Saturday, December 31, 2011

100 E. Soto Street. Willcox, AZ August 12, 2011

While driving in downtown Willcox, I saw a small, old gas station that was converted into a hobby shop that’s been out-of-business some time now.  The building was painted entirely white expect for a red and blue rocket ship painted vertically on the side of the building.  I placed, photographed and documented #120 on a window sill not far from where the rocket ship was painted.  An art piece alongside a rocket ship -  “the sky is the limit.”                   Ooooooooh!     

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tractor between Stadium and Arena Way Roads. Thatcher, AZ August 10, 2011

I placed, photographed and documented #119 on an old rusty tractor I drive by often throughout the course of a day seeing patients.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hubbard Cemetery - Graham County, AZ August 10, 2011

When I’m driving down Safford-Bryce Road I often go by a gravel road that goes to the top of a hill.  At the top of the hill is Hubbard Cemetery.  Curiosity got the better of me so I turned on to that road to check out this cemetery.  One knows that they are out in the country when signs are used for target practice.  The sign, “Hubbard Cemetery.  Hours open 6:00am – 9:00pm.”  was riddled with bullet holes. 
I parked at the entrance and got out of my SUV.  I decided to talk a walk through the cemetery since today’s summer sun was shaded by cumulus clouds anchored in the sky.  A grave stone caught my attention.  It read, “Mosiah Lyman Reed Hancock – April 9, 1854 – January 14, 1907 – Grandfather.”   Now this was a guy who was around these them parts when the local Indian Wars were in progress.  I placed, photographed and documented #118 next to his grave stone.  So badly I wish he could somehow tell me his stories.  However, for now, rest in peace.     


445 Haskell, Willcox, AZ August 12, 2011

Up and down the main drag of the city of Willcox is occupied by handful of motels that are now out of business.  A few have been converted into low income housing.  A tiny room to live in, however, it’s at the right price for someone’s budget.  Every now and then I have to visit one of my patients in these cozy abodes that once were a refuse for couples having lurid affairs or perhaps a visitor to Rex Allen Days’ festivities.
I placed, photographed and documented #117 at was once the front door to the manager’s office.  The quaint collection of white, cement- block cottages with stucco roofs were now a home to “art.”  The new tenants consisted of one plastic cowboy and one plastic indian.  They just checked in for a bit of tourism and adventure.  “Welcome to Willcox – the home of singing cowboy Rex Allen.”                                    

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Joe's Furniture Co. Truck, Duncan, AZ July 18, 2011

I usually prefer to place my cowboy and indian art pieces only on cloudy days during the middle of summer.  It’s hot enough already without the sun beating down on one’s body.  Whenever I leave my vehicle for only brief periods of time, I leave the air-conditioning running full blast.  Then I take large, portable sun shades which I prop up inside the vehicle’s windshield.
Yesterday, I bought a pair of black flip-flops encrusted with huge crystals and rhinestones to wear on my feet.  Normally, I don’t ever wear anything but cowboy boots whether it is hot outside or not.  However, when it comes to sparkle and bling, a true cowgirl can never have enough of it.  Whether it comes from Tiffany’s or the Dollar Store – we love our bling!  However, this is not the best footwear when it comes scouting a perfect location for an art piece placement.  One is never sure when they might step into a rocky space scattered with rust metal or a snoozing rattlesnake.  
Today I met with a patient in a sparse housing “subdivision” in Greenlee County.  As I drove through it, I saw a beat-up and graffiti painted old pick-up truck.  I could see large lettering on the original paint job.  This was once a truck for “Joe’s Furniture Company – Clifton/Morenci.”  It had no front grill, smashed windows, flat tires and no door in the back.  Joe’s Furniture Company is now non-existent.  I have no clue of it ever existing at least in the past 6 years.   
This appeared to be a great place to place a cowboy and indian art piece but not a great place to walk around in sparkle laden flip-flops. I placed, photographed and documented #116 on the glove compartment’s open lid inside the truck.  I finished and stepped carefully as I walked back to my car.  As I drove away, gratitude for finding such a great placement along with no injuries to my feet emitted joy from my heart.  With my pedicure and feet intact, it was good to know that nothing living was injured during the course of furthering my artistic expression - today.



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Putt Putt Golf Course, Willcox, AZ June 5, 2011

Francesca and I crashed for a few hours at Sarah’s.  Blurry eyed, we left Sara’s as the sun was rising in order to make it back to the RocknW for feeding and A.M. chores.  Staying up last night to the wee hours of the morning reminded me of my youthful years when cousins, friends and I would dance all night long to new wave, glam and punk rock beats at bars and fetish clubs at the fringes of many a city.  Only now I’ve traded in my glam rock glimmering baubles for cowgirl rhinestones.  This girl embraces her “inner bling!”
On the way home, we drove down Haskell Avenue in Willcox.  Franscesca pointed out a seven foot clown figure in the middle of a field with high weeds on the left.  I turned the SUV around.  What was the story? 
The story was that this was an abandoned putt-putt golf course.  Besides the clown figure there were other putt-putt destinations.  The two that immediately caught my attention was a huge cowboy boot and a teepee a few feet away from that.  I placed, photographed and documented #113 in the teepee.  I stepped carefully around cow dung and did the same with #114 in the cowboy boot. 
I got back into the SUV started the motor and turned around back on to Haskell Avenue.  At this point of the morning, all Francesca and I could think about was breakfast.  We stopped at the first open restaurant in town.  We walked in, dirty cowboy boots and wearing last night’s clothing, and found ourselves a table.  After we got our coffee, we took big sips and smiled.  We reminisced over last night’s adventures and reviewed our plans for today.  Life is good.  Sometime at bit too early in the day – but good!     


Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Old Elfrida Post Office. Elfrida, AZ June 4, 2011

Francesca, my British cowgirl bud was staying with me for a few weeks.  While I was at my Home Health & Hospice job during the day, she did training with Lady Latte along with a few other jobs around the place.   Tonight was the night that Francesca, Sarah and I were heading out to Elfrida for a bull riding competition.
The Longhorn Steak House in Elfrida was connected to a small arena where bull riding jackpots were held.  We hadn’t had any rain in southeastern AZ and forest fires were consuming the countryside.  This was a good way to take our minds off of all that.  For a ten dollar admission, we could watch a while having a few drinks.  Sarah had met one of riders before and had a bit of a crush on this particular cowboy.  (In fact, this particular love interest won the jackpot that night.)  Then after the bull riding, a few musicians played on the restaurant’s veranda.  Drinking, flirting, dancing and story-telling went on into the early hours of the morning.      
Before the start of the evening’s events, I noticed the abandoned Elfrida Post Office across the highway from the restaurant.  Francesca and Sarah went into the restaurant a head of me.  I walked over to the old post office.  I placed, documented and photographed cowboy and indian found art piece #115 on front window’s ledge.  Everyone else around headed into the Longhorn Steak House and ignored my preoccupation with the post office.
At the end of the night I realized that the art piece ended up having the best seat in the house.  To watch the bull riding?  No.  The art piece had a prime view of all the men and woman who coupled up and left the festivities for a few passionate smooches in the dark night.  The night that was occasionally lit by a truck or car’s headlights or the orange glow from a fire on a mountainside off in the distance.  There were sparks on the horizon and between two sets of lips as the evening ended and smoldered – both smoky memoires.



