painting with an audience

the process... with a few steps missing

the process... with a few steps missing

the one cool thing i ever found on social event listing, going.com, was called “spray.”

it didn’t say much besides “live art,” “artists, bring your paints, canvases provided,” and “there will be music.”

the night before i packed up a little tupperware box of spray paints, a small pale full of acrylic, and printed out 3 possible reference photos i had in an “idea box” sitting on my desktop for months. when i woke up the next morning after a night out with cambridge friends, i headed down to the the store where it was taking place… butterflies in the stomach. no idea what i was walking into.

the spot was a hiphop fashion boutique called Re-up, hidden around the corner from Super 88 in allston.

inside a DJ was spinning records, and a bunch of kids were huddled around two long tables covered with plastic tablecloths. a few people looked up to notice my arrival. others had their faces buried deeply in their pieces, heads bobbing with the music. brows furrowed. at work.

the kid running the show, Mayan, who i later found out was a member of a long standing boston bboy crew the Floor Lords, greeted me with dap, a pat on the back, a smile, and two small canvases. yeah, pretty small. i noted some other people had larger. maybe i wasn’t wearing the proper gear to be given a large canvas:) he handed me a can of budweiser too. apparently he’d hustled and gotten bud and scion to sponsor the even. got good hustle.

went to an open spot at the table, put down my crap, and looked at my two little canvases… arranging them differently with my source images just above. stepped back… that’s good. bounced to the music for a sec, happy with myself, and then clapped. more kids looked up this time. “sorry,” i apologized smiling.

the first layer was just acrylic. a landscape and horizon of sorts with some flowers at the bottom. the kid next to me wasn’t really into the pink.

next step. i cut out a shape from some scrap paper that i pulled from their trash and traced it 9 times. it took a while with the exacto to cut them all out, occasionally sipping another beer. started talking to the kid next to me. he was gluing old ammunition shells to his canvas.

packed up my stuff and went out front. since i’d come in, some artists had congregated outside, mostly stenciling. friendly. they had to work outside because of the smell, as well as to keep the store clean. but additionally there was somewhat of a social disconnect as well. a few of the guys inside were talking shit about how stenciling wasn’t really art. everyone seemed to know each other though… there wasn’t really any bad blood.

i tacked down the white, paper shapes to my two canvases and did a quick spritz of black over each one. a little two much… i lost most of the piece’s color in the process. it changed my perspective on the peice. i taped off everything but a few strips of the canvas and sprayed on the thick black lines. i pulled off all the tape and strips of supermarket periodicals to see what i’d done. kinda cool.

after a quick bite at super 88 – i think indonesian food – i started painting the little girl from a source photo i’d found on flickr of a girl with amazing afro and braids. unfortunately i lost the URL, otherwise i’d love to credit and inform the photographer and girl. the painted figure emerged really quickly. i was pleased. after 5 hours i had a piece i was proud of. i hadn’t gone from start to finish on a piece like this in a long time. it was great to have a challenge, some limitations, be surrounded by local artists, and see what the scene is like outside of my garage…

i took some time to walk around to see some really cool pieces as well as meet some nice guys. people were more social. maybe they had been nervous about their pieces earlier. or perhaps the beer had kicked in.

before leaving i exchanged emails with a few of kids and did a quick interview with someone who was covering the event, probably for a school project or a local channel. i thanked Mayan and his boys for putting it all together… not your typical Boston event. officially recommending these guys and anything they produce.

good stuff. good connections. and a great foundation to an all around amazing day. later, walking through cambridge to meet with my old friend jamie, who was in town, i dropped in randomly on an ethiopian new year’s party i heard from the street. apparently their calendar is drastically different. 7 years behind. interesting. also was intrigued by the dance moves – sharp shoulder movements… but another story for another time.

thanks for lookin:)

1 comment

i love this!… i think it’s my fav of the stuff i’ve seen so far on your website~


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