I did a workshop today about my work at Drew High School in San Francisco.
The topic was Art and Activism. Part of it was a collaborative work in which each student created a piece that included a word about being homeless. The students were thoughtful and creative - a pleasure to work with and this is the finished work.
Despite the lack of affordable housing and increasing gentrification and displacement, U.S. cities have continued to attack homeless people through criminalization. More concerned about keeping homeless people from the public gaze rather than providing housing to women, children, adults, people with disabilities, and elderly people, there has been an increase in anti-homeless laws across the nation. ...More from the Street Sheet
A Visual Journalist documents society and preserves history through images. And I have chosen to document homelessness in San Francisco. Homelessness is not only a San Francisco problem. Anyone who has seen the vast swaths of makeshift shelters on the streets of Los Angeles – or the serge of tent encampments in Oakland – knows that deprivation knows no city boundaries. I want my drawings to be part of the solution and not part of the problem
In a painting or drawing, the space around the object is just as important as the object itself. The artist strives for a balance between the positive space (the object) and the negative space (the background)around it.
To create this web site, It was necessary to to define the space around me... my background...my work...my places and my people.
A long time ago, I remember reading a book called Zen and the Art of Seeing by Frederick Franck. In it, I remember him saying that to really know a place you have to draw it. I have searched and searched for that quote and haven't been able to track it down. So today I pulled out another of his books called Zen Seeing Zen Drawing which, I think, is a a newer revision of the first book. I still haven't found that first quote but I found several others. He says in this book that there is a difference between sketching and drawing. "A sketch is the product of looking-at....A drawing is the result of seeing." He says that "a true drawing is a very private dialogue between the artist within and some facet of the world around him or her." And he concludes with " Seeing/drawing is more than making pictures. It is witnessing to this seeing, it is touching the Meaning. The artist-within is the one who sees and witnesses to this seeing whether....Bach, Rembrandt, Piero della Francesca, Rilke...."
As a teacher, I believe that teaching students to be observant and present in the moment is to give them a gift that will get them through many of life's events both big and small.
Making art has always been a part of my life. From the moment I first realized I could draw a tree that actually looked like a tree, I knew how I wanted to fill my days. When I am making art, I am in another place. I think it is the "zone" that some talk about...a place of total concentration. I always seem to be involved in the creation of something. Sometimes that is just a lesson plan or a draft of a letter or a sketch.