Apache Wildlife Station, Cochise County. April 29, 2011

Incidentally, on the “Apache” topic, my equine additions now have a new home.  Well, I was originally going to sell Apache after he was weaned from Spice.  Young horses take a great deal training and one’s attention.  I learned that with having Lady Latte since she was a foal.  Even though I enjoyed having Apache part of my life, at my age, between Apache and Lady Latte, my horse nursery days were over.  Maybe a great project when I someday retired.  However, I wasn’t retiring any time soon and Apache wasn’t going to wait.  
It was in the plan to keep Spice for my hospice animal therapy visits.  That plan soon changed when Spice developed a nasty attitude towards me.  Maybe she wasn’t keen on women or anyone who wore a cowboy hat.  I fell into both of those categories.  Spice only tolerated me feeding her and not much else.  Putting a halter, bridle and/or saddle on her prompted a resistant streak.  Maybe she just needed to get use to me?
One Sunday I decided to groom, bridle and saddle, with me on her, for my yearly holiday photo.  I thought, “How cute!  It’ll be Spice, Apache and me. I would be dressed in festive, western, vintage clothing.”  I loved my vision of this perspective photo.
Spice did everything in her power, except bite and kick, to avoid being tacked up.  However, I figured all I needed to do was just sit in the saddle for a few photos and – done!  A few friends were over to shoot these photos for me.  Ready, set, action – I climbed on Spice’s back.
Before one photo could be taken, Spice was in full bucking bronc glory.  Instead of being afraid, thoughts flitted through my mind such as, “Wow, I wonder how long I can sit this?”  As if I was competing in an event at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas?!!!  My friends had scattered out of my horse’s way.  Apache joyfully romped around with mama as if it was a new game he got to participate in. 
I landed safely in the dirt after a few seconds of this nonsense.  This wasn’t my first time I’ve been ever been thrown off a horse.  One always hopes it’s the last especially as bones get more brittle at my age.  Felt very little physical pain but quite of bit of churning anger was inside of me.  After a bit of effort, I caught, took off Spice’s saddle and tack and put Apache and her back into the corral.  So much for being dressed up for a holiday photo and my mounted horse vision.
A local teacher and her teenage daughter wanted to purchase Spice and Apache.  She was going to teach Spice to pull a cart.  Her daughter was going to take on Apache as a training project once school was out for the summer.  Spice and Apache found themselves a new home with them.  It was so sad to see them go but Spice needed a more suitable place that didn’t include me.   These two people had enough patience to give a whole herd of Spice and Apache horses a great deal of attention and love.
Today I was in Cochise county and drove past the Apache Wildlife Station.  I stopped the car at the side of the highway right at the Apache Wildlife Station sign.  I placed, photographed and documented #111 at the sign.  This was in tribute to Apache, the beloved colt I had once in my life.  Of course his mother also.   Did I ever mention that she was a wild ride?  Hmm? 



Schwerter House 124 Stewart Street, Willcox, AZ April 21, 2011

Every time I head home from my favorite Willcox lunch spot, Big Tex’s Barbecue, I turn off of Railroad Avenue on to Stewart Street past a yellow Victorian house with white trim and a large sign reading, Schwertner House – 1890 – “A restoration project of the Sulpher Springs Valley Historical Society.  Today was the day I placed, photographed and documented #110 on a wooden windowsill at the front of the house.  It sat there on the painted ledge – all cute and cozy in the architectural properness of the house of long ago.

Monday, August 15, 2011

312 Railway Avenue. Willcox, AZ April 21, 2011

I had just finished visiting my last patient when I remembered that I needed a halter for my foal.  A baby, like Apache, needs to a subtle introduction to humans and their touch.  That little colt is a handful right now.  I’ve been roping him, running my hands all over his fuzzy body and them releasing him.  So far, so good.  If I sit in a chair in the corral, he will walk up to me and explore my body with his nose and mouth.  It feels strange to have my fingers inside a tiny horse’s mouth.  No teeth!
Before leaving Willcox, I made a stop at the Stronghold Feed Store for the halter.  Picked out a tiny, bright-red, weaved nylon one.  On my way out the door, I noticed this lonely set of concrete stairs  -  overgrown with foliage.  It didn’t appear as if anyone has gone up them . . . or down.  I placed, photographed, and documented #109 on the top step.
Then it was time to get in my car and back on the road.  It was almost supper time for my critters.  I was responsible for feeding them all – except one.  There is no way I could ever divert Apache’s attention from the teats of his mama.  It’s always supper time for him.  Bon appetit!           

Graham County Cemetery. April 14, 2011

I miss my deceased equine pal, Princess Lulu.  She was a seasoned mare who did well as a “pet therapist.”  There were times when I had an old cowboy or cowgirl on hospice services who wanted to spend some time with a horse before they died.  I would take Lulu and some fresh baked goods to the patient’s home, which was usually in the “city”.  At this stage of their life and disease process, they now lived with one of their adult children.  Their faces and hearts beamed when Lulu and I arrived at their home.
Lady Latte, my almost 4 year old paint, is a bit high strung for pet therapy.  She’s got some Arabian bloodlines in her  -  a spectacular vision when she’s running – full gallop – around the property.  She is affectionate and adores people when they visit her.  Not the other way around, so far, when she’s somewhere unfamiliar. 
I managed to purchase a small sorrel mare with a flaxen mane named Spice to take over Lulu’s hospice duties.  She was a rescued horse with unknown origins.      In the process of being bought and delivered to my place, she gave birth to a beautiful Palomino colt.  So the RocknW has become a foal nursery.
I placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #112 at the entrance of the Graham County Cemetery.  This cemetery is about a mile away from where Spice is right now.  The symbolization of the circle of life – with death there are new beginnings.  Good-bye to Princess Lulu and hello to Spice and her colt, Apache.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Ranch Rodeo. Willcox, AZ May 7, 2011

Every spring, the cattle ranches in Cochise county send their best skilled cowboys to a local rodeo like no other.  The ranch that wins this rodeo gets cash and bragging rights for the next year.  Events range milking a wild cow to loading up one’s horse & designated calf on to a stock trailer – horseback.  Yep, the cowboy actually rides his horse up on to the stock trailer with the calf, dismounts and shuts the trailer gate behind him.  Him and the rest of the team then have to have their butts planted firmly some where on the rig before time is called.  The participants in this rodeo could put any Hollywood stunt cowboy to shame.  Yee Haw!
This year I decided to sponsor one of the ranches in the competition.  This means if the ranch I sponsored accumulates the most points in the competition and wins – I get to split the winnings with the ranch!  I sponsored the odds on favorite this year – The Warbonnet Ranch.  Taking this kind of gamble with money isn’t something I normally do.  I gamble in quite a few areas in my life – just not with my money.  However, this opportunity was more like a once in a lifetime adventure though.
Got together a posse of friends – Sarah, Colleen and Francesca (now back visiting from England) and it was game on.  Our ranch had the only all-female cheering section.  Of course, the Warbonnet Ranch won the rodeo.  I would like to believe that our rowdy, cowgirl, motivational section in the bleachers had something to do with it.  Either way, they won!!!  Colleen, Sarah, Francesca and I ran down the bleachers to the arena and got a group photo with the cowboys once they dismounted.  I must say, we were one good looking, smiling group of folks.
I collected my money and took a photo with my tired but psyched cowboys in the winner’s circle.  The ranch was also awarded a saddle.  Francesca helped me place, photograph and document #108 discreetly under the bleachers before we left.  She was already an expert at this after helping me out a few months ago with #73.    
It’s a day that all of us will remember.  A great memory that even included a cowboy and indian icon art placement.  Life IS good.                        

