I’ve finished off the car, next will be to tidy up the plane.
I’ve finished off the car, next will be to tidy up the plane.
On my way in to work today, I spied something odd sitting at a bus stop at Country Place and Country Club Road. Driving by it looked like a person covered in cellophane:
I instantly thought of Mark Jenkins and turned around to check it out. Parking was kind of dicey though, Country Club is a two lane street that is kind of a mess in the morning. Props to whoever did this, it certainly was collecting a bunch of stares from the morning commuters that passed by. Upon closer inspection, there was a few things that were a little off…time for an impromptu art critique!
Jekins’ balloon pieces work because their interaction with the surroundings is subtle but integral to the piece as a whole, the piece below is an example:
The bent bus stop becomes the perfect prop for the balloon boy to pull down. The illusion works because the angles and proportions are correct fooling your mind into believing the impossible. I had initially thought that maybe the anonymous artist might have reconstructed the bus stops signage to be incorporated into the message but that’s not the case. Its a simple advertisement for insurance. So what is the message here?
Scrawled in black sharpie are several words:
Fat, Disproportional, Dunce, Thunder Thighs, Empty, Cow
Note, I would have not known this by simply driving by. The text isn’t large enough to discern from the street. The intent may have been to draw the viewer in but without adequate parking most people will go on with their lives.
If you did stop you would notice the figure appears to be female so in that context the words are some sort of play on two possible obvious themes. One, disparaging remarks made unto the sculpture as a reflection of the artist being treated by others or Two, a inward projection out, of how the artist feels about themselves. There is a crumpled bag of Funyuns under its right hand so we might have a clue.
Now to me that presents a bit of a problem. Are you fat and have thunder thighs because you eat junk food all the time? Do you eat junk food because you feel empty causing you to be fat thus fulfilling your our self hate prophecy? Was the Funyuns bag just trash that happened to be there during the installation. As the viewer we don’t know. There’s not enough information. Using big heavy rocks to hold the sculpture in place, breaks up the continuity of the piece as well and distracts from the intended message. The black X across the heart may have any number of meanings but the X on the right thigh only confuses that. Is the whole thing some sort of “Anti Bully Message” that’s all the rage in schools these days? Who knows.
I will say this, I did stop and take a look so in that regard the piece was successful. Despite some presentation and constructions problems it did make me snap a few pictures and write about it so the joke may be on me. Well there may be a few other people who get duped into taking a look at it. As I was leaving, I heard sirens in the distance but couldn’t place the direction. Traveling up Country Club over the Rio Grande bridge, an ambulance passed heading towards the bus stop quickly followed by a fire truck. I guess somebody else saw it but didn’t have the time top stop and check it out before reporting it to the authorities, funny. Score one for guerrilla art!
Full Set of photos here: The Fat Dunce
This past Saturday we headed to the Union Plaza area in downtown El Paso to check out the DWNTWN ARTMRKT:
The market is a chance for local artists to showcase their wares and runs every Saturday on Anthony Street. The first time I went a couple of weeks ago the winds were terrible and made it quite unpleasant. This weekend the wind was gone, the temps were higher so we had a chance to really walk around checking things out. There was a booth setup for free ornament making for the kids so our boys had blast making a little art of their own. Thanks to Katie and her friend for helping our hooligans out with their ornaments!
The city blocks off the street so the vendors can set up booths and have plenty of room for people to walk and browse. There was a nice selection of arts and crafts, from jewelry to paintings as well as a few food vendors.
Union Plaza has gone through a revitalization of sorts with improved sidewalks and parking. There are a lot more restaurants in the area though they didn’t look open at the time we were there. The real highlight of the area is the old industrial buildings that now house may of the clubs and restaurants. They have retained their character and clues to there past can still be found on the faded brick facades.
After walking around a bit and checking out the train station the kids were getting a bit unruly so we headed out to get some lunch. I can see this growing and being real popular in the springtime, hopefully more of the restaurants will make an effort to be open for lunch as more people come. More shots of the buildings in the area can be found here:
This weekend downtown El Paso held the 4th annual Chalk the Block event. The organizers bring together artists, artist teams and other performers for a free event that turns the sidewalks around the plaza and museum into temporary art installations. With the recent removal of the fences around San Jacinto Plaza the downtown park makes for a great place for artists to create chalk and pastel works on the concrete.
We arrived early Saturday morning so many of the artists were still working on their pieces. There was still a bunch of other things to see as we wandered around. Poetic Kinetics was on hand displaying one of their Holding Flame sculptures:
Jack was mesmerized by it but Shaun was a little afraid. The flame visuals created by the burner at the top really can hypnotize you. The heat kicked by the flames keeps you mindful of the danger overhead but the distance keeps you safe. Fiat of El Paso was also using this a showcase event for their just launched 500, with artists creating works around and on the spry little hatch.
There was a large selection of food trucks on hand hawking all sorts of nacho-churro-relleno-on-a-stick concoctions. We opted for a stop at Kipps Cheesesteaks for their awesome hot sandwiches.
I guess no outdoor event is complete without some sort of protests. The Occupy Wallstreet protests that are currently sweeping the globe have even spawned a local group who were standing out in front of the Cortez Building. They had wanted the center of the Plaza but were supplanted by the arts this weekend. Go Arts!
Main street had been turned into an informal gallery space with several booths set up and artists displaying their wares. Local El Paso artists David “Grave” Herrera and Mitsu Overstreet of “Border Youth” were on hand laying down some paint on a Sun Metro bus:
The kids were about done at this point and we had seen everything that was worth checking out. This years event was well organized and looks to be something that will continue and only get better. My full Flickr set can be viewed here: Chalk the Block