the eyes have it – bookplate #1…

Eyes Mural
the eyes have it – bookplate #1

…i loved this old fremont mural. only half of it still stands, thus the fact that it only reads, “frem.” it’s a perfect example of the decay or distressed look. it’s older, faded, and peeling in places. it exists in very rough shape, but it’s in that roughness and subject matter that i find it’s beauty.

the woman on the mural struck me as the type of woman that you might find depicted on an old lobby card for the bride of frankenstein or similar old horror movie. her eyes seem to show a little fear and/or desperation to me, as if she were tied to a train track or a monster was approaching.

it was fun to shoot her emotive eyes from different spots and varied angles. i chose this photo, even though the car was there, because it seemed to highlight the eyes the best.

there are a lot of murals in that area…stewart and fremont…and in my opinion, this is one of the best. there are a lot of older fixed up landmark hotels, like the el cortez and a lot of old boarded up dumps that the city allows to be covered in murals, graffiti, tags, posters, and stickers.

welcome to fabulous las vegas, nevada – the cover…

Barber Shop Graffitti
welcome to fabulous las vegas, nevada – the cover

i remember the day very well. it was march 31, 2017. i had a lot on my mind, as i thought about all of the things that had taken place in the span of 365 days. i was thinking about where i had been on that day in 2016.

it started out as a good morning (the name of my post for that day). it was snowing big, floppy, wet flakes. tried to go for a walk, but was so out of breath and out of shape that i didn’t make it very far. i was a disappointment.

i drove around looking for the perfect place to stop and get out and walk…like i couldn’t do the year previously. i thought about the gift i had been given in the form of a diet and exercise program…and i was grateful.

i was grateful for the opportunity to have shared time with such a remarkable individual, who motivated me to want better for myself. i was driving down the strip looking and reminiscing to myself.

it was the day before that day, 366 days previously, that she took me driving through downtown gillette, wyoming. she pointed out the sights to me while i chose what to shoot. we passed the art’s center and there i saw graffiti.

she parked the car and i waddled around, stopping here and there to catch my breath. i tried my hardest to not call attention to myself, as to not be pitied or loathed. i shot the wonderful graffiti for several minutes.

then, i discovered a beautiful, majestic, strong octopus painted on the side of a dumpster. she later became the inspiration for molly the octopus. it was the bedtime story that i made up later that evening.

as i drove along the strip searching for graffiti to catch my eye, i decided to turn down a side street. as i turned, i caught my first glimpse of the vivid and intense piece. there it was grand and glorious…gleaming in the sun.

a barbershop and it’s larger and louder than life street art mural. “welcome to fabulous las vegas, nevada,” the words spoke volumes and left me absolutely no other choice for a cover. i didn’t even know what i would use, until i saw it.

very apropos.

 

life is beautiful 2 – bookplate #64 and life is beautiful – bookplate #11…

Life Is Beautiful 2 Mural
life is beautiful 2 – bookplate #64
Life Is Beautiful Mural
life is beautiful – bookplate #11

the desert is a harsh and hostile environment filled with hard, sharp edges and pointy, piercing spikes.

it will harden you, if you let it. it will fry your skin to a thick, brown leather. it will age you quickly and brutally.

the desert will take everything that you have…your money, time, energy, kindness, compassion, and humanity.

it will leave you wondering and bewildered…searching…yearning…antsy…thirsting…uninspired and so alone.

the desert, this desert is the land of illusion, delusion, hallucination, smoke-in-mirrors, and mirage.

it leaves one always wondering…”was that real or was that a figment of my imagination?”

occassionally, the desert surprises you. she serves up some grand gesture, as if to make-up for being so hateful.

this mural was my breathtaking surprise one day. so, large and looming, but also fragile and delicate. beautiful!

as i was going through the photos to put into my book, i couldn’t decide between the two shots, so i included both.

i noticed that i had become really attached to this particular mural. it took me a long while, before it hit me.

there are three things in particular that make this piece special to me. it’s my favorite of all of my street art photos.

i am drawn to the colors and design. it’s kind of muted and washed-out. the placement on the hotel is interesting.

it’s right by a sign for prime rib…ironic. the hotel’s name is el cortez, which elicits good memories of san diego.

finally, the subject matter is so sweet, innocent, kind, and gentle. it’s juxtaposition with everything around is jarring, but it works well.

i guess there was one last thing. when i look at this piece, i see myself. i recognize myself as the robot or possibly my brain’s animatronic librarian. i feel the metallic posturing…the scanning for information gaze…and the lovable goofy, innocence that exists.

there is a bond between girl and robot. to me, it seems like the robot’s only concern is keeping a watch over the sleeping girl. the girl looks like she has been through a lot and just needs a safe place to rest. the robot is up to the task, with eyes wide open.

it’s an unlikely combination, but it works! and so, the robot watches over the girl with the beautiful, brown hair and there they are…for all the world to see…a gift from the vengeful desert.

 

the fruits of my labor (life is beautiful 2 – bookplate #64 and life is beautiful – bookplate #11)…

 

life is beautiful 2 – bookplate #64 and life is beautiful – bookplate #11

in 2009, s***h and i worked on phoenix, clark college’s award winning art and literary magazine. that year our volume was awarded best college art/literary magazine in the nation in the american scholastic press association’s competition. we were both members of the art selection committee. she was the design editor…responsible for the overall look, feel, and design of our volume. i was the web editor…responsible for the web site and internet presence.

we both had photographs chosen by the committee to be in the magazine. it was quite an honor and a distinguished feeling to not only be working on such a huge, important project, but also be contributing to it. the committee chose four of s***h’s photographs, including one of me receiving my very first solumedrol infusion and they chose two of mine, one of which was a photo of my mother’s hand writing her grocery list with her yellow, mechanical pencil.

for about six months, some of the staff spent countless hours and days, pouring their thoughts and ideas into what became a very successful, highly-praised, art and literary magazine. our core was probably five or six of out thirteen or fifteen and our advisor/teacher sponsor. we had diverse personalities and opinions, but somehow there was always thoughtful and considerate discussion, and a vote settled it at the end. there was no pouting or sour grapes, just people who wanted the fruits of their labor to shine.

here i am nearly eight years later, having completed a book of my own. it was fun for me to pick and choose my own photos, figure placement, what looked good next to what. i realized that i leaned on s***h. she helped me with artistic decisions. she had a different perspective and opinion than mine. she saw the world in a completely different way. i didn’t always value that and i spent a lot of time arguing about design and style, but it made me have a better eye, a larger lens, more patience, and the ability to adapt.

so, here i am sharing the fruits of my labor. this book is the result of three photographic expeditions to the 18b art’s district, downtown las vegas, the strip, the fremont experience, and container park areas. this book contains no words, only photos…i decided to let them “speak” for themselves…giving them their own “voice,” for you the viewer to interpret. this book contains nothing but photos of street art, murals, graffiti, stencils, tags, banners, posters, and stickers. they speak volumes…layer x layer…of color.

i will be breaking the book down into bookplates. i will write about each one. i was going to write about the photos that are at the top of my post, but i will begin with them tomorrow. i got a little bit distracted and off course. those are special and important photos to me, and i want to take my time and choose my words carefully. anyway, this will be a fun way for me to remember my feelings, thoughts and reactions to each piece of art that i photographed. until tomorrow then..,.