Friday, June 13, 2008
The country is made up of many different regions. It is one of the ways we get our identity and in America identity is a big thing. I am a Californian, not by anything I did I just happen to be born here by a stroke of luck but it is part of my in group. It means something to be in that group just as being southern or western or a Yankee means something. Part of that meaning is derived from regional art. If you ever have the chance to travel through the Pennsylvania Dutch country you will see the hex signs painted on barns, very cool art for the fertility of the farm. In the Radmul region of the moment it is chainsaw art. Up and down the north coast of Cali carving stumps into cool stuff for the tourists is one way an artist can make a buck in an environment that because of limited transportation has little economic development. This is a region that derived its wealth from the exploitation of resources and once the trees were cut and the river fisheries screwed up the economy went into the crapper. The growing of pot has provided a positive cash flow with mixed effect. Criminal activity is probably not the best way to build a sustainable life style, but I digress.
As I ride through the towns and parks of the coast I try to take in the local art and remember how it was when I was a kid and how what gets made has changed over the years. There are still lots of bears and fish but some of the kitchy stuff from my youth has been replaced by dragons and unicorns. Of course Paul and Babe the blue ox are still there but now they have been joined by space aliens in Crescent city. Here are a few examples of the regional redwood art and some Aliens to boot. More can be found here and here on my photo storage sites. Hope you enjoy and someday get the chance to see them in person.