Friday, August 5, 2011

Danny's Drive-in Diner, Duncan, AZ April 6, 2011

Not far from the river rock house on Hwy. 70 is a small, old, white cement block building that was once a restaurant. It’s never been open since I moved here in 2006. Every time I drive into Duncan, it sort of calls out my name. One of the restaurant’s sheltered windowsills would be a cozy home for one of my cowboy and indian icon art pieces.
Today, on my way back home to Safford, was the day that I would leave an art piece at the restaurant. I pulled off the highway, parked the car, and took a walk around the restaurant in search of a cozy windowsill. I found one near the former entrance of the restaurant.
Placed, photographed and documented art piece #107 on the sill.
Wow. Speaking of an art studio, this building appears as if it might have potential as a combination art studio/store - catching the tourist trade to and from New Mexico. Unlike the river rock house, one could also due a bit of side business with an unique snack bar. I wonder how many folks would come by for cowboy beans and coffee or indian fry bread and buffalo jerky? Well, if I wanted to kind of stay in line with 1800's Apache meal selection, I would probably have to include horse not buffalo meat.
Sorry, Lady Latte! I know - you’re a sweet mare not a tasty American luncheon selection. Just glad its 2011 and not 1800.

River rock house, Hwy. 70, Duncan, AZ April 6, 2011

Off of Highway 70 near a high school, on the outskirts of Duncan, back off the road are two quaint, small houses - all made of rim rock (medium-sized, gray, smooth round surface). Well, that’s how one of the occupants of one of those homes described the building material. That was after she inquired about why I was rummaging around a nearly condemned house with no "For Sale" sign.
I had just placed, photographed and documented cowboy and indian art piece #105 on one of the chipped, turquoise painted windowsills when she walked up on me. She was a thin, middle aged brunette dressed in white cotton blouse, navy shorts and well-worn sandals. Quickly, I turned around and smiled. Her eyes were centered on me. It was doubtful she saw my artistic preoccupation with #105.
After some quick thought, I told her that I had always admired this house and I was looking for a quaint place to rent as an art studio( even though I wasn’t). The neighbor woman said that she didn’t know who was the property owner but there was possibly a lien on the property or some other complication. The slim, casually dressed woman went on to say that she had rental property in town which would probably make a great art studio.
All I knew was that I wasn’t interested in renting a place for an art studio and had to graciously depart without drawing any attention to art piece #105. So I took her phone number and let her know that I might be in touch about her rental property. Then she strongly encouraged me to follow her into Duncan to take a quick peek at her rental property. I finally persuaded her that I didn’t have the time to do that and made a quick exit into my car.
I didn’t like lying to this woman at all but I couldn’t compromise the integrity of my artistic process or the location of art piece #105. Well, another cowboy and indian icon art piece in place. If I ever am looking for an artsy space to rent in Duncan, at least I know who I can contact!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sunny View Lane. Safford, AZ April 4, 2011

Not far from Gayla Lane, my car found itself on a narrow dirt road.
It was so narrow that I wasn’t sure if it was actually a road for automobiles or a road used for moderately sized farm equipment. There were a few desolete looking homes next to this road but it mostly bordered barren fields that appeared as if they were ready for sowing.
Right next to the "road" was a wooden shack with long gone windows and door. Inside was a large, white industrial, plastic bucket wired to the wall. I placed, photographed and documented #106 on the white bucket on the wall.
Got back into my car. Kept driving down that narrow dirt road which got me lead me onto a two car lane dirt road. I eventually did find my patient’s house. I guessed. Lucky guess!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Gayla Street, Safford, AZ April 4, 2011

Today was one of those days that I was traveling - hopelessly lost.
I was in search of a patient’s house that was on some unmarked back road and most likely didn’t have numbers on their house or a sign identifying where they lived. Some folks are like that in these rural areas. Not because they’re necessarily hiding out from the law or anything. They just don’t want to be bothered.
I drove around the corner and on to a small dirt road named, Gayla Lane. On my left was an abandoned block cement house that had a long awning that sheltered a bleak cement porch. After I parked in the dirt driveway, I placed, photographed and documented art piece #103 on the sill of one of the front windows.
After I walked back to my car it occurred to me one of the reasons why I was attracted to these abandoned houses and buildings. It reminded me of the all the abandoned houses and buildings back in Detroit.
The foreclosure crisis of 2007 apparently compounded this urban tragedy. I’ve heard from folks back in Michigan how whole streets of houses have been abandoned. Elegant skeleton reminders of an era when the automobile industry was king.
Now an artist, formerly from the Motor City, I pay tribute to these memories by placing my cowboy and indian icon art pieces in the western cousins of those uninhabited structures. After I’m done, I drive away. Just like all the other people that once found use in these structures. Each of the dwellings now echo energy remnants of our passage.


Black Hills National Back Country Byway, AZ March 23, 2011

On my travels down N. Hwy. 191to see my patients in Clifton, I always pass an entrance to the Black Hills. This area is known for fire agate rock hounding and primitive camping. Today was the day I was going to take a slight detour and a brief visit to this entrance of the Black Hills.
I decided to place the cowboy and indian icon art piece underneath the Black Hills sign at the entrance. I parked my car, carefully walked around thousands of porous rocks, tiptoed over fallen barb wire and
hop, skipped and jumped around a broken brown beer bottle. After I reached the sign, the completion of my goal was easy. Getting to and from the sign took me longer than placing, documenting and photographing #102.
The Chiricahua and western Apache indians were originally from this area. I imagine in the 1600's the Apache had no clue of what was in store for them with pending encounters with the white man. Certainly not with a conceptual artist who would place her art piece once in a place where they had stepped themselves. A metamorphosis and tribute to their existence.

