We rented a 14 cubic foot dumpster last weekend, in a grand quest to chuck almost every chuck-able thing in the garage and transform it into a studio. Yes, a studio to paint. Are we talented enough to do this – probably not. Are we trying to recapture some youthful joy of throwing color on paper and letting madness, gravity and some squirrel hair have its way, yes.
Obstacles loomed large. A garage crammed full of 15 years of life detritus. Crap from three houses, three children and rag- tag stacks of DIY furniture from my teens, twenties, thirties, etc. No space to walk to the beer fridge – an American tragedy.
The effort was riddled with cursing and tears. Stuff is hard to throw away. Stuff you will never use again clings to you when you see it. You feel some small comfort, the soft flannel nostalgia of your former life revisits you. And you can’t throw that part of your life away can you? How ever will you remember?
Sorting through keepsake boxes, mumbling the odyssey of our lives. The aching journals of youth, rampant religious texts, cheap beads from dirty countries. Silk wedding flowers of people now parted. Goodwill got my fifth grade teddy bear collection.
One thing I refused to part with – my spray paint. The single most transformative tool – secret weapon of up-cyclers and street artists everywhere. I think Keltie Ferris applauded. Her pointer finger transformed the humble spray can into high art.
I love the energy of this painting, the way the spray strokes fuzz and pop. Layering the sprays atop the other paint creates a plunging sense of depth. Purplenavy past below, present above (a bit amorphous of course but vibrating, full of movement). Downsizing’s gracious reward – the gold shimmer of beginning.
Let me introduce you to Banksy, hooded British street artist turned red-haute art star. The museum crowd lauds him; the Tate Modern hearts him. Art collectors around the world shell out the big bucks for his indoor work, but his graffiti (outdoor murals), recently set the Olympic Committee’s and British Transportation Police’s teeth to grinding.
According to British law, it’s a punishable offense to use the Olympic rings if you are not a sponsor. The Olympic committee aggressively protects their brand. For months they’ve harassed British small business owners and artists. The Olympic Cafe is now the Lympic Cafe. For a time, only McDonald’s (major sponsor) was permitted to serve fries in the Olympic village. Using the words, “summer”, “gold”, “silver” or “bronze” in your advertising will court cease-and-desist letters or $30,000 fines from the street roaming brand police. The Olympic committee even hand slapped Kate Middleton’s sister for “copyright infringing” website content. (No time to touch on the story of the sanctioned knitters or the store owner threatened suit for configuring hula hoops like Olympic rings.) Now they want to white wash Banksy.
This mural sports no Olympic symbols. Instead, on-site structures like the decrepit chain-link fence and the molding mattress add clever satire to the story of the unnamed-games pole vaulter.
Its location is secret.
Does this image honor athletes from small underfunded countries who don’t have the resources to compete with wealthy nations? With similar talent but no funding, they have little chance to metal (81 countries attending the Summer Olympics have never metalled). Or is it a dig at the Olympic committee itself? Way to high and mighty, headed for a rotten-mattress face plant. Scoring the lowest mark in court of public opinion.
For more gritty details