missed a great deal. I’m also told that much of the artwork would be different if we go back.
I really must test this theory some day.
(Click to embiggen!)
The Women’s Building
I’m usually a little lost in big cities. Vegas would be an exception, because it was once home, but usually cities make me a little uncomfortable. You see more people in 5 minutes down there in L.A. than you will up here in months on the North Slope (and that’s just on a quick trip to Target). I find it all just a little bit disconcerting.
Still, the big cities do have their strong points…
Oh yes, they do!
(click to embiggen!)
Regular readers may have noticed already, but when I (and now Moni too) experience a bout of southiness, we frequently do this somewhere in the southwest. Santa Fe is a common destination. We mostly travel through nearby Española on our way up to Taos, Pueblo, but this last summer, we also traveled through on our way up to Ghost Ranch, and that meant going though more of the town. The murals were very cool!
Moni gets mad at me when she sees these, because she doesn’t remember many of them. I think she was on the phone while I ran loose with a camera.
So, brought to you with just a trade of schadenfreude, the murals of Española!
(Click to embiggen)
It’s been a very long time since I worked in Navajo country. The last couple years I’ve made a point to take Miladydebennet through a lot of my old haunts, and this summer that meant a trip through the Navajo Nation. It was great to see some of the old sights again, and to see them a little bit through the new eyes of my girlfriend. It was also great to see some new things in the old places. One of my favorite new things (new to me anyway) is the addition of street art all around the rez. These had me smiling all the way from Page to Santa Fe. I had even more reason to smile when I learned one of my former students had been involved in painting one of these murals.
It seems that these have been part of an ongoing project, called Paint the Desert initiated by a doctor who goes by the name, Jetsonorama. You can find a few articles on his project here and here, here, and here. I’ve previously posted some of the murals from along Highway 89, so I was very happy to catch some more this summer.
As always, you may click to embiggen. (In fact, I highly recommend it.)
These were in Kayenta, just south of Monument Valley.
These paintings were all at the Crossroads Trading Post.
Saw this somewhere along the road from Kayenta down to Chinle.
Found this piece on the road between Many Farms and Chinle.
These (and many more) were all painted along a wall in Fort Defiance. It would have been walking distance from my home for a few years. Kind of a surreal experience to get a soda from the old convenience store and walk around checking this out. Surreal, and very cool.
For me anyway.
Hope y’all enjoy the pictures.
So, I was in Rapid City recently. I was there to attend a convention of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. It’s a great conference and a great organization. So, I was enjoying myself a great deal, already, when a thought occurred to me. I wonder if there is any street art in Rapid City?
Surely, I thought, there must be a mural or two, maybe not even a great one, but I’ll bet there is something.
Turns out the answer is ‘yes’. There is definitely street art in Rapid City. In fact, the city has an entire alley devoted to it.
(Click to embiggen!)
So, it occurs to me that I’ve actually got quite a backlog of street art pics from Vegas. I’ve been collecting them for a couple years now without really doing a specific blog post on the topic. I’ve posted street art from Vegas before; here, here, here, and here. Oh, and here (a ways down the post)! I also included some murals in my original posts on the Erotic Heritage Center. but I notice some of those murals are covered now. In any event, I think it’s well past time for an update.
If there is any difference between this stuff and the murals I posted a couple years ago, I would say that I am seeing more large projects done by some well known artists these days. I’m still a fan of the lesser-known words tucked away in corners here and there, but it’s interesting to see the paintings moving closer to downtown and onto bigger buildings.
Anyway, here tis!
(Click to embiggen!)
Just drove north of Flagstaff along Highway 89 up to Kanab. I used to commute from Flagstaff up to Tuba City for work, so a stretch of this was very familiar to me. I was pleasantly surprised to see one new element along the road, a certain amount of street art.
The subject matter is rather distinctive, but I can’t help thinking one of the best things about this material is the background.
An elderly Navajo working one of the craft stands told me there were a couple different people in the area putting these up. I don’t know much more.
Thought I’d share.
(Click to embiggen!)
P.S. My girlfriend tells me I’m not supposed to include the pictures of the child and a goat on account of she accidentally picked up a black ant taking pictures of those herself. We ejected the hitchhiker on the outskirts of Page. A little Hydrocortisol and a couple Advil had us on our way. The cycle of pain may continue once she realizes what I did here. I’m not a praying man, but your kind thoughts would be appreciated.
One of the things I like most about street art is the way it interacts with the environment. Case in point, this wire in front of this mural in the Vegas Art District irritated me at first. Then I came to see it as a sort of design feature.
A good one.
Here’s the full panel.