Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oakland Mural on Telegraph and 28th

My first mural, actually not my first mural but my first all aerosol and the first I've worked on in Oakland.

Here's the quick version of how I got hooked up with these guys. I got a speeding ticket on my birthday last year and an expired drivers license citation (bc I completely didnt think of the fact that the license expires on your birthday) so I had a date with the judge. He gave me the option of paying the exorbitant fine or opting for community service. I of course took the community service option, I thought of it as an opportunity to check out a part of Oakland I would never otherwise. They gave me a whole list of possibilities, I naturally chose MOCHA (which is a misnomer bc its actually an art center and not a museum) given that I liked art and working with kids. So while working on the project hanging some kids paintings on college ave I met this dude Sam, an intern at MOCHA, he was all late and tired, an iffy first impression. Anyhow over the course of my stint we got pretty cool and then one drunken night he put me in his crew (this apparently isn't the first time hes done this). And I later found out that he touted me as the secret weapon, I don't write, so he had to talk up my drawing ability. Anyhow we started having these crew meetings and other members were showing up initially but after a certain point I was the only one there besides Desi. Now Desi, the guy heading the meetings is also the founder of Community Rejuvenation Project, an non profit organization that works to beautify Oakland through murals (I mean that's what I think the is vision..I'm still not completely sure. I know it sounds good when he so passionately talks about it). So the CRP is one aspect of the then yet to open Oakland Green Youth Arts and Media Center, the building where we'd meet. At some point in the not so distant past the CRP team was tasked with doing the signage and painting the outside of the building in time for the grand opening. Since I was the only one showing up it was defaulted to the two of us to design and start the mural until the calvary would show.

Here are some in progress flicks:

Tase painting the signage:

This is one of the major portraits I did, the one on the left:

This is the other one:

I guess we worked on it for 8 days. I use spray all the time in my paintings but I've never really rendered a full character until this mural. I was literally learning the technique as I went, there's no better way to pick this stuff up.

Here's a time lapse flick put together by Abakus but the footage was all Deb:


Monday, January 18, 2010

White Elephant

I did this real quick for a white elephant exchange this past Christmas - the theme was: manger. It's all watercolor except I used some spray for the background. Unique for 2 reasons its watercolor and its small.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Mysterious Car

So we're walking down geary st in sf and we see this car parked along the curb. we first notice that the entire front of the car is caked in mud but think nothing really of it. then we get to past it and see that the back window is completely shattered out. So we were going to call the cops but then we look closer and both license plates are missing and we find that right front wheel is completely shoved in, meaning the car was dropped off there and wasnt driven there. inside you could see that the car seats were completely soaked, plus there was definitely moisture all over the entire ground underneath and flowing from the car. its still a mystery but we basically surmised that the car was partially or completely submerged at some point and possibly the back window was bashed in to pull out the occupants during some rescue attempt and then for some reason it was towed and dropped off here. could it have something to do with the mob? we opened the door and popped the trunk just in case there was a body back there, we found nothing but shampoo.


So I have these neighbors that live behind me, my second story window and patio looks directly down into their back patio.Anyhow so there's a family that lives there but its also home to the son a younger guy, Chinese or Vietnamese I still havent figured out yet its really hard to tell for some reason, in his low 20s. He and his homeboys have made it their headquarters, their kick it spot, so I see and hear them all time smoking or drinking out back. But these guys are ghetto style, straight Oakland Asians. I've been wanting to connect with them for a long time but I havent really found the opening. I did once go up to them to invite them to the movie night but that was it and I do say whats up to them from up top but I dont want to intrude on their partying so I usually dont. The thing is the only time I really see them is when they are out back toking up, so thats the best place to strike up a convo. So today I go out back to grab something from my patio and I see the dudes and they were weighing out their twamp sacks, I didnt really notice what they were up to initially so I said whats up, and they replied but they kept looking at me uncomfortably thats when I realized what they were doing. I dont care, I not going to call the cops. So I get home tonight and I look out to see that they put up a sheet to hide their business, I found it funny after all this time they finally think to put something up. 3 years I've been here and now the opportunity is lost, not really but the most obvious way is. I'll just have to be more intentional now.

reinforced with tarp

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First Murder in Oakland 2010

(01-11) 18:36 PST Oakland -- Alvaro Ayala handed over his cell phone and his wallet to armed robbers in the driveway of his East Oakland home Sunday night. But Ayala's wallet was empty, and the two masked gunmen wanted more, family members said.

