Anywho, #8

Dearest g.g.-

Hi, I'm back! Last June I headed home, to my beautiful birthplace of Tacoma, after a five month substitute teacher stint in Nome, Alaska. My Nome adventures culminated with a pause in a five year period of living and learning in several different cities, including, besides Nome, also Portland and Seattle.

So what adventures was I involved in between the summer of 2016 and now, summer of 2017?

Let me start with last summer. As I reached the ground in Seatac last June--after leaving the ground in Nome, AK--I, happily, had a project awaiting: I was chosen by the Cedar River Clinic (14th and Martin Luther King, Jr Way in Tacoma), through the Tacoma Murals Project, to design and complete a 16’ x 81’ mural on the exterior of their building. Out-of-my-skin excitement!!!

Cedar River Clinics offer woman-centered health care, along with LGBTQ care, and have a persistent weekly protester presence at their clinic creating neighborhood unease. Grateful for the Hilltop community’s patience, especially with the protesters, and the Hilltop's support, the clinic desired to show their appreciation through this mural.

After meeting with Cedar River Clinics, the Hilltop Business Association, the Hilltop Action Coalition, and surrounding businesses, 3 issues stood out: 1) the desire for more color in their community 2) more of the natural world represented and 3) organic shapes to soften the hard edge of urban structure.

Considering their collective thoughts regarding the mural site’s past, present and future, I designed a mural depicting colorful fabric flowing across the wall, past two sets of painted trompe l'oeil windows, breaking down the rigid lines of urban structure. Its twisting and turning bonds together the different “colors” of the Hilltop neighborhood, representing the LGBTQ community, different religions, ethnicity and gender, until eventually transforming into big, same color filled flowers.

Here is its development:

The different color options:

The final chosen design and color combination by Cedar River Clinics and the surrounding community:

The wall before painting. Photo by Teriscovkya Smith.

Jesse Peterson, my awesome assistant; he was terrific and so much fun! The Tacoma Murals Project assigned him to this project to gain his own experience of mural making.

A view of him, and also the wall after I sketched out the design, while I looked down from the scaffolding:

Scaffolding and the start of painting.

Friends visit. And pose.

Me, while painting. The mornings were cold as August and September advanced.

There are many treasured memories during my time painting this mural, wonderful friends that came to visit me and many friendships that were forged, but Henry's almost daily check-ins were golden. Here he is after giving me a hat on which he crocheted an added blue do-rag. It was even in the colors of the mural! So honored! From then on, that hat joined me on the scaffolding everyday. If you look closely, while in front of the mural, you might find his initials (HDW); I embedded them somewhere in the mural. Can you find them?

Jesse holding flags I made. One day a woman came dancing by and gave me these flags. They had a printed image I was not familiar with so I repainted them to look like my signature. They, along with Henry's hat, became our scaffolding mascots!

The final look!

Will write you with more very soon!

Much love,

mindy jo

 

Artist statement: collaborative mural on 11th and Market, Tacoma, WA

Humans, Join Us!™

By Mindy Barker and Kristin Giordano

Hey you! Yes, you, "driving" by in your car, texting. Notice the air quotes around "driving?" Don’t you know the dangers of texting while driving? I think Werner Herzog just did a documentary about it. You don’t know Werner Herzog? You should really look him up on Netflix™. The Criterion Collection® put out an entire box set of his films. You will not believe the scene with the tiny monkeys in Aguirre, Wrath of God.™

Sorry, I lost my train of thought for a sec. I was talking about danger, texting, and driving. Because there are alternatives. Have you ever considered the pleasures of bipedal locomotion? We have! The best way to begin walking is to find yourself an excellent pair of shoes. They should be comfortable, but please--try to be a bit stylish. You’re in public now. It is not okay to wear your pajamas to the store, and slippers are not shoes. You know who you are.

But seriously, have you ever seen a cuter bunch of baby chickens? One of them is wearing a helmet. By this time, you have probably gotten distracted and clicked on the YouTube™ cat video your cousin put on Facebook™. You really need to stop messing with your phone while you drive. You're becoming a menace. And you really shouldn’t hold a No-whip Mocha Frappuccino® and an iPhone™ while operating a motor vehicle, especially a stick shift. That's probably why the baby chicken has to wear a helmet all the time.

I see that you are now scrolling through the photo gallery on Flickr™ of cute animals in mugs. I mean, a baby hedgehog IN A MUG! That is literally the cutest thing ever. OMG, totes adorbs! Wait, no way, there’s one with two baby bunnies IN THE SAME MUG! WATCH FOR THE PEDESTRIAN!!!!! Jeez, you really need to focus.

If you take a break from looking at the hilarious thing George “Sulu” Takai just posted to Twitter™, you might notice that there is a large lemur on a skateboard on the side of a building downtown. That is horrendous! Oops, I meant to type “hilarious.” Stupid auto-correct! You know, you really shouldn’t try to post it to Instagram™ while you’re driving. But, oh, wait, never mind, you just did. No worries! But you should really pull over if you want to get the one of the meerkats in sneakers. It could totally go viral. For, like, 2 seconds.