Walter Portz showing off his shining achievement!
I had a heartfelt moment the other night as I was conversing and watching Mr. Portz work on a mural that is about 260 ft long and 75 ft high. I love to watch mural painters because it is fascinating to watch people work on a canvas so large. So I have been visiting Walter Portz at night watching the progress, and it has been my highlight of the day riding by at night, and Walter said to me, “You are my only visitor that has come back multiple times.” I’m an art nerd like that, but it got me wondering why others are not watching this historic art piece take shape.
The picture above was from tonight, and Walter was putting on the finishing pieces so I wanted the first photo of the (almost) completed piece. I’m little disappointed he edited out the naked lady (I will update soon about her) but for the most part, the piece, which Walter edited several times in the process, is chocked full of fun imagery and context, and it looks a Hell of lot better then what the politicians left there.
This is a sticker design I came up with last night with elements of the mural (H/T to Shepard Fairey, yeah, I stole it 🙂
But it got me thinking about all the controversy and barbs thrown at Mr. Portz. For the record, Walter and I are NOT close, I only know him thru the skatepark association and several mutual friends and our love of art. That’s it. We are NOT in cahoots and I had NO idea he was working on this before it was announced. I want to make this clear because some people have made accusations that are simply not true, and laughable if they were. MOST of our conversations have been about the piece and what he might tweak. I know, weird that two artists would just sit and talk about art . . .
First off, Portz didn’t know the rejected mural artists, and did NOT do this to spite them. That is ludicrous. And while local artists will always dig on each other about style and form, it’s not cool to rip on someone who is doing something to beautify this town. We are all in this together. And while you might be jealous that someone got this sweet gig, that only means you should strive for it and look to it as inspiration. When I walk out of a fine art museum, all I want to do is paint! Be inspired by what he did in just a matter of weeks instead of angry about your missed opportunity!
The way the original proposed artists were treated was total bullcrap, and trust me, I worked my sources to get a picture of that mural, no luck, but you must separate this work from that one. One is about transparent government, that other is about taking a different approach. And all of this could actually come to a head if they would just SHOW us what they proposed. It’s hard to say you were treated unfairly if you don’t let us make an actual determination. We can’t do that if you don’t show us. So until that step is taken, I’m not buying the crocodile tears.
As for using AI, I had a good laugh with Walter about this the other night. I have been a visual artist most of my life and a graphic designer for 30 years, everything good I did as an artist or designer was stolen. Artists have done this for thousands of years. Greek architecture is used to this day! Considered the world’s greatest modern artist, Pablo Picasso, became famous by duplicating an ancient primitive form of African tribal and folk art. The most famous artist in the world was a Klepto! I know, SHOCKER!
AI, Photoshop, Illustrator Live Trace, blah, blah, blah, are all tools in an artist’s toolbox just like a paintbrush or easel. Nothing more. Nothing less.
While I like to bitch about a lot things, this is NOT one of them. A guy decided to cover up that awful wall with colorful paint and devised a plan to do it, did it, and now it is done.
Once in awhile you just have to look up at the canvas and say ‘Thank You’ because we got a million other concerns in this town besides what we will do Lenin’s Tomb at the Zoo. Dead for 99 years and looks like he died yesterday! Don’t tell anyone, but I think I saw an Arsenic tear roll down his face. Though it might just be cheeseburger grease. I heard the West Sioux folks are also angling to move his tomb to Sioux Falls. Watch out Arc of Dreams there’s a new shiny object in town! Well, kind of shiny.