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City Paint Phoenix 13 – Muscle Man of Roosevelt Community Church

Appearing on the east-facing wall of the Roosevelt Community Church at 924 N. 1st Street, in Phoenix, this familiar sight finally became subject for one of my stops during a photographic excursion that included the abstract net-art that I featured in this earlier post, Her Secret is Patience.  This was a rather fruitful venture, as it provided fodder for at least another five City Paint Phoenix features that will appear here in the next several weeks.

I won’t claim to have any understanding, knowledge, or insight into the meaning of the mural or its significance on the side of a church building whose congregation purports to be open-minded and accepting of all peoples, etc., etc., but I will suggest that maybe it has something to do with the connectedness of the members of the human species, as displayed by the red-meat that we all possess beneath our variously hued external coverings of skin…rising from the dust of the earth…and then, maybe…our spirit/energy/soul/etc. transcending our terrestrial trappings and going out into the ether to join the rest of the cosmos…etc., etc., and so on…I don’t know.  I already said that…I just don’t know.  But here it is anyway, an intriguing mural along Roosevelt Row, another contribution to the local street-art scene.

Muscle man mural of Roosevelt Community Church

The only artist attribution I could find for the mural was a single article in a local newspaper that provided three names – Bishop Ortega, Larry Valencia, and Anthony Vasquez.

As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this latest addition to the City Paint Phoenix street art series…and I thank you for visiting.  I think it would be fun to hear/read what you think of the mural and what it might mean.  I know there are several friends here who have extensive experience in the art world…so please feel free to share your thoughts….

Summer Solstice Morning Trail in the Sonora Desert

It’s a little more than a week-old at this point, but it’s one of the only “nice” shots from the entire five hours out there, so I thought I’d share it.  This is photo #6, taken at 7:05 a.m., on the Black Canyon Trail, heading north from Black Canyon City, Arizona, USA.  It was hotter than blue blazes toward the end of the hike and there was nothing so inviting as the thought of getting into the truck and making a quick stop at a corner store for an ice-cold Coke.  I’m not in the habit of doing that after a hike, but it sure was wonderful on this particular afternoon!

City Paint Phoenix 12 – Cabezas Curiosas

Driving through the city on my way to work a few weeks ago, I happened to look south and spied a couple of faces staring back at me.  I had time to spare before I had to clock-in at the office, so I parked the truck on a side street and took a little walk with my camera.

cabezas curiosas mural from afar

Moving a little closer, and a little to the east to get the tree out of the way….

cabezas curiosas mural closer look

I walked down the street a bit and attempted to approach the mural from the property entrance to the left of the mural and found that there was yet more….

more cabezas curiosas

Three more faces, two of the masked people and….a snowman?  Given that this wall was right at the entrance to the parking lot of a small apartment building, there was no problem gaining access and taking a few closer shots.

second mural of cabezas curiosas

Enjoy the gallery….and remember that you can click on any image to be taken to a sort of slide-show that allows you to view each image in a larger format.

As I was heading back to the truck, I happened to glance across the street and found yet another Cabeza Curiosa mural….

I found these murals on buildings located at the intersection of 7th Street and Pierce, just east of downtown proper in Phoenix, Arizona.  As you can see in three of the images above, the artist is listed as “@t_krank” on Twitter, Tyson Krank, and you can follow this link to a short article about him in one of the local newspapers.

I hope you enjoyed this latest presentation of the City Paint Phoenix series.  You can see other posts of Phoenix’s street art, and Salt Lake City’s, as well, by scrolling to the bottom of the page, finding the “Categories” widget, and clicking on “Street Art – Graffiti.”

exposed…again….

There was a certain feeling of nakedness and vulnerability that came with being the only visible white person within several blocks…who was also standing on the second-floor landing of an outside staircase in front of a faded and worn, black security door and having an invisible dark-brown voice coming out from somewhere on the other side of the door telling me that I needed to leave…telling me that I needed to go, to be gone, to be absent, to be somewhere else…anywhere else…and away.

It was full daylight on a bright desert weekday in some kind of month when the sun was making my face run with sweat, smack-dab in the middle of the neighborhood at 15th Avenue and Buckeye, easily within the perimeter of the inner to mid-city boundaries of central Phoenix.  The address used to be 1502 West Buckeye Road, but the two-building, two-storied, and L-shaped apartment “complex” has gone the way of urban-renewal and no longer exists.  It was deemed to be part of the blight in that particular city-council precinct.  The corner was now home to just a traffic-signal pole and an empty and graveled lot that sparkled with the detritus and glass of a Mad-Dog and beer-bottle graveyard.  People parked there sometimes when they were visiting the tent-revival meetings at the “church” on the south-side of the street and a little east of there…other people parked their taco-wagons and multi-colored, plastic patio chairs there and sold those spring and summer-time evening tacos and birria (goat-meat) burritos to passers-by with a middle-loud to real-loud loud-speaker playing various folk-tunes from south of the border.  If you’ve heard them before, you know what I mean when I describe them as sounding like they come from a Bavarian Oktoberfest celebration with the polka-accordion-esque tunes that seem foreign and absurd in their central Phoenix surroundings.

As I said, there was a certain feeling of vulnerability, standing there, elevated as I was, on the back-side of the complex on that four-by-six foot metal platform at the top of the stairs.  There was nothing to hide behind and no porch-cover overhead, no posts or poles to hold an awning or sun-shade that no longer existed.  It was just my tall-assed, white-male self standing there beneath the sun with that soft dark voice talking to me through the security door.  I didn’t even have to knock –

Hello?

“Hey,” I said, as I was held-up my ID tag.  “I’m with the health department….”

What do you want?

“I work at the clinic and I’m looking for So-and-so….”

I know who you are, he interrupted, put that thing down.

