Stories (2020-present)

Stories from the Streets or Being Seen (working titles) (2020-present)

 

This is the seed project for what will become a much larger, interactive, citywide performance experience. To begin, I have been awarded funding from 4Culture to collect interviews from people living on the street experiencing homelessness. My aim is to find individuals who would like to talk with me about their experience living on the street. I have found myself gravitating to these folks for two reasons: 1) My mother lived on the street for a period of time after I began living on my own, and before she ultimately was committed to Wester State hospital; and 2) I can’t help but see a clear correlation between out of control rental prices and the rapid increase in the homeless population in the northwest.

 

 

Through this funding I will compensate the individuals interviewed. I want to collect these interviews and geo tag the locations where the interviewees are living. In Seattle currently the people living on the street are routinely dislocated or swept from their established homes on the street, a practise that is both inhumane and, given that we are still in the grips of a worldwide pandemic, is all the more absurd an action to be taken against an already extremely vulnerable population. 
Once I have collected as many interviews as funding will allow for, I will create a website which houses all of these stories and cross references each one with a QR code that will be placed at the location of past residence for each individual I interview. This will create both a visual link to the inhabitants that occupied these street homes–prior to being displaced yet again–and determine a walking tour through Seattle that someone could follow to see these stories activated from one QR code to the next.
This first step will lay the groundwork for the larger piece. I will endeavor to fill in the path that is created from these stories with installation, both site specific and gallery. There will be sound that will accompany the viewer through this journey. There will be pre recorded performance that lives as a sort of ghost along this path. All this will come together to create a walking tour that can be entered at any point, at any time.

 

Natural Movement (2018)

(2018) New Mystics public installation located in Seattle’s Pioneer Square’s Nord alley.

 

Eight individually designed disks replaced the worn and in some cases damaged disks that have weathered summer and winter in the northwest for the last four years. Disk reads “THE BALD MAN IS WATCHING YOU”. Adhesive vinyl and acrylic paint, dimension 25” circle.

 

YENOM WEN (2017)

(2017) Installation by The New Mystics collective, CoCA, Seattle WA.

 

For this commissioned work, the New Mystics sourced discarded clothing from the streets of Seattle, and mirrors from craigslist. We fabricated black mirror letters that mounted to the wall and created all needed hardware. We glass etched the mirrors, and created a reflected point of observance revealing our collective question to the city. YENOM WEN NEW MONEY, what will Seattle do with the influx of cash, will a more equitable culture be ushered in or will tech destroy the last grasps of anything cool or derelict, full of character and creativity. This show navigated the space between being complicit in the current homeless struggle and reflecting on one’s disconnection between detritus and desire. We ask the question, what role will philanthropy play in this new frontier? 

 

Public Action (2017)

(2017) Commissioned public art sculpture, Velocity 2. Seattle WA

 

Speaking to the needs of our city and region. Expressing thoughts that have to be seen, heard and acted upon. A sense of permission emerges as one contributes clear messages into the public realm. We must do better to support the most vulnerable among us, we must recognize factually the displacement taking place in this area. We can not stand idly by as this effects all of us. Cardboard letters created with the help of artists Angel179 and NKO, approximate size 20′ by 20′. 

 

Cerulean Dream (2015)

(2015) Mural Installation, with New Mystics collective

 

Paying honor to a space that housed a fellow artist for years. In its last days before demolition, we came together to paint the entire inside of this home. We worked in shifts over the course of a week. We chose the name Cerulean Dream because the area this home was located in is called the Central District or CD for short. Blue was the chosen color for this project. We used so much paint that it started to leak through the floorboards and seep into the space below this apartment. Photos highlight my contributions.

