Friday the 11th, I performed my FIRST EVER live painting event on site with the PATCH Project at Mel Lastman Square, North York, for the Cultura Festival – an exciting multi-weekend celebration of music, art, food, and film running every Friday night throughout July.
I arrived around 5 pm, welcomed by a funky yellow sign with my name on it. The 4′ X 8′ wooden board on which I would plunk my image had been primed already by the PATCH team and throughout the evening, these same folks kept I and my workspace brilliantly tended, leaving me nothing to think about but painting. As material demands such as changing murky water tend to bring me back to reality from the right-brained zone, having all such things taken care of brought on a kind of out-of-body experience, which persisted through most of the night!
In addition to Helen Huang – my young, industrious contact over the last few weeks of planning – no fewer than five (count ’em, 5!) interns from high school to post-grad worked around me, providing the crowd more information about PATCH and sister project, the STEPS initiative. One intern and student in urban planning, Remi, had impressively come from faraway Belgium just to get experience with PATCH/STEPS! Now that’s saying something. Other students Suviana, Savannah, and Melanie Tweeted the event (Check out Tweets here!: https://twitter.com/ThePatchProject/media) while Brian took shots with my camera. I’ll be compiling a short video with these soon.
My concept for the work was to incorporate everything happening around me in the picture, making for a fully interactive experience between myself and the crowd (hence the title). We had a steady stream of bystanders, many of whom stopped for a good while to check out the show. I loved how much intrigue we seemed to incite and answered some great audience questions, while a few knee-high assistants got down and dirty to help me fine-tune some compositional issues.
Over the waves of faces that appeared – some for minutes, others only for seconds – the most constant feature of the environment was this one particular tree that stared back at me while I kept looking up. I recorded faces for the first few hours, but the tree came forward as the subject for the picture, with a face of its own that emerged, suggesting the personality that our surroundings had achieved through this transformative process.
The picture will be on display for the next two Fridays at Cultura, so if you’re in the area, stop by to get a gander. As well as PATCH, a thanks goes out to the good people at North York Arts who were also at the event and helped coordinate with us.
Picture gallery for this event: https://theyxchange.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/pix-sound-of-the-crowd-cultura/