I just received a new job today, the first which I have applied to. I haven't had a legitimate job in almost 3 years, aside from weird freelances and such. Student financial aid has helped to keep me afloat, but I am no longer making all of my rent and bills with room to spare. I am to be a pizza maker at the newly renown pizzeria, Sizzle Pie. I can't say I am stoked to regress in my area of expertise, for my first legit job (at 14) aside from working an apple orchard and a paper boy was working pizzerias, but the owner of the joint seems pretty awesome, as does the whole operation itself. They make the best pizza in town, and have a great popularity with good reason. Maybe I can finally save up to purchase a small vehicle. I recently had to do an assignment for a conceptual art class where I went on a derive, and I just finished writing about it. I am deciding to share it with the blogosphere.
It began quite spontaneously. I’d been drawing anatomical muscle structures for a life drawing class for hours now and I needed a break. I stepped away from my drawing desk and looked out my window. The rain had given up and the grey clouds eerily sat against an evening sun. That moment I decided this is where I will wander for an hour. One hour to roam, to get out of my house, to see and be. I grabbed nothing but a small journal, a jacket, and I head to the door. I swung open the front door, and before I set my feet down on the porch, I receded back into the house and grabbed my skateboard. There is something beautiful about riding around a city with aimlessness. Just as one may hop a train across the US and see the countryside like never before, the same exists with a skateboard. You invite trees with their gargantuan roots which push up the sidewalk like mangled teeth, for trip over it you will not. Instead, you jump over the crooked slabs of concrete and ride the decline on your front two wheels. You can skate full speed in the street, or skate with more observation on the sidewalks. The best is to jump from one to the other with fluid motions. You make of the concrete world what its intention was never meant, an oppressive dimension that says “you walk here, you park here, you don’t trespass here, and you sit here.” Skateboarding subverts and transgresses this.
Riding down Rosa Parks I skated into a small courtyard of a nearby church which I have never gone near before. I pass this slightly metro looking church on the daily, be it on foot, bicycle, or skateboard. I’ve noticed from passing by so many times that the demographic seems largely Latin American and Mexican. At this time on a late Sunday evening, no one is around. I skate around the church, through all of its sections. There one a small little garden I stumbled upon, where a statue of Jesus Christ with a bleeding hole at his ribs and Mary weeping sits nestled in lush greenery. I think to myself, this statue has beauty to it. I care not for its dogmatism, but I am enamored by the decency of the artist’s hand. It seems the work is unsigned, or at least there is no obvious signature. I would love to make a statue like this, but instead of common people, or people who have made some sort of tangible impact within civilization. I’d love to study sculpture, apply my knowledge of anatomy, my observations of contemporary culture, and create a piece like this, but with real substance- not some hollow figment of a failed imagination. Maybe I should even come late at night and switch at the statues! I’d remove the dying Jesus Christ and replace it with a living and youthful African American child making do with this plighted urban suburbia; something that could make you smile. I skate on, past the school’s section of this religious commune, where the sports field and playground rest lonely behind a tightly locked fence. The park feels like a virgin crying to be tainted, and even though I skirt the idea of climbing the fence, I skate to Peninsula Park to see if the roses are almost ready to bloom instead. The sky is beginning to glow with golden hues and I know dusk is falling upon us.
I arrive at the park, and sit down on a bench which overlooks the enormous garden of roses surrounded a monumental fountain. This garden is a completely communal effort, where every fall neighbors in the area clip off the roses and prep them for the winter, and in the spring they again prep them for the explosive season of color and warmth. At first glance it would seem the park is still and silent, but as you pay closer attention there are cacophonies and symphonies going on all at once. I immediately grab my moleskin from my back pocket and hastily write on its pages:
Here I am at Peninsula Park. Roughly 100 feet from me sits a pair of homeless people on a bench, adjacent from my view of the spewing central fountain. They’ve a large shopping cart full of junk shrink-wrapped in filthy plastic grocery bags and they’re hacking up death. At the foot of the fountain stands a young couple, fancily dressed in black and are well-groomed. Chivalrously, the man courts the female upon the concrete pond’s ledge and they close in to one another. As they begin to embrace the female raises her arm and turns a digital camera facing inward and snaps a photo as they pose. She steps down with his diligent hand, they again embrace, and she takes another photo just as they begin to really press themselves against one another. They look and reflect on this photo, kiss, take one another’s hand, and skirt across the courtyard back towards the weeping trees. A small black child is bicycling around them and the bums roll cigarettes from discarded butts while talking aimlessly. They blather, choke and cough, blather, choke, and cough.
I came here to see how the rose bushes are doing. There must be several hundred of them. Their leaves now stand courageously erect from their skinny trunks, and there are numerous red buds protruding from the stems. Beneath the gazebo the couple now chases each other like squirrels in slow motion. Their interaction is quite curious and seems as almost artificial, where the laughs sound rehearsed and their movements are like stumbling toddlers. Along the path of rock and dirt surrounding the park is the black child on his bicycle, humming to himself and intentionally wobbling his handlebars like a mayfly in the wind. A few oak trees down from the gazebo along the dirt path are the bums, now standing at the foot of a gargantuan trunk. The bum standing closer to the path folds his arms and obscures the view of his partner, where, from my vantage point, I can see him squatting behind this human shield, and begins to defecate among the tree’s roots. A passerby stares straight ahead, fully aware of this lewd display, and the standing bum stares off to the road without a wince. Now they are back on the bench, sipping from enormous Super-Size Taco Bell cups, which could be soda, water, or hell, maybe even their own urine. I walk from the bench I was sitting upon, down the long and gradual brick staircase, and into the vast courtyard. It’s a small maze of bricks and roses. I walk to the fountain and stand on its ledge. I lean out with my weight against my skateboard and stare straight into the surging water. The lapping sound of water falling from dancing streams creates a steady meditation, like heavy rain against your roof at night. Staring straight through fountain at me from the other side is the small black child who is sucking on a lollypop and his feet planted firmly on either side of his bicycle. Above him is a grayish blue sky with voluminous clouds on fire. The last few moments of light are casting a rainbow throughout the synthetic geyser, transposed directly over the black child’s gaze towards me. The whiteness of the spraying water with its prism of spectral light surrounds me, and then engulfs me. The couple is still prancing around beneath deciduous and evergreen trees, the female snapping photos of the chasing male. A dog seemingly from nowhere runs off into the grassy park beyond my view and the cloud’s flames within seconds extinguish. I step down on my board and skate back towards my home. Just as I reach the sidewalk, the black child bicycles up to me, looks me in the eye, and says “sup,” and rides off before I even have a chance to respond.