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Saturday, January 8, 2011

PSTIX, An Ongoing Series

This is a series I started working on a few ago, and it has kept my interest enough through the years that I revisit it from time to time. I had a small show in 2010 with a few of these pieces. The show gave me an opportunity to fill the story out with a variety of images and media. Here's the work from that show.

Graphite On Paper:

Abstract Watercolors (with popsicle juice...)

and some sculpture pieces:

#1 "Imbedded"
#2 "Pinned In Flight" (on black velvet, in figured maple)

#3 "Sword In Stone" (with various substances one might find on a sidewalk for natural coloration, use your imagination)

And here's the story behind all of this:
When I was a little boy I lived in El Cajon, California, a little horse town in those days near San Diego. We all had ranches, small but generally with horses and corrals. It was safe then. We'd walk to school alone through the corrals and when my Mom felt like I had grown up enough, and I hadn't picked on my little sister that day, we could walk to Stoney's Rock and Roll Market to get a popsicle or a squirt gun. Stoney's was down the road a ways so it was a big deal for a 6 or 7 year old to go by himself or with a friend. But this was mid 50's and Elvis was just becoming someone to listen to, you get the idea. It was usually hot so a popsicle was a treat, had to eat it quick or it would melt before we got home. With all of us kids going off to Stoney's all the time you can imagine all of the abandoned sticks along the path as we made our way home.

We usually had a pickup baseball game after school with the neighbor kids in the corral next door, making sure my home runs didn't hit the horse at the other end of the corral (there weren't very many but I could fantasize). We didn't have much for store bought toys in those days, we had to pretty much fend for ourselves and be creative, make our own. So back to the path on the way to Stoney's was a plethora of material for our imagination and budding woodworking skills. 

We had no need for the equipment and skills of a forge, a sidewalk sharpened our swords quite well. Of course a hammer and a nail were the perfect solution, whatever size nail was available after we raided the track house construction sites down the road to gather nails and whatever other cool stuff was left hanging around. No matter how hard I scratched my head I never could figure out why I wasn't a good enough to get those 16 penny nails to not split my popsicle sticks. And then what do I do with that big nail sticking out both ends?...bend the damn thing over. Enough time spent I got Indians to chase.

And then there was Sunday School. Creative thinking was the mother of necessity. I was raised by a Mom who was raised by a Quaker, who became a minister...and we had to go to Sunday School. It just took too much time away from important things like baseball, collecting coffee cans full of polywogs when it rained - which only happened every four score years in San Diego -  and swords. So I had to come up with creative solutions to getting out of Sunday School, never really got off on it. And besides it usually ended up meaning I had to be in a glee club performance or wearing my new suit on Easter Sunday. 

Come on, man, I got stuff to do. And Ronnie Kincaid doesn't have to go to church so why should I?

Stomach ache, head ache, stubbed toe, my sister has a broken collar bone (which I caused when I shoved her off the bunkbed, so I'm so full of remorse I can't make it to church this time)... starting to get the picture?

And then my Mom married Don. He was a big, mean, drunk son of a bitch who used to wreak havoc whenever he was around. I'll spare you the details but our sense of comfort and security got adjusted, so to speak. 

And God didn't save us, if He had I might never have played with these popsicle sticks.

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