A Gorgeous Fiend

“I can’t help being a gorgeous fiend. It’s just the card I drew.”
― Anne Rice, The Queen of the Damned

Mexican Vampire Kiss Mural, Cozumel, Mexico

 

 

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

“How dare you laugh,” Mr. Thomas said. “It was my house. My house.”

“I’m sorry,” the driver said, making heroic efforts, but when he remembered
the sudden check to his lorry, the crash of bricks falling, he became
convulsed again. One moment the house had stood there with such dignity
between the bomb sites like a man in a top hat, and then, bang, crash, there
wasn’t anything left—not anything. He said, “I’m sorry. I can’t help it, Mr.
Thomas. There’s nothing personal, but you got to admit it’s funny.”
—-Graham Greene, The Destructors

Destroyed V-Bike, Arts District, Dallas, Texas

I found this destroyed V-Bike when I was taking a photo of the mural called “The Storm” on the Ace Parking Garage at 717 Leonard Street for yesterday’s blog entry. If you look in the lower right portion of the photo of the mural you can see the bike, sort of – gives a sense of scale.

The full mural (previous photo center bottom) – Ace Parking, Dallas, “The Storm” Art Mural on Ace Parking Garage at 717 Leonard Street

If you live in Dallas, you are used to seeing bike share bikes broken all over the place. This one was in particularly bad shape – it looks like it was torn apart by a T-Rex. I assume it was run over – hopefully nobody was riding it at the time.

I have wanted to write about the saga – the rise and fall – of the bike sharing movement in Dallas, but it is/was too complex/bizarre/exciting/sad and kept changing – writing about it was like nailing jelly to a tree.

This Texas Monthly Article is as good a summary as you will read. In short, four or five companies jumped on the Dallas dockless bike share bandwagon and tried to stake out territory by putting thousands upon thousands of bikes out on the streets and sidewalks. They were everywhere. Then, there was a predictable crash and now you rarely see a rideable bike – except a lot of homeless have hacksawed the locks off and are riding them for free. Where the bikes failed they were replaced by electric scooters – which seem to be more practical for a few reasons.

I have mixed feelings – of course I loved the idea of the dockless bikes, freedom and anarchy and all that, even though I couldn’t imagine actually riding one (I have one of my personal bikes with me almost all the time in Dallas). The highly regulated bike share in New Orleans seems to work very well (though that is a tourist city – something completely different). And I do find the scooters useful.

So I’ll just be sad at the torn up bikes. Especially the V-Bikes – they were assembled locally and have some interesting innovations – single front fork blade and chainstay, enclosed shaft drive, and no-flat tires for example. They did have one fatal flaw though – the seats weren’t adjustable and I am too tall and couldn’t ever ride one.

Two V-Bike share bikes flanking my vintage Cannondale at Mockingbird DART station, Dallas, Texas

Shaft drive on a V-Bike bike share bike.

The Maestro’s Button

“My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddlestrings and harps, drums and tamboura I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

The button on the Maestro’s shirt – detail from “The Storm” a mural on Ace Parking Garage at 717 Leonard Street, Dallas, Texas

The full mural (previous photo center bottom) – Ace Parking, Dallas, “The Storm” Art Mural on Ace Parking Garage at 717 Leonard Street

People Get Brain Fade

“This is what comes from the wrong kind of attentiveness. People get brain fade. This is because they’ve forgotten how to listen and look as children. They’ve forgotten how to collect data. In the psychic sense a forest fire on TV is on a lower plane than a ten-second spot for Automatic Dishwasher All. The commercial has deeper waves, deeper emanations. But we have reversed the relative significance of these things. This is why people’s eyes, ears, brains and nervous systems have grown weary. It’s a simple case of misuse.”
― Don DeLillo, White Noise

Fading, Peeling Mural, somewhere in Dallas, Texas

The Job Is Not the Work

“The job is what you do when you are told what to do. The job is showing up at the factory, following instructions, meeting spec, and being managed.

Someone can always do your job a little better or faster or cheaper than you can.

The job might be difficult, it might require skill, but it’s a job.

Your art is what you do when no one can tell you exactly how to do it. Your art is the act of taking personal responsibility, challenging the status quo, and changing people.

I call the process of doing your art ‘the work.’ It’s possible to have a job and do the work, too. In fact, that’s how you become a linchpin.

The job is not the work.”
― Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Mural Artist at work, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

The Finished Mural, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Insanity is Relative

“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.”
― Ray Bradbury

Mural by Frank Campagna, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

The other weekend, riding scooters around Deep Ellum, I saw this relatively new mural done by Frank Campagna. I liked how it used the vertical pipes as 3D cage bars.

Frank Campagna is one of the owners of Kettle Gallery and is one of the earliest artists and supporters of Deep Ellum’s latest renaissance. I took a mural tour of Deep Ellum once, lead by Frank, and it was really fun. Not only did I learn some of the philosophy of urban murals – he and I are approximately the same age and his tales of Deep Ellum in one of its earlier heydays in the 1980’s were parallel to some of my more hazy memories.

(click to enlarge)
Frank Campagna mural, Hickory Street, Dallas, Texas