Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Twisted," for Creative Tuesdays, with a bit of Occupy/Octopi/Chalktopi thrown in-- Several topics that get twisted in many ways

So, I've finished my "Creative Tuesdays" post early!  Posting now before I get held up with anything else.

The piece below I begun for an art show that thus far has been indefinitely postponed, but I'm glad I was finally motivated to finish it, all the same.  I'm quite interested to see what everyone else will come up with for the "Twisted" theme :-D  As Mister Toast said, you could go anywhere from dark and macabre  to doughnuts with this one.  Perhaps someone will combine those two?  In any case!  

My piece is called "A Peaceful Chalk-topi."  On a literal level, I felt that the main cephalopod character has extraordinarily limber limbs.  Lucky for him, he can move his eight legs in almost any direction he desires, and thus, he has the ability to keep himself fairly "twisted" at all times, as he is doing below.

Apart from the Octopus and his legs, there are other reasons I am submitting this piece for the theme of "Twisted."  Topical reasons, which are a bit quieter now, but were much more spoken of this past summer.  I'll write those below the link to Creative Tuesdays-- I'm forewarning everyone it's a bit of a read, and touches upon a lot of different things.  So, no worries if it is too much!  I definitely understand wanting to focus on images rather than words.

And for anyone who wants to submit to this theme of "Twisted" for Creative Tuesdays, your submission is due on March twelfth, and the link you can use to submit is below:

Okay.  Now, onto the longer portion of the blog.  You've been forewarned, and may escape now if you need!  :-p

In Downtown Los Angeles, there's an Arts District that has openings across the district once a month, the second Thursday of the month.  Some months back, things got pretty crazy on art-walk night.  Actually, I happened to be passing through Downtown to catch the bus home, and inadvertently walked through the area which ultimately became a riot.  

 I don't want to go on about it, past explaining the story/how I think this relates to the overall theme of "twisted," because the entire Occupy conversation is one that polarizes people (and I prefer not to have fighting or unhappiness on Facebook, my blog, and so on; thank God this Interwebz stuff wasn't around when I was a teen and tween and I myself had no filter; but onward). 

Suffice it to say-- communication became rather "twisted" that night, which lead to the perfect storm of events.  People who were pro-Occupy were silently drawing pictures, and writing messages, on the sidewalk.  Riot police were sent over to watch what they were doing.  It became tense, and very uncomfortable-- I actually walked through at this point, but was rushing for my bus when I saw a large number of policemen in riot gear.  At the time, I had no idea what was happening, but knew if I stopped to watch there was a good chance I wouldn't make my bus.  And potentially worse.

News outlets covered it better than I can, but from what I read/what I heard from people who were actually there-- apparently drawing on the sidewalk was then said not to be legal, despite the fact that people had done so before at the art-walks, and no law enforcement/others had complained when it was not drawings or words of an Occupy message.  Hence the policemen/uncomfortable tension between them and the artists doing a silent "chalk-upy."  

However, despite some people thinking it was the artists/police who initially got into it, it seems that a third party-- some people who came to art walk mostly to drink/party/enjoy the good time (regardless of being patrons of the arts or not) were already pretty drunk by that point.  And, they then started fights with the law enforcement.  Chaos broke out between everybody, and anyone needing to pass through Downtown/get into their apartment there couldn't because it was a full scale riot, and artists who were exhibiting/vending that night did not have the best results, given all the craziness.

While I know many people have a problem with the Occupy movement, I think there is a lot of communication about it that gets "twisted."  I think the heart of the movement, with people who are being reasonable and want change-- a return to small business, and accountability for unfair corruption of big businesses, at the expense of most people-- is noble.  I support that.  I think that art and protests are ways that people in America have been able to express themselves forever, and that shouldn't change.  Unfortunately, I think that there are probably corruptions that many people are not privy to (which is "twisted," in many ways), which makes positive change more challenging. I also think communication gets extraordinarily "twisted," especially with people being so passionate about the many things going on in the world, and with people having opposing viewpoints.  

But one thing that I do not think should get distorted or "twisted," is something like an art-walk-- yes, some of it is to let loose and party, but for people who work as gallerists/illustrators/artists/something creative, those openings and afternoon through night long events are more than that.  It's the way many people make their livelihoods, and it's also many people's lifebloods and passions.  So, in the spirit of not losing sight of that, I think that Occupiers and Non-Occupiers should come together, enjoy the evening of creativity, and leave their differences at the door.  At least to the point where physical altercations/chaos/tear-gas doesn't have to be involved.   

The piece I did, obviously by now I suppose, was originally for a show whose theme was on "Octopi L.A."  The pun on Occupy/Octopi has been made frequently, and after the events of this past summer that I described above, a friend of mine who is a curator wanted to put a show together.  It's on indefinite hold, as I said-- but I knew when I made something for it, that I wanted it to focus on camaraderie, peace, and friendship.  So, the little girl is helping her protester Octopus friend-- and a bus with some more cephalopods are driving by; perhaps going all the way from DTLA to El Monte.  It's up to interpretation, but-- overall, I hope the point that comes across is peace, support, and love, and the right to state what you feel if you do not think something is fair.

Art-walk has been peaceful since, which is great.  Definitely hoping it stays that way.  I support peaceful art-making and gallery-going.  In any case, many thanks to those who made it this far in a very long blog, and thank you for reading my thoughts on friendly, peaceful, chalk-artist cephalopods.  Hopefully, these musings on the theme of "Twisted" were entertaining to you, and please come back for Mister Toast's weekly Creative Tuesdays challenges!

Here's the link to his blog overall:

Thanks for reading, and hope everyone has a great night.


MMm.. said...

WOW, Donna, when I saw that you had signed up I wondered if perhaps some mistake had been made@ But, way to go! It really is a perfect piece and very apropos story following for the "twisted" theme. Wow, how awesome that this theme elicited such an interesting write up and piece. Loved it. Thank you for your contribution.

And re: the story--sounds fairly typical how assemblies as such can be misconstrued in coverage, a perfect example being the Tea party assemblies apparently who while never having had one arrest, any instant of violence to anyone or even robbery, are presented as somehow dangerous when pictures afterwards show they left parks cleaner than when they got there.

I totally agree that is is a fundamental American right to peacefully protest and chalk drawing should be just fine. I think there was likely a fear of permanent graffiti to buildings as has been done before, aside from the violence at times too, no doubt made worse when a bunch of drunks come traipsing into an already volatile mix! The real losers to me there were the poor artists who, like you note, make their livelihoods in such fairs.

SO glad you are ok and thank again for your awesome write up. this will really kick us into gear! So can't wait to see what the rest of us do. I'm loving your idea of combing the themes of twisted.

Christine said...

wonderful art and interpretation of this theme Donna. Your message is loud and clear, opposing viewpoints, and a wish for peace...sigh!

linda (dots n doodles) said...

Such a story which must have been really frightening to experience. Your interpretation, love all the legs, is brilliant, as always.