“Oh…ok….  Well, I need to talk with So-and-so.  Is she here?”

I said you need to put that thing down…really…you need to leave, man.

“Ok…it’s really important that I talk with her….”

I know that, man, but you need to leave…please.

Yes, he really said “please.”  He was articulate and warm and kind and sounded like he didn’t belong there, either.

I almost whispered, “Alright, can I leave a card for her?” as I was pulling-out a card and envelope and pen and turning sideways to look back and around and into the neighborhood.

No, man, you have to leave, and don’t be turning around like that.

His voice was urgent, yet gentle…like it was coming from someone who was almost my friend…someone who, if he was in a different place, would be my friend, big brother, or mentor.  It felt like he was trying to protect me…to urge me away and back into some kind of safety where I belonged.

I tried to hand him my business card, not the one that I would have had to stand there longer to write on, but just my card.

Put that down, man.  Don’t try to give me anything.  Just go.  I’ll tell her.  Go on now.

So…I left.  I walked back down the sun-faded and shiny and greasy and dirty staircase and out through the alley and toward my car.  I fought against the urge to turn and look back at the door I had just left, so I occupied my mind and eyes with slowly panning side to side, searching for other people and eyes that might be looking in my direction.  Maybe they were inside other houses or buildings and sitting behind the partially closed mini-blinds that faced the sunward side of the alley and street where I walked…maybe they were in the truck or van that drove down the street and turned away and gone.

What was there?  What was going to happen or might have happened…what did I walk into…or away from on that long desert day in that whatever month where the sun was hot and bright on my face?

you need to leave…please….

****This is a Favorite Re-post from March, 2010

a study of perspective with a gone pier….

The following is yet another set of discoveries along the south shore of The Great Salt Lake…images made on a Saturday afternoon in late February, 2014…..depending on where you stand and where you are looking, you can see the Stansbury Mountains to the southwest, Stansbury Island to the west, Black Rock simply there in its curious prominence, or Antelope Island toward the north and east.  For those interested, the pier pilings are the only remains of the Black Rock Resort.  You can click here to be taken to a Deseret News article about the resorts that have come and gone from the shores of The Great Salt Lake…and, if you’d like, you can click on any photo in the following gallery to be taken to a slide-show that presents the images in a larger format.

 

 

“Her Secret is Patience”

Part of the day was done and there was still more to go…time card punched and waiting again…waiting again and again to punch back in and head up-town…waiting and thinking and knowing how to spend hours, not wanting to kill time and risk injuring eternity, but I was miles from home and miles from anywhere, and waiting to surround myself against my greater will with sounds foreign and people matching, piercing needles and veins on men and men, watching the sun go slowly down against a city-horizon of brick and stone and palms rising from urban desert sands with pigeons bobbing across asphalt driveways, with vagrant men sleeping and waking and running with wringing hands across the greenbelt, teens riding skateboards in the library parking lot, and paint ghosted onto walls random and intentional, messages wrought like iron in the workman artist’s hands.  There was no south shore of a great and salted lake, but the sky and its clouds looked the same and gathered me in and drew me up and lost me in the white and blue similar heaven that was reflected in sky-scraper windows that bend in a lens as airplanes rode through a magical net.

Tamara had done a piece called Net Art and brought a random thought closer to fruition…inspiring night-time images of a familiar place, a bit of string and cable launched into the realm above a city park where black men and brown sat lounging in silver metal chairs with legs crossed and sun-glass-ed eyes open or closed in their tilted heads appearing to see what I saw and being Okay with just seeing it; it was just a thing that was up there, a thing that caught my eye in passing a light-rail platform with curves and lines of its own, riding ground level out and away from that city-center into the beyond.

My camera does’t like the night-time and my processing kit doesn’t straighten buildings, but it…the camera, does allow me to lie in the middle of the grassy park in my work clothes while I point it skyward and imagine that I know what I’m doing, looking through some other lens, some other set of eyes that ride atop words and desire to find and fill and consume and possess, to express, to show, to manifest ideas in a tangible form of ink dots or binary wonders.

You can learn more about this bit of wonderfulness by clicking on these words and flying through space and time to the artist’s web page.  If you’ve got a few minutes, I highly recommend watching the two videos…the second one shows the construction/assembly in a time-lapse format.

 

Morning on Parson’s Trail…in Sycamore Canyon

After walking down into the canyon and then out of the shadows of the high walls, the sun begins to ease onto the trail as a silent, yet very present companion.

After we walk down into the canyon and then out of the shadows of its high walls, the sun begins to ease onto the trail as a silent, yet very present companion.  While she becomes a source of exhaustion in the miles to come, she is welcome in this hour as she reveals the canyon’s treasures and warms our fingertips.

looking back….

…south and west from the south shore of The Great Salt Lake, actually…and there are more than just clouds and mountains in the reflections on the water…memories running in varied scripts and images recalling the day, smelling the salt and saturated gray earth of the increasingly visible lake bed and hearing the cries of gulls on the freezing wind.

I knew where I was going when I left the house that morning, but I can’t remember the time on the clock.  I had been out to Antelope Island three weeks earlier and knew that I had to get to Stansbury Island, as well…it was just down the road, really, closer than Antelope…just head west on I-80…can’t miss it.  From the house it would have been an easy 30-45 minute drive, maybe more….probably…..and five hours and almost 300 photos later, I was heading home again….I saw so many things that were new to me, walked in places that I had previously only seen on a map that was pinned to my cubicle wall at work or existed as ideas of potential things…notions…possibilities….places that filled my senses and soul with experiences that still live in tangible form these 15 months later.

This is one of the last images from that trip…taken at 2:20 on a Saturday afternoon in late February, 2014.

Snow-capped Stansbury Mountains in the distance

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