A Symbol For Roosevelt Row

 Cover story on The Arizona Republic  

Cover story on The Arizona Republic  

This last Saturday I was surprised and overwhelmed that the story wrote about The Three Birds in Flight was printed on the front page of The Arizona Republic.

Here is a link to the long form version of the story:  

 http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix-best-reads/2016/09/15/phoenix-three-birds-mural-roosevelt-row-neighborhood/88807454/

Often when you do interviews you do not know where they will go. Perhaps a digital story, maybe published in the paper or a magazine. But when they are published on the front page, it is a special honor. So thank you, and thank you for taking a risk telling a story that is complexed and nuanced. When Dianna was interviewing me, I found myself telling the real story. About love, death, forgiveness, spirit and resurrection. My spirituality is a little off color for much of our culture, because it is hand made and through experiential learning. I am not religious, although I value ritual and the sacredness it holds for many people. The collective energy.  I have had so many teachers, from my mentor Jeniffer, to the gurus in kundilini yoga, authors and writers who speak to me, my dreams, visions, the children and teenagers I have had the opportunity to teach, to the homeless man on the street. Perhaps we are all teachers, teaching each other.  

Thank you. 

 

Demolition

March 20th 2015 10:10 AM

 

Remember when our songs were just like prayers

Like gospel hymns that you called in the air

Come down come down sweet reverence...

Now I’ve been crazy couldn’t you tell

I threw stones at the stars, but the whole sky fell...

I spent this morning filming this with the demolition crew at 222 E. Roosevelt, the developers were very gracious to let me have access so that I could have this memory. I'm so glad I was there. When the first bird went down I cried, and then I smiled. Letting go is like that. Demolition is spectacular and wild, loud and colossal. 

Until next time birds 💗💗💗 

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March 30th 12:09 AM

Reflections.

I got to meet the excavator operator, a older guy named John, smoking a cigarette and drinking a Coke, he was the exact undertaker for the job. I was relieved when I met him, grateful that he wasn't a wet behind the ears newcomer, but instead a seasoned destroyer. I've always thought "every great creator knows the beauty in destruction", this Arizona morning was like that. 

When I was driving up to the site which was blocked off by fences and privacy tarps I could see the excavator looming large over all of that. It deftly reached down and picked up a whole tree, uprooting it and moving it quickly to the side. I felt like I was in the presence of a dinosaur, I immediately felt vulnerable and awed by its power. I parked and entered the site, similar to how I felt last year walking into the hospital with a terminal friend. I knew exactly what I was there for. 

I got to speak with John before the building went down, he knew that I was the artist that had painted the mural outside. I told him "John, you're like a surgeon with that thing", pointing to the massive excavator. He replied "So are you, with a brush", pointing to my mural. He apologized for his role in the demolition of my art and I told him, you know there is beauty in the breakdown.  

I filmed as the building was demolished and I felt so very grateful to be there. Had I just drove upon it I think it would have been very difficult for me, it was necessary that it happened this way.  

This last Friday my name was published in the New York Times in connection with this whole thing, and with my painting the Three Birds in Flight, once the new five story building is built. I never thought I would see my actual name in the New York Times, it was a huge milestone for me as an artist. And I hope that my working with the developers is an example of how we as artists can shape our futures and our neighborhoods. We are not victims but creators, and I make decisions as they become available to me. There is a zen quote "Don't push the river"... I do not believe in a world of mistakes and regrets. But one of destinies, next right moves and choice. 

The Three Birds mural gave me more than I ever could have asked for, both in its creation and in its destruction. God is efficient, that is all that keeps coming to mind.  

 

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