Monday, September 29, 2014

chalk art on a quiet street in Brooklyn

simple street art

I borrowed some chalk from Charlotte, the 11 year old daughter of my friends in Brooklyn. I then went down to the street to do something I hadn't done since 1982. I traced the shadow of a fire hydrant with a white outline on the cement of the sidewalk.

I did this same thing on the street right outside my dorm when I was a freshman at NYU, I traced the shadows cast by the streetlights with white chalk. At that time I worked hard and did most of the shadows along the entire north side of the block.  Curiously, Anne, the mother of Charlotte, also lived in that same dormitory on East 10th Street.

To get a really good effect you need a bright light without any other lights interfering. This fire hydrant was perfect, and I spent less than a minute bent over on the sidewalk.

I was a little embarrassed to be doing this, and I was glad there weren't may people around. I saw what I assumed to be a mother and daughter walking towards me just as I was finishing the outline. At that point I crossed the street and started outlining the shadow of a lamp post.

When I looked back, the mother and daughter were standing next to the door of a brownstone, this was close to the hydrant I had used for this little sidewalk adornment. They were both watching me. The street was dark, and they were poorly lit, and it felt a bit eerie. Not knowing what to do, I timidly waved hello. They both waved back with a kind of sweet happy energy.

Later that night, probably close to midnight, I walked back to my friends apartment. I stood on the stoop and before opening the door I looked across the street to the hydrant I had outlined a few hours earlier. There was a young Asian woman standing there staring at the shadow and chalk outline. A moment later she reached into her pocket, pulled out her phone and took a picture.

Comment from Oct 9th 2014
Wonderful! You do realize that this is the perfect visual metaphor for your blog and your research, right? Tracing the outlines of the shadow. In fact in your interview with Mary Rodwell you actually said, "There is a hidden experience that I feel I can only feel the shadowy outlines of..." at 1:13:54. I thought, "aha!" when you said that, thinking about this image.
Anthony
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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very cool!

Knocker said...

Now your work is set in posterity and it must have made the women feel special having been lucky enough to witness the artist doing something joyful. Playful, harmless and the best, good stuff.

Ward said...

Hey Mike, that one of the neatest/coolest/encouraging thing i have seen in a while.

Completely non-sequitur and enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful! You do realize that this is the perfect visual metaphor for your blog and your research, right? Tracing the outlines of the shadow. In fact in your interview with Mary Rodwell you actually said, "There is a hidden experience that I feel I can only feel the shadowy outlines of..." at 1:13:54. I thought, "aha!" when you said that, thinking about this image.

Anthony

Red Pill Junkie said...

You should do the same, but with YOU instead of a fire hydrant ;)