5322 Highway 186, Dos Cabezas, AZ March 29, 2011

The patient/rancher in Dos Cabezas I’m off to visit raises peacocks. On and off I toy with the idea of having a male peacock at the RocknW. They are so beautiful and a novelty for the girl from Detroit, MI. However, if I’m not mistaken, they are quite noisy. Probably in the same way a rooster is. My hens are doing quite well without the rooster. I also enjoy not having to listen to a crowing rooster at all hours of the morning and through out the day. I’m sure as the few neighbors, I do have, might feel the same.
Then there’s the male peacock cooped up in a small cage at the Safford Feed Store. If someone doesn’t put out $50. for him within the next month or so - I’ll purchase him and set him free at the RocknW. He might get ate by a predator eventually but its got to be better than living a long life in that cramped cage.
If one blinks, they would miss driving through Dos Cabezas. When I didn’t blink, I noticed a red steel storage building with a windmill and a very large bell in front with a single wide mobile home set back far behind it. Underneath the red and white sign that simply displayed the word, MUSEUM, was another red and white sign, smaller, that displayed the word CLOSED.
To access the property, one had to walk through a red, wooden gate with large, red wooden wagon wheels on each side. I didn’t want to trespass on to the property so I placed, photographed and documented #101 on the hub of one of the wagon wheels. I quickly got back into my car and drove on to my patient’s home.
Who knows, maybe the museum’s owner will discover the cowboy and indian icon art piece. Maybe they will take it and put it in the museum. Maybe it’ll find a new home in the land once occupied by Cochise and his Chiricahua Apaches. Who knows!?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pima Cemetery, AZ March 31, 2011

Cowboy and Indian icon art piece #100. Since this was my 100th placement, I wanted it to be special. The perfect placement opportunity presented itself.
An assortment of veterans gathered at the Pima Cemetery on Saturday, March 26, 2011 for a grave dedication to honor the Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Josiah Pensyl (died in the Gila Valley on 1/22/1920). This calvary soldier, one out of 8, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the defense of a supply train from a large Apache Indian attack that lasted from 9/9/1874 to 9/14/1874. I wasn’t able to attend the ceremony due to a scheduled appointment with my farrier.
When I showed up to the cemetery the following Thursday - locating Sgt. Pensyl’s grave was a task above and beyond my navigation. I drove and drove around the cemetery. Couldn’t find his grave!
I seriously expected to find a telltale sign, after the ceremony that was held in his honor, which would direct me his grave. Nothing.
As a back-up plan, I choose to place, photograph and document #100 on the Y shaped trunk of a tree-like scrub. My thinking was placement on the trunk of the scrub would protect it from the hot, unforgiving AZ sun. Our local climate is not kind.
This historic calvary/indian confrontation is the type depicted in countless cowboy and indian films from Hollywood. Tragic but entertaining. When I attended a semester of undergrad college long ago in England, I did a presentation on the possibilities of drama to a group of grade school kids. After the presentation I took questions from my audience. One young boy’s hand shot up right into the air.
The pressing question the boy had to do with the Apache Indian. Did they bother me much? Did I ever have to shoot one? Surprised, all I could reply was "no" and "no." His freckled face looked disappointed and he went quiet.
#100 Cowboy and Indian Icon art is dedicated to Sgt. Pensyl and that little lad who asked me a question. A calvary soldier who was in an actually confrontation with the Apache and a British schoolboy who can only fantasize about what it would be like to be such a confrontation with the Apache. Memories of both that are now just echos in my imagination.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

931 1st Street, Thatcher, AZ March 23, 2011

Cacti represents to me Mother Nature’s organic art work in geometric forms. It’s such a treat for me to live in southern AZ where these contemporary, hardy living sculptures loom all over the arid, usually brown, landscape. In fact, I purposely drive by certain locations where magnificent, older cacti live.
My favorite is the Prickly Pear cactus. I do have a few of my contemporary paintings hanging on the wall of a restaurant in Ann Arbor, MI named specifically after this cactus. But that’s not why they’re my favorite. This cactus is made up of large, succulent oval pads which resemble a tail of a beaver’s with clusters of prickers. The pads of this cacti hold a great deal moisture. Great for person thirsty and lost in the desert. Relief from thirst with one juicy bite! The jackrabbits around my house unmercifully devour them down to the bare ground during periods of drought.
It produces a deep red fruit that is repudiated for its edible, medicinal qualities (not to mention a delicious, sweet jelly that is lovely on one’s morning toast!) The Prickly Pear cacti also blooms yearly with small peony sized, bright yellow blossoms. This is one artistic and practical plant.
Here in SE Arizona, we recently had a strange weather occurrence. The temperature went down to an uncommonly low of 9 degrees. It was only for a few days but long enough to freeze the moisture in the succulent pads of the Prickly Pear cactus. When the warm, balmy weather returned, the pads of these cacti "melted" inside. As a result of this, the majesty of the Prickly Pear cacti became unsightly bags of droopy, greenish-brown mushiness - an unknown and foreign sight on the local landscape.
The death and distorted appearance of my favorite cacti disturbed me.
The best way I knew how to deal with this loss was through art. I placed, photographed and documented #99 on fauna melt down, mound that once was a favorite towering cactus. I’ll always remember you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

433 Outer Loop, Clifton, AZ March 23, 2011

I was walking up a steep one lane road when I discovered it. The was no way that contraption could transport a horse. First of all, it wasn’t big enough. Shiny metal- like aluminum shaped in a capsule with minimum wooden sides to hold it all up. The floor of it was littered with dirt, smashed, rusty soda cans and brown, crispy foliage.
My patient and her family lived halfway to the top of this one car lane. There was no room for my car so I parked it at the bottom of the lane and hiked up. Not far from this hillside, I passed an enclave of Big Horn Sheep. I thought that they were a herd of goats that got out of their pen. When I got closer to them, I saw the horns and knew they weren’t goats! Even though they seemed a bit on the tame side, I didn’t walk up any closer to them. I took a quick photo with my camera and continued on to my final destination. The mild sun rays made the journey very pleasant.
Then I walked up upon the trailer. How I knew that it was originally made to transport an animal was due to the fact that it had an open rectangle cut out in the front. The style was a mini version of my horse trailer - only primitive and rugged. A goat, foal or a calf could comfortably fit into this mode of transport.
I placed, photographed and documented #98 on one the trailer’s bumpers. Both tires were flat. My cowboy and indian art had found a home on a vehicle with a journey to nowhere.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

15692 Park Lane, Ft. Thomas, AZ March 16, 2011

Ft. Thomas is an Latino/Anglo/Apache community east of the San Carlos/Bylas reservation big enough to have a school and police/fire department. There is no longer a fort here. In 1876, a military post was established here during the Indian wars. By 1874, General Crooks had brought hostile Apaches on to the local reservation. In 1886, Ft. Thomas military post had served its purpose when General Miles made a bold move and shipped all the Chiricahua Apaches to reservation in Florida.
My purpose today in Ft. Thomas was to a Latino, war vet, patient who was struggling with the unwelcomed side effects of his diabetes. He was facing the amputation of part of his leg. We talked about the possible amputation for a long time. The man shared with me having to cope with other adversities in his life such as serving in country in Vietnam and the violent death of his son a few years back. I asked him, "What helps you cope with your life’s tragedies?" Smiling, he told me it was the love and care from his Apache wife that keeps his life worth living - no matter what. His wife seemed able to maintain a positive attitude through tragedy and loss. She wasn’t at the house with us because she had a funeral to attend today on the San Carlos reservation. It saddened me that I didn’t have an opportunity to meet her.
After I left his house, while driving back to the hospital, I came across a charming dead end street, Park Lane. Across from the fire station and the small vets’ memorial, I discovered 15692. It was an abandoned charming, cement block house with a kitchen stove, covered by a huge fallen pine tree, on the front porch.
After making my way through pine branches, I placed, photographed and documented #93 on the stove. It was in tribute to the man I had just left. A tribute celebrating his wonderful relationship with his wife. A love that even massive fallen pine tree couldn’t put asunder.
They have the love of a lifetime. A love I envy and someday hope for myself.  A love that’s real - crossing even cultural backgrounds, dashed dreams and poor health.  With or without, the "death due us part."  Thank God for hope and possiblity.  Amen! 

