Thursday, October 18, 2007

It Takes A Village

I have found lately that the best subject matter for my art is people. Specifically, though, I am happy to find that I am most inspired by the scenes on the street that borders my neighborhood. I live near downtown and drive on 10th St. nearly every day. The things I see in my neighborhood affect me in several ways. This area would often pass for the inner city. However, in Indianapolis (and other cities I'm sure) there are strange places where it seems that the city collides with the suburbs. This is certainly one of those places.

The house in which I live and most of the homes in my neighborhood are well maintained and appear to be very inviting. There always seems to be plenty of family and community activity. This is a little bit new to me having spent many periods of my life in apartments. What is a little more familiar to me is what is see on the streets that border the neighborhood: people everywhere, walking to the store, waiting for the bus, sitting on their stoops or in front of a dilapidated storefront, etc. Yesterday I saw this guy:

I relish these moments. This guy was pacing in front of one of the aforementioned storefronts, wearing only a pair of unflattering sweatpants (a little underdressed for October) and playing a recorder. Yes, the instrument used to introduce children in thousands of elementary school music classes to the frustrations of learning to play Mary Had A Little Lamb, is this dude's instrument of choice. Naturally, the resulting sounds were horrid; reinforcing my theory that a recorder is used as a 'worst case scenario' teaching tool: if you can bear to listen to a song played through this big pipe, your experience with music will inevitably get better.

Several posts ago, I posted a photo of baby Isaac Pitman in front of a yellow illustration I did called "Indianapolis Street." That piece was also inspired by what I have seen around my neighborhood. I grew up in apartments, many of which were in low-income areas. When you live in this environment, lots of things are communal. Everyone uses the same porches, hallways, street corners and open spaces. Also, the community is more intertwined for this reason. It was not uncommon for me to come home and find that my friends were waiting for me or that a group of friendly strangers was using my furniture. Lately, I recall that way of life often as I drive home or walk to the convenience or liquor stores. Looking back, I am much more perceptive of the way others interact with art; like this guy with the recorder. This is him in the act of creating...

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