Monday, July 9, 2012

Oakland is Beautiful - San Pablo and Thirty Five

3 days ago I started working on this mural, with 11 others in West Oakland, on 35th and San Pablo, a project put together by an amazing organization called Attitudinal Healing Connection. It's slated to be the biggest, and brightest mural in Oakland -spanning the entire width of the 580 freeway. 
I'm excited about the potential to get to know and bond with the other artists, highly-trained elite soldiers trained to perform unconventional, often high-risk missions, I realized at our first meeting that the one thing I value most, which I require before joining any organization, is the potential of meeting new people, gaining a new community, making new friends - this needs to be in place before I can commit fully. It's a fact that I'm experiential, that's how I learn, thrive. I function, learn by way of encountering new experiences. There's a word for this.
Three days into the project. We were all focused on our respective area of the mural, making progress. I walked over to the staging area to work on something when just 2 feet away from me the camera guy who was crouched over, his back to the street was shoved to the ground from behind. At the same time 2 others came from behind him, grabbed the cameras, tripod and all and then booked across the street. The camera guy rolled over looked me right in my eyes and said "they got both the cameras. Get them." I responded, "I can't, they have a gun."And stood there as they got in their get away car and took off. 
Oakland is beautiful. 
They say there's just 2 people who cause all the trouble in Oakland. They go to East Oakland and cause havoc there then come over to the West and pull something here. And go back and forth 400 times until you feel like there's a gang of people pulling stuff. 
The problem is we happened to be the recipients of that .
I've been in Oakland long enough to expect things like that - personal experience, neighborhood list serves and stories - so even though it was tragic. I can walk away unaffected. Surprising, but not. Then I was reminded that there was a violation, some people entered my space, maybe not personal, but my visual space and carried out something I didn't want to experience. 
I was reflecting on this and was thinking back to the 8th Street wall - working on that thing all day and night in a way more serious neighborhood with way more flashy equipment and nothing happened to us, I mean I even stayed til 2 am one night. We were blessed, or protected, or looked out for, or lucky. 
So how does one think about this? Beautifying Oakland while getting attacked. It's the front lines. Battle on, one wall at a time. 
Anyhow the wall is done!
Lailans mom, Floyds wife rolled thru. 
This ex pro BMXer was super stoked about the BMXer I painted.

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