|8" x 10"|
reserved for exhibit
i got to thinking about feral structures again when kate lebo asked me to do a cover illustration, inspired by these photos by james d. griffioen, for her forthcoming book on wildcrafting. for a while now i've been pretty obsessed with the idea of abandonment, deterioration, decay, and obsolescence. there was a time when i painted a vintage of portland buildings that i knew, somehow, were going to be erased; either torn down or gentrified. and one day, while looking through a "daily painters" network, i found the paintings of stephen magsig to be highly compelling and similar in spirit: images of urban decay and recession in detriot. ultimately, the images were beautiful as evidence of the power of nature to regain control of its land. it was also interesting to see the results of an economic boom followed by a severe crash. i appreciate, and long for, a bygone era of architechture and building that celebrates true materials integrity, from the solid wood construction down to the copper pipes. with enough neglect, wood will decay or be eaten by insects, copper snatched for quick cash, and a once beautiful farmhouse crumbles to the earth, gone forever.
for the sake of progress and modernity, many architectural masterpieces are being mowed over like tiny frogs in the tall grass. take the story of waddles: designed by renowned architect pietro belluschi, it was renovated two years ago into a hooters without much ado. this kind of thing saddens me greatly. i am attached to the aesthetics of anything old, rusty, vintage, antique, because (as the old fellas say) they don't make things the way they used to. i also like things to stay the way they are. hasty progress frightens me, and so does change, because it so often overlooks the long-term repercussions and damages. if all we have left are memories of the past (and memories so often get skewed), if we can't see our past for what it was, how are we to learn anything at all?