Cluff Ranch Wildlife Refuge. Graham County. March 16, 2011

It’s not unusual to see road signs riddled with bullet holes along the caramel, sandy road that wraps itself around the wildlife refuge. Using road signs for target practice on county back roads is a way of life around here. Just the way it is and always will be.
I was on my way back to the hospital from a patient’s house. A very sad, elderly man who lives in a mansion - furnished with rare and beautiful objects from Europe. He has a few bullet holes around his house. No, not target practice. He shot a guns off in his house in a misguided attempt to kill the emotional pain that stalks him, room to room, in a house that will never echo the laughter of the woman he loved.
I stopped by the side of the road at an information billboard that listed the rules of the refuge and such. It was shaded by its own wooden roof. After stopping my car, I walked over to examine the information board closer. Kicked a few spent red gun shot shells out of my path. I placed, photographed and documented #92 on a wooden beam that supported the roof. This art piece had its own refuge now out in the wild, wild west. A refuge where it can witness the pulse of life out here without any haunting memories.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

3544 Eighth Street, Thatcher, AZ March 16, 2011

I placed, photographed and documented #97 at the corner of the ranch where Spade lives.
Since the death of my first horse, Princess Lulu, in the Fall of 2010, I struggled with whether or not to purchase another horse. I decided that, preferable, it would be a horse from a cattle ranch. I’ve adored the ranch horses that I’ve ridden. Their "job training" makes them versatile and unflappable - obedient.
Outside of me riding this horse for pleasure, it will also function in the role as my "hospice horse." I put together sort of a program for the terminally ill cowboys and cowgirls receiving our hospice services. In the past some of them requested to spend some time with a horse before they die. If they lived within a few mile radius, I would ride Lulu over to who ever’s home they were spending their last days at.
There was this particular elderly cowboy who had his visit with Lulu in the AM. Only a few hours after we had left his home - the man died. He had gotten his last dying wish. Then Princess Lulu ended up in "hospice" herself due to a malignant tumor in her eye. In the end, she had to be put down. I’ll never forget that October day, when the rancher I paid to follow through with that horrible task, came and picked her up. Lady Latte, my other horse, cried out for Lulu all that following night. My heart still aches whenever I think about that day. I swore that I would never get another horse. I swore I wouldn’t ever let myself be vulnerable to that kind of pain again.
The local sheriff and rancher had to thin out his 17 horse herd. That’s how Spade, half quarter horse and half thoroughbred, came on the market. What a dream to ride this gelding and so unflappable. The only draw back to this horse was his height and the fact that he was very difficult to mount without me climbing up on something because of my bad left knee. The only problem Spade presented was an inability to line up and stand still next to objects I chose to help me dismount. He would continually swing out his hind quarters no matter what approach I tried with him.
I told the cowboy, who was the sheriff’s son, if he could teach Spade to line up with the objects I needed him to so I could mount and dismount - he had a sale. The young man said he would work on that task with Spade, then give me a call.
I’m still waiting for that call. Cowboy and indian icon art piece #97 is in tribute to Spade.
May he find his proper home on the range.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Duncan Cemetery, Greenlee County March 15, 2011

I like to place cowboy and indian icon art pieces in honor of folks who were around during the Apache wars. They were the actual witnesses of this racial and cultural conflict. When I stand over their graves I wonder, "How did the Apache wars actually impact this particular person’s life?" I know that the person can’t actually answer me but I still wonder.
Greenlee county was affected by Geronimo and approximately 200 Apache braves after they left the reservation in 1882. Geronimo and his marauding band pillaged, tortured and killed settlers in this area.
I placed, photographed and documented #95 near the grave of Clarence London. He was born on 11/14/1882 and died on 7/17/1969. As a baby, he may have not been a direct witness of Geronimo’s rampage but his family sure was.
Then I placed, photographed and documented #96 near the grave of Mary Jane McCleskey.
She was born on 3/30/1835 and died on 4/6/1916. Now she was old enough to witness an Apache rampage. However, she lived a long and presumely healthy life. Her death definitely was not at the hand of an Apache. Mary Jane did take with her to the grave memories of others, around her, who met such a violent, bloody demise.
I read in the Eastern Arizona Courier today that the airstream trailer that I placed #81 was burned to the ground on 2/26/11 - with every other dwelling on the property - by the fire fighter’s class from Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher. This was part of their "hands on" training. The fire was large. Nothing left on the property was salvageable. The cowboy and indian icon art piece was burned into ashes along with those leafy patterned curtains I loved from the 1950's. I will always have the memory of exploring that airstream trailer with those soiled but fabulous curtains. Who knows. Maybe one of those student fire fighters rescued the cowboy and indian art piece before everything was set a blaze. It could be sitting on the dashboard of his or her car or truck right now. Maybe.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Corner of Comache Drive & McCarty Trail, Duncan, AZ March 15, 2011

Today I visited with my patients in Greenlee county. The weather is warm enough for the lizards to scurrying about but not hot enough to scorch me through the windshield of my car while driving down the highway. For lunch, I stopped in Ole Jo’s diner in "downtown" Duncan. The walls of this diner are unpainted plywood and wooden posts that host the cattle brands of the local ranchers. There are also old photographs, rodeo posters, sheet metal art (painted black and depicting aspects of local life such as roping calves, bull riding, etc.) and rustic antique accents. Part of the diner is a bar. One has to go through a set of swinging wooden doors, just like in the old western saloons, to enter the bar.
At the diner, there happen to be a group of older female bicyclists who also stopped there for lunch. The started out in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and were in route to San Diego, CA. The other locals and I watched them clown around the diner and bar. They snapped photos of each other as they "played cowboy."
They asked me if I could take a group photo of them which I did. Then they wanted me in the photo. Hmmm, I thought I would jazz things up. So I went outside to my car, grabbed one of my cowboy hats and a horse bridle that I had in my back seat. The ladies were delighted and snapped away!
After the fun and games, they got back on their bikes and headed to a location in New Mexico. I got into my car and drove off to my next patient’s house. While I drove around the area, trying to locate the street my patient lived on, I came across a forlorn white brick house with no address. It was in the carport that I placed, documented and photographed #94. The cowboy and indian icon art piece found a new home in the part of the carport that wasn’t caving in.
After I met with my patient and her family, I headed back to Safford. My transportation was 4 wheels, not 2. These 4 wheels would get me home in time for PM feed. At home, I could exchange my 4 wheels for 4 legs of a horse power. The type of horse power that nuzzles me as soon as I open the corral gate - a welcome that can’t be found in any new town or long and winding road any where in the United States.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

