And few, if any, of those portraits are profiles. These folk have eyes wide open and look squarely at the passers-by, without smiling. Colors are bold; lines simple and direct, message clear.
We are watching you.
Eyes on the street.
This portrait, painted on a turquoise ground is tacked to a piece weather-worn particle board that seals a window or some other point of entry. The portrait is not at eye-level -- I had to crouch down to take this picture -- but it stabs out at the street with a ferocity both tender and pure. You can't miss it.
Please don't bomb our neighborhood.
They'll bulldoze our buildings
If you want to survive, don't toss trash.
Life is hard. Make art.
I love the power of this young girl's gaze and I like how she rises like a wind above the layered 'tags' that cover the door. That scribble beneath is sand beneath her feet' it shifts and breathes.
A serious painting on a serious street.
This much larger portrait, spray painted on the wooden slats slipped into a 8' high chain-link fence, gazes seductively at those who pass, her ruby lips and blushed lips drawing the gaze away from the bullets strung across her chest. She may be looking slightly askance but there is no question that she knows exactly where you are and who you are. Make no mistake; she sees you with greater clarity than you see her. She is the guardian angel of the street, but if she is an angel, she is an angel of both creation and destruction. She knows how to fly and how to burn. She is paradise on edge.
PARADISE HAS TEETH
Two Norfolk pines catch x-rayed sun
as angled blades pinned to branches still wet
with rain: the morning keeps its threat
of storm. Eve sits, relieved of passion.
She lights a candle, then lays the match on
On lava stone, watches it burn to red,
then to black. Thunder rolls. She’s been misled--
Here’s the question: Why didn’t she catch on?
Her solitude is remarkable: ice
cold, fragile, electric blue. She finds need
dissolved beneath her tongue. She’s been deceived--
redesigned by archangels who first twice
refused the logic of her words, then turned
aside. When rescued from flames, she still burns.