Thursday, March 24, 2011

Photography and JunkArt

In a clutter-control frenzy, I almost threw away all the old slides and negatives in the attic. Why would I look at these things again? I'm glad I didn't, because I've been finding amazing photographs everything from our cross-country motorcycle tour for Motorcyclist magazine to this  funky JunkArt project in Detroit of the 1990s.

If you recall, I bought that film/slide converter for cheap with help from Kohl's, my friend and serendipity. In my YoT (year of technology) it was easy to figure out. And get this, my sister Joanie who has always been more high-tech than me with cell phones and flat-screen tvs and dvds, I coached her, over the phone, how to work Facebook. What a different three months makes when saying Yes!

I'm a huge fan of JunkArt and this one is the ultimate! I think the city officials eventually made him take it down or they bulldozed it away. I don't know the name of the artist, but he must have lived here on this mostly abandoned street.
My sister Sue was the ultimate teacher. She taught in the school a block away from this. When she told me about it, I had to photograph it. There seems to be never I time, i wasn't pulling out my camera. I got or got gifted these cameras. Never one who wanted diamonds - I wanted a camera! Working with film at the time was tougher than it is now and there were a lot of great photo-ops missed because of some little mistake of unwound film, opened back to the camera, etc. But, like these photos, sometimes we got it, and now it doesn't exist anymore. Where I had my wedding doesn't exist. Where my best friend Ona Lei and I put our feet in Queen Anne's pond doesn't exist. Black Sand beach. The list goes on.

Paint, garbage and abandoned homes was his canvas. Where it was depressing, he made it beautiful at least for a moment.
I work with photography in my JunkArt children's books because I don't draw people very well. I wish for them to have  funny big-eyes way like the ones Gianna Marino draws. Jannell Cannon would be great, of course, but she'll be working hard on Headstrong Chicken. Unless David Wiesner takes that book on and then Jannell will be free to do this latest creation: "Hardly Present."

The plot of this tome is a cute blond round-headed boy named Hardly has too many aunties vying for his affection by sending him gifts in the mail. Of course the gifts are not anything he wants, but the love is genuine. Any resemblance between this and my son and all my many sisters, friends, and mother-in-law is of course completely coincidental.

Aunties among the JunkArt 1990s.
Where the Hardly idea came from: 1991, our honeymoon was in a camper with two dogs, touring American for six months. While in Monterey Bay, I found a live starfish. As you know, I am Naieva, and didn't quit think-it-through that it was not a good idea to send Joanie (the sister on the right) a live starfish in a cardboard box in the mail for a week. She was not thrilled to receive this package. Nor, the buffalo fur.

Also, my lovely mother-in-law still has the habit of sending us newspaper clippings by the bulk! It's pretty much universal that Grandmothers do this.

Both these occurances, germinated into Hardly Present. Friends have told me stories of birthday cakes that have arrived in the mail. tennis-racquet bug catchers, and even dirt. When Janell Cannon draws it, it's going to be soooo amazing. I want lots of stamp and postal-mark images throughout. I use the photographs for references to make it easier for her.

The names of the aunties are funny and depict what their like. For example, Lisa Home-Gagger sells real estate. Auntie Mona Lot-Gagger complains. You get the idea. They are all a gaggle of Gaggers!

Book: "Hardly Present"
There is always tennis and Rat Pack references in every book - it would not  be a Naieva book without it. 
Got to have the Starfish page! It was the genesis for the whole book.
And something Joanie still smells when going out to get the mail.

One of my favorite pages.
Nobody Likes Chain Mail.
Ha. Get it? He gets chain mail in the mail,
plus I really do hate chain mail!
Are we laughing?

Had to have the newspapers in there.
What are some of the other packages? And how to conclude this whole mess?

Well, "Auntie Drew Kraft-Gagger knows what's best for her favorite nephew! Art Appreciation of course. She'll be his mentor, and all those other Gaggers will be soooo jealous."

Then we go to Book Two. I apparently can't stop myself from making Trilogies. The poor kid has to do crafts he doesn't want to do, and man that' will be fun to JunkArt. We're talking giant metal rat sculptures, Duck-Tape Hula-hoops, you get the idea.

Art is Art even if it's Naieva and even if it's made out of garbage.

And photography is my life.


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