After a few days in Little Italy I began to notice a disturbing trend popping up on the neighborhood shop windows.
The a typical tempera, mall cliche work that some how passes for true art. I was a bit shocked and dismayed at the cookie cutter appearance in an area of San Diego that clearly stands out on its own by its beautiful vocal people, the taste of food, and the general ambiance.
So how did the malls creep into Little Italy, a neighborhood of Renaissance? Always growing in spectacular ways?
I asked around, and apparently it was “previous obligation” to the store front painter.
Dissatisfied with what I was seeing, and with the wild Idea of a family and friend we ventured off into the cold night, art tote in hand, a gallon of water, and pie tins to transform one of my favorite Magazines store front windows. The victim of my vision? “The San Diego Reader.”
The SD Reader to me was a perfect canvas for my wild vision. I wanted to bring the sense of the December season and all of Winters transformation to a beach laden town. And they have spectacular windows for me to create a diverse yet transitional piece of art.
The SD Reader its self is a powerful symbol of San Diego, often snubbed and disregarded as a gala for those “types” (The ones who like real good local, relevant news).
With no permission slip in hand, I set off at 2200 hrs and went to work with the light of the cleaning crew to offer me some background. I wanted to do something that spoke of Italy, and one of my favorite artistic periods. The Renaissance. The Renaissance its self was an affirmation to the growth of culture and the free mind. Philosophy, music and art expanded leaping the groves of the church, while still being firmly routed in the passions of man kind.
So why not a Renaissance in San Diego?
San Diego needs change in more ways than one. With brush in hand I set to work on a blank clear canvas.
The Reader was lit for another 45 minutes while their crew diligently and speedily did their work, and then with out skipping a beat, the lights went out. Not the slightest bit iconic? I worked for four hours painting my entranced vision of San Diego, the winter and the passion of art in the dark, taking breaks here and there.
My pilot kept the water fresh, and sang to help keep the night moving. At one point, after the Princess called last call, a lone musician came our way, hooded from the cold, and a guitar slung over his shoulder. My pilot the warm and friendly woman she is asked if he’d like to join us for a moment or two, indulging in some of the North West finest Herbage, we shared a meal, some music and stories.
We learned that the traveling minstrel, like my comrade and I suffered in the crisis of the economy, he at one time made a fair living as a Pedi-cab driver, but that ended when someone stole his bike. So our talented friend, strumming in 45 degrees plays for a band as drummer, and as the bands’manager’. He makes a living, roof over his head, pita in his belly, and a charming smile to boot.
As the night waned on, and his music shared along the streets of Little Italy, soothing India street, he said is fair wells and vanished into the street lamp haze, Hands shoved in pockets.
Hope to see you again friend.
I was done with the first window around 0345 am.
Little Italy is just that, a place of artistic meeting. It’s streets are short, littered with chairs for its crowd to sit and enjoy the beauty of San Diego, and all the art it has to offer, be the people, the food, the music…or the works in progress.