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.


  1. Joe, there's an open-source project called Occupy Design that matches the design requests of Occupiers with graphic designers/visual artists. The twitter handle is @OccupyDesign. There is a google doc spreadsheet that lists the requests and responses at
    Finally, here's a good article about the project with some imagery:

  2. Check this one out

  3. Thanks joe, we were indeed enjoying our diversity, come on to Houston for some further efforts. Jay


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