With his wife and two children standing behind him - the family had just returned home from shopping at Ross Dress for Less - Ayala made a split-second decision that apparently cost him his life.

He stepped between the gunmen and his family. The gunmen responded by fatally shooting him, said Esmerelda Acevedo, Ayala's sister-in-law.

"They knew he didn't have money," she said, speaking at Ayala's home Monday. "He put himself in front of his family, so they shot him."

Ayala, 28, died in his driveway in the arms of his older brother Eduardo Ayala, who rushed to the front of the yellow stucco home after the shooting, summoned by Ayala's 10-year-old son.

Monday morning, family and friends filled the small one-story house on the 900 block of 70th Avenue. The house, located two blocks east of the Oakland Coliseum BART parking lot, was still decorated with Christmas lights, reindeer and a Santa Claus on the roof. But inside and out, the sobs of family members could be seen and heard.

Ayala, an immigrant from Michoacan, Mexico, had one sister and was the fourth of six brothers, all of whom live in the neighborhood. All the brothers work in the construction industry, with Ayala working primarily on lead and asbestos removal.

Candles forming the shape of a crucifix burned on the driveway on the spot where Ayala died. Inside, Ayala's distraught wife and two children were being comforted by relatives.

The family was unable to see the faces of Ayala's masked killers or even provide authorities with the color of their skin. On Monday, they were too upset to talk to reporters.

Their relatives relayed details of the attack.

Shortly before 7 p.m., Alvaro Ayala returned home with his wife, Carmen Mugia, and two children, a 10-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. After parking their truck in the driveway, Mugia went to close the nearly 6-foot-tall metal driveway gates, which are common to many homes on the block.

But before she did, two masked men with guns barged in, said Acevedo, and the robbery and the killing happened.

We "just want the guilty ones to be found," Acevedo said. "They killed an innocent person. ... We don't want anyone else to be hurt by them."

Alvaro Ayala and his family bought the home roughly five years ago, said one of his brothers, Antonio Juarez Ayala, 31. The family had always viewed the area as safe, he said, noting that police heavily patrol San Leandro Street and International Boulevard, which bracket their neighborhood.

"There are a lot of police," he said.

Before Sunday, they had never experienced a break-in or any other problems, he said.

Ayala's family shares its home with other relatives, including Ayala's mother and his brother Eduardo, who were both home when the shooting happened.

Oakland police issued a statement Monday saying that a "preliminary investigation" revealed that the victim was killed as part of an attempted robbery. But police did not respond to numerous e-mail and phone requests for further comment.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums issued a rare statement on the slaying, Oakland's first homicide of the year: "First, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the wife and children of Alvaro J. Ayala, who witnessed their father and husband tragically murdered by unidentified gunmen last night. I am deeply saddened by this tragic act of violence that leaves a young family torn apart."

Chronicle Article

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Amazing Grace

I saw this guy live, well via satellite..this was the actual feed. This is the best rendition of Amazing Grace. He records and plays back as he plays. Amazing.