U.S. Forest Service Ranger Station, Greenlee County, AZ March 2, 2011

The U.S. Forest Service Ranger Station in Greenlee county is located on a small hill where main highways intersect venturing off to Safford, Clifton, Duncan and Mule Creek. This ranger station rest stop area is impeccably clean and looks as if it was built within the past 10 years. Bike racks, pristine male & female bathrooms along with 3 covered stainless steel picnic tables sit about 50 feet from the actual "ranger station." Every time I drove by this particular spot - I’ve yet to see anyone here.
Today I placed, photograph and document #90 on one of the picnic tables. It found its new home on a picnic table with the best view of the comings and goings of Hwy. 75. Too bad I didn’t have a small plastic picnic basket with small plastic food to go inside it. If the cowboy and indian plastic figures ever became animated - at least they would have something to eat.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fort Bowie Post Cemetery Bowie, AZ February 12, 2011

On this particular Saturday, 400 visitors (including me), 34 reenactors, and 16 National Park Service staff celebrated at the former site of Fort Bowie the 150th anniversary of the Bascom Affair. No, all these people didn’t get together to celebrate a romantic tryst of Mr. Bascom from 1861. This affair was an incident the sparked the Apache Wars of America’s southwest.
Race relations gone extremely bad. It was an affair like this that spawned the cinematic tales of western classics and The Cowboy and Indian Icon Found Art Project for that matter.
Lt. George Bascom apparently tried to arrest the Chiricahua Apache, Chief Cochise on a trumped up charge. Bascom accused Cochise and his Apaches of stealing his cattle at the same time they allegedly kidnaped the son of a Mexican woman who lived with him.
The Chiricahua Apaches stated that their beloved chief escaped his wrongful imprisonment by cutting through the tent which was used as a jail. When it was all said and done the Apache Wars raged on intermittently for the next 10 years.
Since there were casualties of this war, there was also a cemetery at Fort Bowie. The remains of the deceased were buried there between 1862 and 1894. In March of 1895, the graves of army officers, enlisted men and their dependents were moved to the National Cemetery in San Francisco. Only 23-33 graves remained at Fort Bowie.
I wanted to place a cowboy and indian icon art piece at the cemetery in honor of the remains left behind. I placed, photographed and documented #88 at the grave site of Little Robe. It was believed that this young brave probably died of dysentery. He was part of a group of Apache prisoners, women and children, captured near Nacori, Mexico on August 7, 1985. This group included 2 of Geronimo’s wives. Little Robe was identified as one of Geronimo’s children.
Traditionally, the Apaches buried their dead by sealing them in crevices or small caves. The body would be placed with the head toward sundown. The burial would then be concealed by covering it up the rocks, sticks and foliage from the area. It was unusual for an Apache to tell anyone else where a person was buried.
This Indian boy’s life was a casualty. The settler’s son, whose kidnaping started the Apache Wars, was later reunited to his family. Both suffered because of prejudice and revenge.
Later on in years, little boys and girls would have playful skirmishes - some playing cowboys with toy guns while others played indians with toy tomahawks, bows and arrows. All whimsically reacting probably some scene they saw in a western film at a Saturday matinee.
Maybe they might even grow up to be an artist like me - gluing plastic figures on numbered rocks and leaving them in forlorn locations in the American west - still haunted by memories of prejudice and revenge. Now quite a few are tourist attractions where souvenirs, made in China, glorify the "old days." Emotional memories wiped clean by progress and technology.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tumbleweed Corner Pearce, AZ February 11, 2011

Whenever I drive into the town of Pearce/Sunsites in Cochise county, I always pass a colorful empty gas station named the Tumbleweed Corner. It’s painted green, yellow and red. Hard to miss. Been driving pass here since 2007 and I’ve yet to see it open for business.
I placed, photographed and documented #89 on one of the gas pumps. The plastic cowboy was green and the plastic indian was red. Definitely matched the decor!
I wondered what the Apache Chief, Cochise, would have thought about gas stations.  The heck with immobilizing the white man by stealing his horses.  Just set the white man's gas pumps on fire.  Easy and a lot cheaper than the price of hay to feed stolen horses.  Then there is fire.  The equalizer whether when it comes to gas pumps or horses!  The one aspect that never changes with time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

105 9th Street, Safford, AZ February 10, 2011

Across the street from a GM and Nissan car and truck dealership was a small, dirty beige stucco house with a primitive looking screen door and heaps of dead foliage scattered in the front yard. As soon as I placed, photographed and documented #91 on one of the front window sills, I heard a voice say, "Can I help you?." Startled, I turned around and saw a late middle aged, Hispanic man in a dark t-shirt and jeans. He stood next to his home and leaned over the front yard fence. I don’t think he saw me interact with the cowboy and indian icon art piece. My reply to him was I was interested in preserving old local homes on film. I asked him what he knew about this house. He told me that the former owner was injured badly in a car accident in Phoenix and never came back. Once he began talking about the house he went on to tell me about the homes and the families they belonged to across the street where the car dealership now stood. Then he added that the house he was living in now as an adult was the house he grew up in. He’s lived in the house all along even his parents died. This man seemed to be a bit on the lonely side along with being curious.
I bid him farewell and thanked him for his time. As I walked back to my car, I thought about the man. There he was - a lonely man living next to an abandoned lonely house. It appeared that time had forgotten them both. They were companions of each other - bonded by memories.

Corner of 9th Street and 3rd Avenue, Safford, AZ February 10, 2011

Seen a patient today in a part of town that I wasn’t familiar with. A block of homes shadowed by car dealership and small town industry. It appeared to be more of an area inhabited by adults than of thriving young families with children.
A beige stucco house with missing clay shingles and backyard trees that were overgrown on to the road caught my attention. I parked on the street and walked up to the porch. The front windows were partially boarded. All that occupied the porch was a dining room chair, a stove and a small pile of plastic Christmas decorations.
I placed, photographed and documented #87 on the stove underneath a boarded window. Mission accomplished. Let’s see what a walk around the block brings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

385 Stadium Avenue, Thatcher, AZ February 4, 2011

It was at this location that I made a startling discovery. I had made TWO #86 art pieces.
One had a red cowboy and yellow indian while the other had a yellow cowboy and red indian. How weird is that?!?
Since this location was an abandoned farm, I placed, documented and photographed #86A in a silo now partially filled with furniture and unwanted appliances. Then I placed, documented and photographed #86B on an apple green piece of farm equipment.
This location had plenty of spots to tuck away 50 or more cowboy and indian icon art pieces if I so desired. It seemed appropriate to leave the "twins" in this abandoned, agricultural wasteland. Just like the song in a particular chewing gum commercial - "Double your pleasure. . . Double your fun!"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

412 15th Street, Safford, AZ February 3, 2011

Right down the street from the "assemblage art" house was an empty house that was painted pink with light blue trim. No For Sale sign or any other personal homeowner items out front. When I walked up and looked into one of the front, rectangle windows - the inside was completely empty. I placed, documented and photographed #85 on one of the quaint, blue window sills.
As I walked back to my car, scenarios of living in this pastel colored, concrete house entertained my fancy. The thought of whisking this house out of here - like Dorothy’s abode in the Wizard of Oz - entertained me. However, this house would land on a dirt road not too far from the heart beat of downtown Sante Fe. A location that would allow me to skip or stroll back home after satisfying my culinary cravings for gourmet southwestern food in a different restaurant almost each and every night. Cuisines far away from cowboy coffee, beans and biscuits.


