Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blue on the street

Last Sunday, I was part of the Sunday Streets festival in the Excelsior, which for non-San Francisco people is one of the last working-class neighborhoods in San Fran. I was invited by the Youth Art Exchange to do a short-term installation and activity.

I've had cast paper on the brain, since I'm building an installation with it for the Art and Nature Festival in September. So I decided to experiment, and ended up with cast paper street art.

The work is up for the next few weeks near the intersection of Mission and Russia. Click on the images for larger pictures.

For a street-based art-making activity, I proposed to do Gyotaku prints. I wanted something that connected to the installation. Since the street was closed, I originally started out in the street itself. For those unfamiliar with the Excelsior, typically it's one of San Francisco's foggy and chilly neighborhoods. Not last week - the sun was out in full force. In the street, ink was drying before we could print, and my crayons literally began to melt. So ended up moving onto the sidewalk, sharing shade with the Youth Art Exchange and their partner on another project, Green Art Workshops.

A gentleman by the name of Melxin Whartnaby came by during the event. He was documenting it for the Friends of the Excelsior Public Library, and shared his photos with me.

Due to the heat, the day was fairly low-key, compared to say, some of my past projects in which there was a constant stream of people. However, it reminded me of how energizing it is to make art on the street, with the public. More importantly, it affirms how much there is a need for such projects.

Green Art Workshops was also doing a participatory project. Using some silver mat board donated from SCRAP and the laser cutter from the Youth Art Exchange, they made a series of water droplets. The public was invited to write ways to save water on the drops, which were then hammered into the wall loosely. When the wind blew, the entire installation swayed. This piece will also be up for a few weeks, and is right next to mine.

Some of the suggestions were pretty intricate, as this drawing of a de-salination system.

Some tried for humor.

I owe a debt of gratitude for this experience to the Youth Art Exchange, particularly Reed Davaz McGowen.

The sun and heat took a lot out of me that day, but the event gave me a renewed energy for the studio. Since completing The Last Color, I'd been a little postpartum. That day I realized how much I've missed doing street art and public interventions. Now, with this renewed energy, I'm returning to the studio to try some experiments. As John Cage would say, I welcome what happens next.

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