Here's another version:
Amazing Grace

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

SF 1905

The first track from Airs' Moon Safari, accompanied by scenes from a video shot from a streetcar traveling down Market Street in San Francisco in 1905. Before the earthquake/fire of 1906 destroyed the area. Trippy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I got up at 9:00 today. I normally hate getting up past 8, it would ruin my day but I've gotten used to it. It's so damned cold, i mean I even had the opportunity to get up at 7:30 when my bladder forced me to run downstairs to empty it but I got right back into the warmth of my bed. Given I did go to bed at 2:30 still I like getting up early if at all possible, but if I go to bed late this usually only happens in theory. I believe I can get along just fine with minimal amounts of sleep. I can't stand the cold it makes me weak and shiver and somewhat lazy too, or more paralyzed than lazy. I can see easily why animals hibernate for the winter.

Anyhow so I had this dream last night and the thing about my dreams is that they reflect pretty much exactly the things that are most heavy on my mind. They are nearly never a mystery.

This was my dream last night, the bits and pieces I can remember:
I just left some kind of lecture. I see an attractive girl walking away I don't think i even see her face, just long straight black hair. All the people who were just in lecture migrate over to some sort of movie theater. On the way over some girl asks me my age, I tell her 30, then I ask why and she says something like because anyone over a certain age I can date, I was eligible, I then leave and walk over to the ticket booth, looks more like an information desk. One of the guys manning the booth recognizes me, I talk to the guy for a second, I dont know about what, then head into the theater. As i walk in I notice the old style swing down theater seats are arranged in circles, in a way so that people can have conversations in small groups. I also notice on the screen there are pics of my art work on the screen running through like ads before a movie. I think I sit next to some guy I knew. Time passes, I don't even remember if we see a film but there is a clear end because everyone is leaving the theater en mass, as we leave there's a preview for a horror flick playing behind us, a few of us plug our ears to block the sound. I later end up at someones apartment, white walls, the guy is a good guy. He's a good person to know, he is somehow loosely connected to the mob as some sort of gun for hire not to carry out any crime, but as protection.

So here's the interpretation, it's all symbolic:
The Lecture = the message I'm going to give this Sunday in front of the congregation
The attractive girl = relationship issues I've been dealing with
Asking of age = relationship thoughts and my recent 30th birthday
Desk guy = I've been networking a lot with people in regards to my artwork
Art on screen = I think a lot about how to share my art with a wider audience
Movie theater = I've seen movies lately
Seating set up in circles = how to promote community is something I'm constantly thinking about
Plugging ears = I don't like horror flicks, I've seen a horrorish scene recently that haunts me
The good guy = networking within the community, not all are completely clean, some are connected on the streets, even I keep acquainted with some writers (graff artists)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Marathon Training

Saturday. 7 miles. 2 laps around the lake. slow. It's just about slowly building endurance. I was supposed to do 8 but I was so bored there were no thoughts to keep me occupied today. strange.

Oakland Crime 2009

We're going to transform this place.
Be agents of change.

107 in 2009. Oakland saw 148 homicides in 2006, 127 in 2007 and 125 in 2008.

Tribune Article:

Oakland crime - down 10% in 2009
A look at change for select categories of crime in 2009 compared with 2008:
Homicide: 14 percent drop*
Assault with a firearm: 25 percent drop
Vehicle Theft: 20 percent drop
Carjacking: 17 percent drop
Armed/strong-armed robbery: 8 percent drop
Residential robbery: 8 percent drop
Domestic violence: 5 percent increase
Residential burglary: 7 percent increase
Rape: 8 percent increase
Overall Serious Crime: 10 percent drop
* Homicide data is based on Tribune reporting through 5 p.m. Dec. 31. All other crime data is based on Police Department figures as of Dec. 22.

Del Kathryn Barton Wins

SYDNEY, AU - Artist Del Kathryn Barton has won the 2008 Archibald Prize for her painting You are what is most beautiful about me, a self portrait with Kell and Arella. The Archibald (portrait painting) prize is now in its 87th year. Kathryn receives a prize of $50,000.

I know she hates it when people compare her stuff to Egon Schiele but it's dope anyways and apparently worth 50,000 Aussie bucks. good on ya mate.