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.