Tag: public art

The Boulevards: Artist Residency Update

Canton Boulevards Neighborhood Public Art

Around the county, a number of disasters have socked Americans in the gut in recent weeks. Whether it was the mighty force of nature hitting Oklahoma with violent tornadoes, the negligence of forethought with a fertilizer plant exploding and leveling the small town of West, TX, or the terror of extremists bombing the Boston Marathon, our collective expressions of horror have been uttered all too often of late.

We could call it the “Spring of Aghast”.

Although it in no way approaches the horrific nature of the aforementioned disasters, a small taste of the “Spring of Aghast” has touched my own community of The Boulevards where I am engaged as an Artist in Residence.

Canton Boulevards Neighborhood Public Art Vandalism

On Wednesday, May 29, 2013, we discovered that last year’s Boulevards’ art project had been vandalized at the hands of someone who apparently attempted to steal the very well anchored pieces.

Unable to simply pull them out, the thief broke 2 of the painted houses and knocked over others as they attempted to pull out the deep posts anchoring them. One of the broken houses was taken, but the others were still in place.

Like Moore, OK, West, TX, and Boston, MA, The Boulevards is a quality community that is full of good people. It is a safe neighborhood that is characterized by people who take pride in their homes and community.

It is not at all defined by this unfortunate act perpetrated by a goofball. In fact, we suspect that this was done by someone outside of the area.

Our motto is truthful: “The Boulevards: A Community of Creative People Who Care About Their Community”.

When disaster strikes, or when fools destroy the creative works of proud people, the first human response is emotional pain. It hurts and we can’t escape from the reality that our world has been assaulted.

After adjusting to the new realities of vulnerability and destruction, however, the next human response is to get creating and building, fixing what was broken and renewing our human commitment to creativity.

Not only do we fix-up what was broken, we make it better, and we allow our pride to drive us to doing more creative works that perhaps we would not have been previously inspired to do.

So to the goofball thief hoarding a broken green house in his or her home, I hope you are enjoying it. You won’t be able to share it with others, as everyone knows where it came from, and it has been reported to the police as stolen property.

Your little stunt has emboldened Boulevards residents to become more involved instead of scaring them into resignation.

We won’t waste our time trying to find you, as we have better things to do. Try it again, though, and you will be caught, as extra security will accompany future projects.

And there will be future projects – lots of them! I have been meeting with residents and we are making big plans for this year’s project. Stay tuned – designs and plans will be announced soon!

Follow activities in The Boulevards at our new blog and website!

Safe Animals Safe Kids – Art for a Purpose

"Safe Animals Safe Kids" mural by BZTAT

It has taken me several months to complete, but my first Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause mural is complete! We will be hanging it on the side of the Imperial Room, a restaurant/lounge in the Canton Ohio Art’s District, tomorrow (August 1) starting at 9:00 AM.

You can see the photos of each stage of the mural’s creation here on my Google+ photo page. (Never fear if you are not yet on G+. You can still see the photo album.) New photos will be added throughout the day as we go through the process of hanging it on the wall.

I also encourage you to check out the website for Okey’s Promise where you can read about the project and learn about how animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence are all connected. Also, follow the latest activity on the Okey’s Promise Facebook Fan Page!

The mural will be dedicated during the Frist Friday festivities on Friday August 5. If you cannot make it to Canton, there will be a live broadcast on UStream so you can attend from afar! You can sign up on the Facebook Event Page if you’d like to be a part of things on location or virtually.

What: Dedication of the “Safe Animals Safe Kids” mural by artist BZTAT

Where: 420 Court Ave. NW, Canton, OH

When: Friday, August 5 at 7:30 pm

I hope to see you there – in Canton or in cyberspace!

Okey's Promise: Safe Animals – Safe Kids

Safe Animals Safe Kids

I am a mural artist. I like to create large scale public art that can be enjoyed by everyone, not just the select few people who make their way into a gallery or museum.

Most artists aspire to have their work shown in a gallery or museum. Not me. I would rather have my art seen on building on a city street where thousands can see it as they drive or walk by.

I also like to create art that has a purpose of motivating and inspiring people to make change in the world.

My artistic ideal is not exactly an easy path. Finding a way to finance public art with an altruistic purpose is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Typically, you have to submit laborious grant proposals or enter competitions to gain public art funding. Your chances are slim to none in such efforts, and your efforts are often judged by people who have no concept of what you hope to achieve.

If I take the typical route, it will take months to gain the funding, if I get it at all. There is a good chance that I would lose out to another worthy project, and my artistic vision would also be at risk of being altered by less visionary community leaders.

I have a passion and a vision with Okey’s Promise. It is a project that simply must be done.

I know that there are people who share my passion and are inspired by my vision. And I know that they can help me fulfill the vision. Are you one of them?

Are you intrigued enough to explore a bit more and join me in my artistic adventure?

Okey’s Promise is a public art project designed to create public awareness about the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.

These issues are deeply connect and need to be addressed together, not one in isolation of each other. When animals are suffering in a home or a community, children are likely to be suffering as well.

Yet merely sharing the facts doesn’t seem to get the point across.

Creating artwork that is highly visible to the community has a greater chance of connecting the dots for people. It is easy to ignore a fact sheet, but hard to dismiss a powerful public artwork that reaches out to you each day as you drive by it.

Please visit my Okey’s Promise website to learn more and to read about my unique plan for funding the project. You can also follow updates on Facebook.

Thanks. Your support means so much to me.