Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October and the surprises it brings.

October is the time of randomness, of social and political upheaval and for this year pleasant surprises. Tempus projects was central in many of the art experiences for this month- snowballing in quality and frequency of events on the Tampa Bay scene like no other venue.
This proves that sustained focus on good programming, no matter how humble the space, can lead to a very interesting situation. I would add also that it is a better policy than spreading energy all over the map. October ushered out Tempus' self generated project "Return to Sender" - a mail art exchange that included artists from around the nation of varying professional status. The project also included the publication of a catalog which is available from Tempus.
Visit the Tempus web site at-
The exhibition "I Can't go On I Must go On" was the October surprise, although i should have assumed it would be interesting based on the personalities involved. Local artist via Chicago Noelle Mason is the regional liaison for this group show including the work of Benjamin Bellas, Justin Cooper, Stuart Keeler, Clinton King, Noelle Mason ,and Magdalen Wong . Under the umbrella of IE this group of artists is a pleasure to view because of the obvious dialogue that exists in their presentation. Small scale interventions coexist with larger formal pieces made with the conceptual weight as ballast located in the methodology of how the works are produced (especially in Noelle Mason's work where the title cards/brochures inform us that the works were created in terms of what it would cost an immigrant to illegally pay their way into the United States as a unit of worth- and you can probably make a good wager on who actually did the physical labor in the production of these works)
Tempus projects during the soft opening of "I Can't Go On I Must Go On"

On October 15th i went downtown to take in the Occupy Tampa events and look at some protest signs. The germination of ideas about utilizing an exhibition format within the Occupy activities has already begun ( actually even before the Occupy Wall Street movement began there have been plans in the works built around Tampa's hosting of the 2012 RNC). I will let the images speak for themselves.

Another interesting development in October was a mural being created by artist Allen Hampton in Cuscaden Park very near my studio. I watched the progress for a week or two on a wall facing Republic De Cuba on the corner of 21st Avenue just North of Ybor City. This mural celebrates some VM Ybor neighborhood folks. Portrayed are Lincoln Tomayo and two students from Academy Prep.

Photos by Allen Leper Hampton

On October 19th I met with Jade Dellinger, Jack Massing and Jay Wehnert to discuss their upcoming project in Houston with Johnny Meah ( a mutual friend to myself and all present not to mention a collaborator/friend of my partner photographer Kym O'Donnell).
So far on this blog i have not written a sentence in which the references/activities of the personnel mentioned would be greater and more diverse. To that add that we were joined by Kym O'Donnell herself, Devon Brady, Tracy Reller, Lux Devoid and Becky Flanders. And after 8 drafts of Octoberfest i ceased to be part of the mix ( at least in the cognitive sense ).
We met at The Independent on Florida Ave. in Tampa with the plan to walk to Tempus Projects (which is a block or so to the north of The Independent) and discuss plans for a project to be mentioned later.

From left to right Joe Griffith, Tracy Reller, Jay Wehnert(in background), Jack Massing(foreground) and Jade Dellinger. (Photo taken by Devon Brady)

Tracy Reller ,is the director of the before mentioned Tempus, Tampa, Fl., Jay Wehnert is the Director of Intuitive Eye, Houston TX, -,Jack Massing is one half of The Art Guys, Houston TX, and Jade Dellinger is an independent curator and author (just google his name)
The night was filled with conversation about Johnny Meah(sideshow banner painter, artist, swordswallower, human blockhead and master storyteller) who is the subject of a new exhibition at The Art Guys World Headquarters in Houston. For more info on the fantastic Johnny Meah-

Johnny Meah was also involved in a collaboration with local photographer Kym O'Donnell called Carnytown- which furthers the tangle of interconnectedness in this evening. Further subjects of conversation included teaching, Tiny Tim, The Orange Show, Andy Kaufman, the graves of blues musicians and the cruelty to marine mammals in theme park environments.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Blue Bird Book Bus paint job (almost there).

The Blue Bird Books bus in its almost complete painted finish (still some minor touch up to do). You can view the Blue Bird Books blog at
and i suggest you do!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Long Island City reprise

Some months ago I blogged about my trip to Long Island City for work. Here i will show the complete project that i assisted artist Keith Edmier to create. This work of public art was fabricated at the studio of Matthew Barney. Because of Keith Edmier's long standing friendship and work relationship with Matthew Barney he was given access to the dockside part of the studio which was required because of the scale of Edmier's work.

The entire process started with a lifeboat from a great lakes freighter. The first job i had was to strip the lifeboat of all seating, hardware and anything else that would interfere visually with Keith's new sculpture.
Next was the long process of stripping away as much of safety orange lead based paint as we could on the interior and exterior of the shell.
Here is an image of all the hardware and rotted wood stripped from the boat. Including some very cool metal floatation seats (stacked in the background) and a bunch of nifty hardware.
All holes in the bottom of the structure were then patched and the wood structure shored up with new pieces.
The floor planks were then replaced and the new finish began. The entire inner surface was to be coated with taconite. Taconite is a low grade iron ore that resembles large rust colored marbles. The work that Keith Edmier had conceived of is a meditation on the Edmund Fitzgerald disaster in the Great Lakes crossed with Viking ship burials. The Edmund Fitzgerald was carrying a cargo of taconite when it went down in Lake Superior in 1975. The final destination for the work was to be Pilan, Sweden where Keith had researched many aspects of Viking burial ritual and metal forging techniques.
Gravity was our friend during this process so the shell was rocked from side to side with a fork lift while we worked on the coating process.

Below is Andy who is an expert rigging man among other numerous talents. We worked together for about 8 days or so. Andy is very involved in Dietl International which is the most professional and well established art shipping company in the world. Suffice to say that Andy is used to problem solving on a grand scale.
The taconite creates a strange and beautiful surface with varied surface color.
One of the final parts of the sculpture was a stripped down anchor which was to be placed in the shell resting on the newly shored up platform.
Below are images of the final install in Sweden including the burial aspect and mound that is part of the work. The work titled "You gotta go out, you don't have to come back," is meant to change over time in its environment- grass will grow over the mounds, the anchor and shell will oxidize and finally the entire sculpture will be covered with a man made lake.

Here are a few links with more info on this great work of art.