Sunday, April 5, 2009

It's All Crap

This painting has a great back story. My friend Lucy gifted me several large canvases before she left Seattle in 2001. I created my 'It's All Crap' painting on this massive 3 by 8 foot mural sized canvas. It depicts the traffic congestion Seattle began to deal with in 2000 after initiative I-695 passed. Check out the story on this initiative. It basically killed all funding for public transportation and development of bike friendly roads and paths in the Washington state. It increased the automobile congestion incredibly and to this day the roads have become exponentially more clogged.

The viewpoint of this painting is looking west towards the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, Downtown Seattle, Queen Anne Hill, Fremont and Seattle Center from just above the center of the ship canal bridge on I-5.

There was an incident that gathered national attention that year when a young woman leapt of the bridge on I-5 that spans the ship canal in Seattle. This incident blocked traffic for hours as she threatened to jump over the railing. People tired of waiting for her to decide whether or not to take the plunge began chanting for her to jump just to get it over with so traffic could resume. There was also a school bus shooting and of course the ever growing mass of crap that began taking over the city once known for a strong anti-consumerist attitude.

This painting was shown at the Peoples Pub, Habitude Hair Salon, Aurifice Internet Cafe, The Ballard Firehouse music venue and the Black Lab Gallery over the course of a year. I moved my studio to Capitol Hill from Ballard in 2002. I had to move my oversized paintings strapped with duct tape on the roof of my Honda Accord in the rain. I leaned the large paintings against the wall at the doorway of my new studio building as I looked for a place to park. Upon returning 4 of the pieces were missing. This was before I knew about Craigslist so I used the Stranger personals to put out a notice about the missing art. No replys so I just accepted the loss.

In 2008 I got a call from my good friend Sage in Seattle. I had moved to NYC at this point. Sage had just moved into a group house south of Captitol Hill and was excited to let me know there were two of my paintings displayed in the living room. I was both delighted and somewhat disturbed by this news. My main concern was not to spook the tenant of the house who 'found' the art and have him run off suddenly taking the paintings with him.

I advised Sage to use his words carefully when approaching the room-mate in question. I suggested not being accusitory and simple let the guy explain how he acquired the art while informing him that I wanted to get the paintings back. I was willing to pay the full cost of shipping and even offered a more than reasonable price should he want to keep them.

Sage's room-mate flipped out unfortunately. Guess he had some unresolved guilt issues. Too bad because I didn't want to accuse anyone of theft. I accepted his story of how he assumed the art abandoned and figured he was rescuing them from a fate at the city dump. This is an explanation I can live with but the fact remains, however they were acquired they were still my paintiings and had not been paid for and were not gifted so I wanted them back.

Trouble brewed in the household and things were tense for several weeks as this guy and Sage were at odds because of the misunderstanding about the art situation. Sage ended up staying in the house and the other guy left. The paintings also stayed. When I visited Sage in Seattle this March I got to take some great photos. The paintings are way too big to have returned to NYC, at least on this last trip. I'll figure out a way to freight them back east eventually. For the time being they are in safe hands and have a good home.

Sage is an amazing human being and a great friend. He is an extremely performer, comedian, puppeteer, magician, clown, stiltwalker, drummer and all around cool dude. You can see his stuff at and

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