May 13, 2017 – Tucson Rail-yard

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I have published various iterations of this image. I took a lot of pictures that day, my feet crunching through the stones alone the railroad tracks. In this particular section in downtown Tucson, the rail-line runs behind warehouses and various artist spaces. I remember going out back during a show I was performing in at a place called, at the time, The Space. It was a fashion and music showcase, and I was wearing these amazing custom-made pantaloons and a painted-on curly mustache for a little performance piece.

Booze was flowing, and we were able to override the city ordinance by accepting donations, rather than accepting cash, for liquor. Art was on the walls and the music was loud, and I was half-clothed, wandering around without my glasses, pretty-well out of my mind. Halogen track lights on red brick and a clutch of people dancing and laughing. We’d congregate on the back stoop, a small group of us, on a rickety wooden platform with three precarious steps down to the graveled ground, just ten feet from the rail line. I remember hunkering down, red wine in a plastic cup, smoking a cigarette, as the train whooshed by, drowning-out our conversation.

Ten years later, I realize that these are the stories I’ll be telling to younger people. You know, “when I was in college” or “when I was your age” type of stories. Speaking about when times were more innocent, when the rules were more relaxed, when we got away with murder and still can’t believe it. I think this happens with every generation. I’m glad I was wild and reckless and had a memorable night in a strange performance space along Congress Avenue, with a collective of creative and free spirits, huddled against the darkness, in this tiny little corner of the cosmos.

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May 07, 2017 – Blue Alley

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Somewhere in downtown Tucson, on South Stone Avenue, is this pretty little stretch of road. Most of it has been resurfaced, re-worked, restored, renewed. It’s polished and shiny today, but I was there several years ago and captured a lot of photographs of the neighborhood before everything was changed. In the summer, during the July monsoon, this part of town was devoid of people – it was quiet, with no traffic, and every building was covered in street art. I would ride my bike down here pretty often, even though I lived north of midtown at the time, to walk around with my camera.

It’s vandalism, sure. It may represent poverty or a devalued neighborhood. It may be considered by some to be ugly. I never really saw that. I always thought that the evolving canvas of these downtown buildings was beautiful. Here’s just one small little taste.

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February 19, 2017 – Painted Brick

paintedbricks-postFINE ART PRINTS AVAILABLE HERE
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Midtown Tucson is slathered with foot traffic, dotted with some reasonably questionable neighborhoods, and absolutely covered in the shittiest graffiti you’ll ever see. There’s no real artistry to it, just a level of “this is the mark I’ll be making” level of hooliganism.

About a decade ago, when I last lived in the neighborhood, I remember there were several efforts for graffiti abatement; billboards and hotline numbers to report graffiti, paint donation programs through local hardware stores, and private homeowners who opted to foot the bill on their own. I used to walk the mile and a half to work at Jones Photo, Inc – it wasn’t uncommon to see a fresh coat of paint on an adobe wall on my walk home, only to see fresh spray-paint scribbles on my walk to work the next day. Folks quickly stopped even trying to match paint and they’d take whatever the hardware store was handing out, or they’d buy the cheapest primer; the walls and garage doors, businesses and restaurants, were slowly covered in sloppy bands of mismatched color, rolled despairingly over the tagged scribbles.

It’s frustrating, to be sure, but my photographer’s eye also found some interest in these textures. And it seems like the plague of artless graffiti has largely subsided – at least, compared to years ago. Most of what you’ll find today are grease-pen scribbles on light posts or at bus stops, or markings on defunct businesses, in back alleys, and on abandoned buildings like the one pictures above.

Naturally, if I have my camera with me, I’ll be taking pictures.
Until tomorrow, my friends, I hope you enjoyed today’s photograph.

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Elliott Erwitt

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