 

Tiny Home (2015)

(2015) Center on Contemporary Art Un[contained] Residency, Seattle

 

I had recently been in the Bay Area performing and was struck by the tiny movable homes taking up no more than a parking space, I saw lining the streets in West Oakland. Upon learning I had been awarded this residency, I felt compelled to explore these movable tiny houses for myself, as I had not seen anything of this sort in the Northwest despite rampant homlessness. 
Using salvaged wood in tandem with other recycled/donated resources, I created a portable living space. By painting the exterior of the structure I aimed to make this home command the attention of those who would rather choose to ignore the state of homelessness and displacement in our area. The home acts as a billboard, stating in the most matter of fact way the basic necessity of having a roof over one’s head. Voicing through words the needed legislative action of RENT CONTROL to help create sensible affordable homes for those in need.
I can’t help but notice the increase in the past ten years of people living on the streets in Seattle, especially in the last three years. Can this temporary home be a sense of pride for the inhabitant? Could this action open the eyes of developers?

 

Addressing An Issue

Sal Bald (2015)

(2015) Mural painted as a memorial. Seattle WA

 

Mural painted as a memorial remembering time, effort, and thought, in a shared rehearsal space that had been in effect for over ten years. Drifting between streets and vacant lots, not far in our past is the ghost of a rainforest lush with wet green vegetation. Sometimes it works out who ends up with the last set of keys to get into a building slated for demolition. To bring this mural to life a hundred gallons of paint were delivered to the space, then over the course of a month the entire space roughly 40.000 square foot was painted (floors and walls). The walls are painted with 20 foot tall letters reading, MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN. Oddly enough to this day the building still has not been demolished, for reasons unknown.

 

City Unseen City Arts Feature May 2015

 

STar (2012)

(2012) Mural

 

Commissioned by Sound Transit for display on Capital Hills’ former red wall around the construction site of the light rail station. For the holidays, ten artists were paired with ten nonprofit organizations to create a work of art on a holiday star. I was paired with Velocity Dance Center. I created this geometric line pattern using painter’s tape and acrylic paint.

 

Photo Alex Garland

Mother Printed Poem (2012)

(2012) Text block printed on muslin, created for Mother for you I made this performance.

 

In developing my route for the performance of Mother for you I made this, I found myself gravitating towards the Federal Court House because I felt its backdrop during the performance could stand in as a symbol for the machine of America that forgets so many of its parts. I wanted to write a poem speaking to a courtroom and its judge: an only child pleading with the court/country’s constituents to see the forgotten and vulnerable, an only child pleading for the rights of his institutionalised mother. In my short film Listen I read this poem to an empty counsel chamber in Seattle’s City Hall. 

 

Photo Nate Watters

To create this work I first had to measure the length between a desirable grove of trees located in the courtyard of the Court House. Having the exact distances between each tree, I started to create the layout of each word and each sentence. I had to take into consideration the direction that the poem would unfurl from my belly and how the audience was going to be viewing this work as I wrapped this poem through the trees. Once I had these steps completed this allowed me to determine the total length that was going to be needed to both complete the poem and also begin sewing the full length of muslin together. In total this poem is a hundred and fifty feet long. I hand printed each letter of each word, meticulously measuring each sentence so that it fell in the middle of its allotted length. I created a special undershirt that had a built compartment that housed and allowed for the poem to look as though it was being pulled from my belly. When the poem was wrapped in the trees it created a five pointed star, I think of this as not a nod to the stars on the American flag but a ritual space delineation each and every time I completed the task of wrapping. I am truly proud of this particular performance element. I feel this work digs deep to speak truth to power, and for my love of my mother. (from Mother for you I made this performance)

 

Photo Nate Watters

Photo Nate Watters

Photo Nate Watters

Chin Mayo (2011)

(2011) Mural, FRED Wildlife Refuge Gallery, Seattle WA

 

Chin Mayo mural installation conceptualised and directed by Ezra Dickinson. This mural was created on the walls and floor of FRED Wildlife Refuge Gallery in Seattle, curated by Sean M. Johnson. Sixteen hours were spent masking out the gallery with painters tape. Sixteen hours were spent splattering paint using a number of different methods. Final touches were rolling out chunks of color, organizing the chaos to create the finished piece.

 

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