425 15th Street, Safford, AZ February 3, 2011

I happened to be parked and daydreaming in my car when I noticed a house in the short distance that looked as if it was a large piece of assemblage art itself. While I waited for my patient to come home from a doctor’s appointment, in my view were heaps of old stick fencing, rusted manual farm tools, rows of old bottles, a Christmas wreath, bovine & equine bones and anything rusted which one might consider as "antique."
Then a thought entered my scheming little mind, "Would anyone notice one of my cowboy and indian icon art pieces in the middle of all this?" I placed, photographed and documented #84 on a large log in front of the house - forever tucked away in its own menagerie.


1st Street & Ditch Bank Road, Thatcher, AZ January 26, 2011

I placed, photographed and documented #76 at a old house with a tin roof. It was the only abandoned house in a row of occupied dwellings across from a farmer’s field. Behind this house were the largest pine trees that I’ve ever seen in my life. In front of the house were pine cones, horse droppings and odd pieces of a green patterned linoleum. Inside of the house - unknown. Every window and entrance was boarded up. Effective barriers to keeping out people like me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

946 Cholla Drive, Safford, AZ January 26, 2011

The placement, documentation and photograph of cowboy and indian icon art piece #80 on the fence separating home from Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church was the most fun. Why? Repetitive eye candy formulated in precision rows - not a painted white stone, orange and red reflective plastic rectangles or clear and turquoise colored lighting cover was a 10th of an inch out of place. The gravel, each and every piece, covered the entire courtyard and driveway appeared to be put in place according to nuance of color. In the middle of this "courtyard" is a life size covered wagon and a toilet made out of white porcelain and horse shoes.
A senior citizen couple live there. Is it a case of being bored in retirement or have they been this way all their lives? What ever the answer may be, it’s still a fun place to take my out-of-town guests for a bit of eccentric sightseeing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cactus Road & Hwy. 191, Safford, AZ January 26, 2011

While the new year of 2011 was debuting, the abode at this address was in flames.
None of the building was salvageable. Its last tenant was a woman who wove rugs and large carry-all bags out of colorful pieces of cloth. Since her home could be seen from Hwy. 191, she had a clothes line strung out in her front yard in order to display her latest creations for sale. I bought a small area rug and large carry-all bag from her husband who was the proprietor of her business. Not long after that they moved away. No one else moved into the old dilapidated house. The house was vandalized and had an open front door.
This abode was very significant to me. In the home was a fireplace made of tile. The tile was very unique. It had a textured, forest green background with thick burnt orange stripes with thin tan stripes running through the middle of the burnt orange ones. It was on this fireplace mantle that I placed, documented and photographed cowboy and indian icon art piece #1. This was the place where my whole art project began.
All that was left standing was a plain brick fireplace and chimney. Charred pieces of the tile were all around it. It was on this erect survivor that I placed, documented and photographed cowboy and indian icon art piece #82. I’ll never know if anyone discovered art piece #1 before the fire and removed it. For all I knew, I could’ve been standing on its charred remains amongst all the other rubble.
Before I left the sight, I picked up and took back to my car two pieces of the charred tile.
It would be gingerly cleaned up and placed on my mantle - with a memory.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

624 Haskell Avenue, Willcox, AZ January 28, 2011

Welcome folks to the Hacienda Motel and Apartments. What’s left of them.
Except for the main office, the aging temporary housing was now protected by a chain link fence. What attracted me to this building was the kitschy cacti painted all over the outside walls.
I placed, documented and photographed art piece #83 on the inside windowsill of an already broken out pane of glass. All the plastic cowboy and indian on the art piece needed now were straw sombreros. Ole!

842 4th Street, Thatcher, AZ January 21, 2011

After visiting patients in Pima, I took one of my short cuts back to the hospital through Thatcher. If I’m a sucker for exploring abandoned houses, I’m even more of a sucker for an abandoned airstream trailers. The house on 4th Street wasn’t only abandoned but it had an abandoned streamlined trailer painted turquoise and white. The silver body of the airstream showed through the spots of chipped paint.
I parked my car on the street and walked to the back of the property where the airstream stood. Then I realized that no one had been to the airstream lately since mine were the only footprints in the sand. The door to the airstream still functionally opened and closed. After I opened the door, the essence of the 1950's surrounded me. Most of the drapes had been torn or deteriorated away from the windows. What was left were stained drapes with a large leafy pattern of green, rose and yellow colors. All I could think about at that point was how cool it would’ve been to have a piece of clothing fashioned out of the fabric of those drapes. I wanted to wear the drapes some how.
When one walks into this mobile vehicle, the first piece of furniture that grabs one’s attention is a falling apart, large wooden stereo console with an undisturbed turntable.
All I could imagine was how this once may have been a traveling party abode. All that was missing was the shaker and martini glasses. I placed, documented and photographed #81 on the stereo console.
That night on my way home from work, I stopped in to one of the few clothing stores in town. Wouldn’t you know, there was a jacket made in the style, fabric and pattern a la 1950's. It was in my size! Definitely a sign not to take any rotten drapes down from the placement sight of a cowboy and indian icon art piece because something better is around the corner. Not only better but fresh and new a la 2000's - never out of style.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Maud's Restaurant Clifton, AZ January 11, 2011

I remember as a kid my father would take the family to a drive-in restaurant as a special treat. One could either eat their burger in the car or outside at a type of picnic table. That fond memory attracted me to Maud’s.
The restaurant hasn’t been open at least for the past year from what I could see. There are no parking spaces one could pull their vehicle into for service. A patron would walk up to the service window to put in, pay and receive their order. No waitresses or waiters. Very limited seating inside with the main seating outside at picnic tables made out of a grayish hard plastic with black metal legs and supports.
Even if this restaurant was open, this past week wasn’t one for dining outside. On occasion, we receive snow here in southeastern AZ. There wasn’t any around where I live except on top of Mt. Graham. There was, here, in Greenlee county. Thankfully, it doesn’t stay on the ground for days like it does in my home state of Michigan. Usually a day here at the most. All I can say is desert plants are tough. No matter how snow laden the cacti or agave gets - they thaw out and continue to thrive like the rest of us. The Prickly Pear cactus around my house usually only meets its demise at the jaws of wandering jack rabbits.
Speaking of eating. . . I placed, documented and photographed art piece #78 on the sill of the window where one would place and pick-up their food order.
"That’ll be one green chile burro for Mr. Cowboy and a bean burro with cheese for Mr. Indian, please." Since neither of them are actual living creatures and just plastic figures integrated into an art piece - I doubt they’ll ever mind if a soul never returns to reopen the restaurant. Art, agave and cacti endure.

