New Orleans! I have already bounced to two or three other cities since NOLA. But, i thought Id let you know what it was like.HOT! Dman, i thought ATL was hot, it was burning up there.
The space we were painting at was called the Craig Cultural Center in Algiers section of NOLA-Which was not flodded by the storm.But it was damaged severely afterwards with most of the previous office spaces inside and the roof being damaged by the storm water. After the storm, the main organizers of the spot left town and returned later.
In fact, most people we talked to including organizers from YAYA in the 9th ward left the city and came back. So about the CCC in Algiers. Because we were delayed in ATL for so long we missed out on an opportunity to paint with their young people( who did an amazing project of color wood cut outs of life size people as symbols in the 9th ward), so we found a spot to crash with a great homie named candace who eric hooked up.Thank you Candance! Then we headed over to CCC checked out their outside wall and a wall they had inside. Then we tried to weigh our options because if we did the wall outside we might have faced hella rain-and we only had 4 or 5 days to do it. So we went and got a little R&R and relaxed for a day-then we decided on ptg the inner wall.
which you can see if you go to www.trustyourstruggle.com
This was a interesting process.We all came up with sketches, and i came up with a solid idea for a sketch which would involve a march of activists, mardi-gras dancers, nola indigenous tribes, children, even super human folks. We started on that idea and everyone got to working.We got about 40-45 % done with the mural and decided the flow wasnt working, so we repainted it!!!!!!
It was hard to erase some hard work, but Este/Shaun Turner came up with a really good idea for how to use elements of the piece and change the flow of people marhcing. So we re did it.Workingf from about 2 or 3 in the afternoon till about 5 or 6 in the morning most days. It was inside too so we got our fair share of paint fumes-even w/ ventilation. We got a lot of ideas and actual art direction which was hard to take at times but comforting because the homie Vince who was running the center with his brother Todd knew what he wanted to see.
Man, this was a huge growing lesson as an artist-why?? Because some of my shit got painted over and my idea was not the original one it formed into.
BUT, as an artist in a group, you have to work together and you must be ok with making what will turn out the best for the center or spot.And it did-it came oput really dope! I swallowed my artist ego and invested in working with the group so that one artists stuff wasnt dominating one particular area.
We all have diff styles so we mixed up the placement of people and styles so it looks more like a group of people and not "I drew those characters", "I did that", etc. Which is hard-because we are all so dope individually-we come together and form much better artwork when we allow each other to take the lead, when we take adviuce from each other, and when we go with the flow-instead of saying "im not going to do it because its not my way"-even tho sometimes u feel a little frustrated-I sure did. This is a lesson for all you artists out there reading this-be dope on youre own and with a group of other artists!
We also collaborated with a brother there named Monk-who kept the dope music flowing when he wasnt at school.
We got to meet some of the folks from YAYA-and they gave us a quick tour of the 9th ward.Mann, yawl, there were about 5% of homes left where there used to be a neighborhood. The grass, the weeds, the earth had overgrown the whole area.They spoke of their experience there, their return, fema's response, the markings to tell you who was alive or dead in the homes, how there was so much anger, desperation, and yet-defiance and triumph over all that. I wish I could get into it more-but I'll just say that YAYA is doing some great work and bringing up their youth right.
We met some interesting characters too in this city.When we were chillin w/ the locals in some of the clubs or after hours areas- i discovered that you could pretty much drink anywhere outside as long as you had a cup-not a glass, that people there have a rich istory of jazz, blues, partying, and that their resilience wont stop. The care-taker of the CCC was an interesting cat named Farley-who always referred to himself in the 3rd person and well, ask me more if i see you. The dude Vince was a activists, spiritual, about the upliftment of the black community, not down with cracker ass bullshit, muthafucka. He was dope-and cussed every other word.Also we met this old brotha they called the Ghetto ,scientist-homie was trying to blow shit up-for real.
We also were lucky enough that we met some folks Greg and Jankai in ATL who hooked us up in NOLA. Greg was a retired police officer(who gave us all a new outlook on brothas in the police force-because he was so cool), and Janaki (gregs wife)who was hella invited us to their home in the ATL and brought some prominent media to interview us there-which was really great because when Vince saw them -he was super juiced!
Ahhh, we rocked it-and just finished at about midnight and jumped into the van to drive to Austin,TX.The folks really gave us a heartfelt goodbvye-and actually told us they would miss us.Wow, I was touched.
since then we ptd a mural in TX, and escaped TX, and were now in Arizona planning another one.I cant wait to see my boy!