Jude Corp Rules (judecorp) wrote,
Jude Corp Rules

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Via Colori Wrap Up (long, with photos)

(For the unenlightened, via colori was a street painting fundraiser for the Short North Business Association. It involved over 200 artists using pastels to create original artwork on the soon-to-be-opened widened portion of I-670. It happened this weekend here in C-bus.)

On Saturday, we got up at 8am (ugh) and began to get ready. We headed to the grocery store for some supplies for the cooler (drinks, chips, and apples) and then made it to the artists' parking lot. We hoofed our stuff to the welcome tent and there was an enormous line. There were mobs of artists and volunteers - it really was a sight to see. After waiting forever in the line for 6x6 squares, Gwen the Cheerleader Wanna-be informed us that we had been dropped down to a 4x4 square with no notice. Since we had gridded for a 6x6, we were a little on edge. When we got to our assigned square, we measured it and it was about 3.5x3 feet, which was thoroughly unacceptable. Jennifer went back to talk to Gwen, and I made friends with the CCAD students beside us. When Jen came back and told us Gwen basically said, "Tough cookies, toots," we opted to expand our square anyway, encroaching on the walking space between squares (our neighbors didn't mind). We made a nice 6x6 square, and I washed off the old markings. Neener! We were near the stage, which was cool when there was good music, but sucked when it was bad. /And/, in between sets they played the Moonstruck soundtrack over and over and over and over. I hope I never hear "That's Amore" or "Just a Gigolo" again.

First we gridded the square into 1 foot squares with a chalk line, and then Jen taped a piece of chalk onto a stick to sketch out our design (which we came up with Friday night, oops).

We created a color wash by beating sticks of pastel to dust and mixing with water, and we applied a wash of the dominant colors onto the sketch. Since we were mostly in the hot sun, it dried quickly. (We were then graced with a few hours of shade, thank goodness.) We spent the rest of the time working with the pastels directly on the asphalt. When the sun came back, ugh, it was like roasting.

We had a bit of stress (probably started by the square sizing stuff) over an artists' clash. Since Jen is used to directing young people on how to make art projects, she was directing my work. Because I am obnoxious and proud, I got really annoyed really quickly, and said a lot of things I will now blame on the heat, like, "If you're going to keep telling me I'm not doing it right, you can do it yourself." Yes, it was the heat on the black tar, I swear! Anyway, we took a little break to talk things out, and things went much more smoothly after that. Once we got back into our groove, time really flew by.

During our actual chalking, A. and his girlfriend came by and took some pictures, and they even brought us cold water! SCORE! We stuck it in our cooler, though, because we had scored free water already. They stayed for about half an hour, which was fun. Once our square was done, though, we saw a lot more people. Chalking on asphalt is /really/ hard on the knees. Jen used hard roofer's knee pads, and I tried them but I didn't like the straps. I spent most of the time kneeling or sitting on my Crazy Creek chair (love that thing).

People kept coming by while we were working (that was kind of the point, the whole "artists in action" thing), and they wanted to know what the text was saying. They got really insistent, so we started handing them our sketch of the thing to appease them. I tried being mean and telling them to come back, but I caved - I'm such a softy. Eventually, we were finished! We're perfectionists, though, so we kept doing touch-ups, like erasing our guidelines, and fixing smudges, and other totally annoying things. OCD at its finest! I think all the anal-retentive effort was worth it, though:

(The text reads: Sunscreen: $5.00 / Wedding Bands: $500.00 / Trip to San Francisco: $2100.00 / Marrying the Girl of Her Dreams: Priceless)

We got some great feedback! Nearly everyone who walked past our square stopped to get a good look at it, because it had words on it that they had to read. Almost all of the reactions were positive - it was like a train wreck, because Jennifer and I couldn't leave. We were obsessed with watching people's reactions! Most of the people who walked by gave smiles, laughs, or generally good reactions. There were lots and lots and LOTS of lesbians there (must have been a popular chicks-who-dig-chicks thing to do), and we got a lot of thumbs-up, and "how sweet"s and things like that. A totally hot woman asked if we were married - holy crap, she was beautiful. These two intoxicated gay men said something like, "Only $500 for wedding rings? MUST be lesbians!" Most gay men just thought we were absolutely adorable.

It proved to be a teachable moment for children, too - those poor parents! One girl (probably 10ish) kept reading it over and over. Finally, she said, "Daddy, it says 'Marrying the /girl/ of /her/ dreams.' That must be a girl and a girl. How can a girl marry another girl?" Her father said, "Hey! Don't you like that one over there?" and led her promptly away. We couldn't stop laughing. Other parents answered their kids with winks, or uncomfortable smiles, and one woman said something like, "It's called being open-minded." We liked her. But since it was an art event, and in the Short North, almost everyone loved it.

At one point, a man in a Via Colori tshirt came up to us and asked if we would be there for fifteen minutes, and said he would be back with something for us. When he returned, he explained that he was somehow in charge of the Via Colori phenomenon and he loved our square. He said that he was involved in a collaborative music effort that took love songs written by men for women, and had a woman sing them. He then gave us their CD. How cool! So now we have a free CD of "la musique d'amour."

Happy Chichester came on at 8pm and I was glad I waited to hear, because the set was really awesome. I am now definitely a fan (thanks, Sean!). We left at 9:30pm or so to scrape gads of pastels and sweat off our stanky bodies and chill in front of the television. It was after the movie that we began to realize how sore we were. Holy crap on a crap cracker, but I feel like I ran a marathon. My quads are /killing/ me, even to touch, and my hammies are incredibly tight also. My right hand is cramped like it was after my comprehensive exam, and my whole body is just totally exhausted. Art is hard work! I am /so/ satisfied, though, and /so/ incredibly glad we did it!

Here are some of my favorite squares (the second one is one of my favorite local artists evar, Adam Brouillette, and the fourth is - we think - another KYC volunteer):

Tomorrow I think I'll bike down and see what the rain left behind.
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