Clifton Social Club Clifton, AZ January 11, 2011

The Clifton Social Club is not located in a very social place. By that it I mean the street it is located on, Chase Creek. That street is so narrow that barely two cars can pass one another. Parking a car on that street is a no-no unless one can squeeze into a space across the street from Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Back in the late 1800's - early 1900's, Chase Creek was the center of activity in Clifton.
Mexican laborers, who worked in the copper mine, built homes on Chase Creek because the land was cheap and the smelter was located at one end of the street. A smelter is used to fuse or melt ore so the metal can be separated from it. Living on Chase Creek made the walk to work quick and easy.
I asked around but couldn’t find when the Clifton Social Club had its origins on Chase Creek. Could it have been in 1905, after Judge McCalister reinstated the law that mandated that no houses of ill repute could be located within one hundred feet of the highway? Might have the Clifton Social Club replace some other establishments of socialization?
I placed, photographed and documented art piece #77 in the corner of the doorway at the Clifton Social Club. The main door was secured by a heavy, large link, chain and lock.
It wasn’t until I got back to Safford that I learned that the Clifton Social Club was still rented out for social functions. In fact, a party was planned in there for Super Bowl Sunday. Thinking about it, maybe art piece #77 will be brought inside for the super bowl festivities? Will that be a beer or soda for you Mr. Cowboy and for you Mr. Indian?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1622 14th Avenue Safford, AZ January 11, 2011

The city of Safford has an older established community of site-built houses that surround the hospital, a few dentists’ and doctors’ clinics. A few blocks from the hospital is a wooden house, barn and a few sheds that are half standing and are slowly continuing to crumble. This beat up farm house and its buddies, which include a pick-up truck, are quite the eye sore amongst the beautiful, modern brick houses with their surrounding simple, meticulous landscaping. I remember when I drove down this street in 2006 and assumed that this neighborhood monstorousity was to be torn down. Its still here and calling my name.
I placed, photographed and documented #79 on the edge of a cement feed trough, in the only stall, of what was left of the barn still standing. There was some old horse manure in the stall, of course. However, in a stainless steel wire basket were what appeared to be the folded, fairly clean clothes of a very small child. Not far from the basket of clothes was a cherry red, dirty, brocade, polyester sofa cushion. That was it. It looked more to me like these items were from the former occupant and not one of a squatter.
Later on in the day I asked someone who worked at the hospital and use to live on that street - the story of the old farm house. He has some ideas but wasn’t really sure though. The man appeared to care less about its existence.
All I could think about as I drove home that evening was the basket of neatly folded children’s clothes left in the stall. Some little boy or girl either out grew their clothes and got all new ones or went without any at all because of their forgetful parent. Hopefully the former instead of the later.

3339 Highway 191 Safford, AZ Jaunuary 3, 2011

A woman once told me that her boyfriend made her and her four young children live in the horrible, deteriorating abode at this address. When I first moved to Graham County in March, 2006 - I was employed as a psychotherapist at the only community mental health outpatient clinic in the county. The former occupant was one of my therapy clients.
I knew that no one was living there now by the accumulation of huge, dead tumbleweeds around the house. I placed, photographed and documented #75 on an outside windowsill of the home which was no easy feat because of the tumbleweeds. They may’ve have been dead but they were still prickly and impossible to avoid. The one reassurance I had about the placement was the time of the year. It was January and the odds were high that I wouldn’t encounter a snoozing rattlesnake amongst the dead fauna.
Part of the bottom left corner of door was missing. As if someone, at some time, tried to kick it in. Friend or foe? My guess -the friend, who was a lover, became a foe. No fairy tale ending for this love story. Just a reminder of lost hope.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Highway 80, AZ - December 7, 2010

It was fun having a "Thelma" with me when I was placing, photographing and documenting cowboy and indian icon art pieces. Usually, the only other "witness" to the process of this art project is my blog. I so enjoyed her enthusiasm towards the artistic process. It transcended the essence of the art project from creative task to adventure.
Yee Haw!
Francesca was a bit apprehensive about the next location I had chosen for placement.
The sun was now starting to set. Driving down the highway back to the ranch were long stretches of nothing much. On one of these stretches, an abandoned sea green building - the size and shape of a cabin - beckoned me to stop.
Now I’ve been exploring rural SE AZ for almost 3 ½ years. My only fears about entering an abandoned structure are falling through a spot on a rotting floor, loose shingles or boards descending from the sky or Mother Nature - a snoozing poisonous spider, snake, scorpion or other startled animal of the four legged variety. Frankie, coming from a more industrial location in Great Britain, envisioned a wigged out homeless person attacking me while she watched on from the front seat of my car.
I own a permit to carry a concealed weapon. It not unusual for folks out here to travel with a gun in their vehicle as their second amendment right and fear of being left in a vulnerable situation out in no man’s land. I had my .22 Ruger hand gun with me - holstered. Frankie expressed having peace of mind. However, this wasn’t a western movie and I had no intention of firing the gun unless a coiled rattlesnake was ready to strike.
It turned out that the abode did not harbor any rattlesnakes or irrate vagabonds. There were quite a few books, stored in cardboard boxes, instead. I placed, photographed and documented #70 on an inside windowsill. It was difficult to photograph the cowboy and indian icon art piece from the outside. Francesca helped me out. She got out of the car, walked up to the windowsill and pointed straight to it for the photograph. Artistic mission accomplished with no casualties! We both laughed.
We were able to get back to Grapevine Ranch Canyon before the sun had completely set.
On the way to the mess hall and the company of other equine enthusiasts at supper, we drove by cowboy and indian icon art piece # 31, undisturbed. That one was placed at Grapevine Canyon Ranch on 4/12/10 - also without incident or casualty!
Long ago, there could’ve of been an incident when the artistic excursion could’ve met with foul consequences. This particular area has quite the history of Apache unrest. But for tonight our artistic adventure was just another story to tell around the supper table between mouthfuls of tender chicken, crunchy corn off the cob, tossed salad, buttery mashed potatoes and homemade cheesecake for dessert.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Desert Pony - Spirits & Food. Elfrida, AZ December 7, 2010

I had a silent partner on my this and the next cowboy and indian icon art placement.
Her name is Francesca - Frankie for short. I was attending "cowgirl college" at Grapevine Canyon Ranch in Pearce, AZ. The "college" consisted of a week’s training in barrel racing and other western horseback skills. Frankie had flew over from England to attend the week’s training. We hit it off as soon as we met. If Hollywood ever decided to do a remake of "Thelma and Louise," they could definitely cast us into the leading roles.
Frankie needed a ride to a store in Elfrida for some riding attire and I needed locations for two of my cowboy and indian icon art pieces. I offered her a ride to the store if she didn’t mind my stopping to place, photograph and document 2 of the pieces. Even though Frankie isn’t much of a conceptual art fanatic, she was up for any kind of adventure this Yankee was willing to put in her direction. She was in my car before I was.
We got to Elfrida which consisted of the western attire/feed store, post office and another store or two. Across the street from where we made our purchases was what use to be the only restaurant/bar for miles around called, "The Desert Pony." Hadn’t a clue how long it was closed but it looked like a good place set a cowboy and indian icon art piece to me.
On this occasion, Frankie sat in the front seat of the car while I placed, photographed and documented #74 on one of the restaurant’s front windowsills. As I finished up, I turned around and saw Frankie smiling through the windshield. I got back in the car and asked Frankie what the big smile was about. She replied, "You’re mad. I like it, Sharon! Where to now?" With that, we were headed back to Grapevine Canyon Ranch and the next cowboy and indian icon art placement. Hi Ho and away we go!