Homeless Furniture in West Oakland

You’ve seen them, the derelict couches on the side of the road. We get plenty of them here in West Oakland.  One of the options when circumstances keep you from getting “on the road” is to see Home as a visitor might.  So Oola and I have been wandering around taking pictures of the abandoned furniture waiting to be picked up by the City.  After a while, the couches seemed to have their own personalities;  they become members of the homeless community of an area.

I wanted to make a book of the homeless furniture, a book that would express those personalities, but it wasn’t working.  Until one day I combined some of my figure drawings in a (nearly) life-size scale with the photographs, and something clicked “ON”.  The “ghosts” in the furniture jumped to life — on the page as well as in my head.  Since the images are about 80″ tall I thought they are too big for a traditional bound book — until I thought about books very ancient and almost as old as the midden.  I thought of scrolls on aged and yellowed paper.

These pages are digitally printed on asuka, a natural warm white Japanese paper that I got from Hiromi Paper on a road trip many months ago.

Here are a couple of the images from my newest artist book called Homeless Furniture.




In Exempt is was happily surprised to discover references to cave painting and drawing, probably because I have been fascinated by a wonderful interactive website site about the Lascaux caves recently.

If you want to see more images (and larger) of my newest, click onto http://www.jandove.com/pages/homelessfurniture.html.

Return home to California

I tried to make it through Arizona spending as little of my $$ as possible in protest of the state’s new anti immigrant law.  It seems like it will hurt more US citizens than curb immigration. My experience is that repression just doesn’t work.  It will always backfire in the end.

Then I tippie-footed my way across the burning roads of the California desert, hoping that my tires wouldn’t melt.

What I was really looking forward to was my visit to Hiromi Paper in Santa Monica to buy Japanese paper for digital printing. I’ve always been a greedhead for fine handmade paper, and at Hiromi’s I was in heaven. So much so that I forgot to take a picture for you. It’s a compact store filled with wonderfulness with which to fill your eyes.

Anyway I ran up a largish bill for paper and bookbinder’s cloth for a new artist book in progress (one that uses the quartet of images that poured out after the Blue Mountain Center residency).

As if that weren’t enough I discovered that Hiromi Paper is located in an arts center called Bergamot Station, a complex of galleries, studios, and art related stores.

In a gallery called Latin American Masters I saw some Rufino Tamayo graphic images that grabbed the back of my neck and shook me like a puppy. They are figurative works that look like their original home was Chaco Canyon.  Highly textured, limited palette, abstracted human forms — definitely worth experiencing if you are anywhere in the area.

In the same gallery, some contemporary artists among whom I discovered

Deer People
"Deer People" by Jose Bedia, Acrylic on Canvas, 72" x 100"

Definitely worth a visit.

bronze sculpture
"Jug. Pressing & squeezing" by Andrew Lord, 1994, 29 x 25 x 19", Courtesy of the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

In the Santa Monica: Museum: of Art (also in Bergamot Station) there is a show of Andrew Lord titled “between my hands to water falling, select works from 1990 to 2010”.  Lord has used parts of his body to “transfer sensation into physical form” using clay mostly.  I was attracted to the work that revealed the physical effect of the hand on the material.  His use of glazes and gold leafing obscured that for me.  But in a bronze piece called “Jug Pressing & squeezing” I was suddenly and forcefully reminded of the handprints in mud of humans who made their homes in the cave shelters of Walnut Canyon, in  Arizona, hundreds of years ago.  This sculpture was moving and real.

If you plan on visiting Bergamot Station, allow a lot of time.  I had to move on.

Next stop: Morro Bay to pick up a mandolin for Mr. Rioso.

Things I like about Morro Bay:

Coalesce Bookstore, 845 Main Street, (805) 772 2880.  New and used books and a beautiful wedding chapel/garden.  I can always find good used art books there.  If you are in the area, see if Linna has any performances scheduled.  For example: PEPPINO D’AGOSTINO will be there August 20

Montana de Oro State Park

Morro Bay State Park

Walking on the beach at Morro Bay.  Watching life as it insists on persisting as it has for thousands of years.

Morro bay surf
Morro Bay

Still, it is time to go home.  Heading north and watching the speedometer.