The Life of a Ghost

“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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

I took the above photo(s) during the last Hidden Art Bicycle Tour. The mural is along Hickory Street, between The Cedars and Fair Park. Frank Campagna painted it – he has done a series of murals in this spot. It’s always sad to see an old one go – but that’s the transient nature of murals – they come and then they go.

Obviously, I took two shots, one with cyclists, one without – and layered them in Photoshop.

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Robots on the Walls

“You mean old books?”
“Stories written before space travel but about space travel.”
“How could there have been stories about space travel before –”
“The writers,” Pris said, “made it up.”
― Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Hickory and Trunk Streets, Dallas, Texas

On our Hidden Art Bicycle Ride today we came across a building with robots painted on it. A very large building, but one on a street you don’t drive on very often. I had been there before, many times, on a bicycle, but the robots weren’t there. It was cool to see.

Flowers Are So Inconsistent!

“She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her… I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her…”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Deep Ellum Art Park Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park
Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park
Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum Art Park

The Abyss Will Gaze Back Into You

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Something In front of Braindead Brewing Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Something
In front of
Braindead Brewing
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Gorgeousness and Gorgeosity Made Flesh

“Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

When looking at street art – murals especially – there is a thin line between art and graffiti and advertisement.

For example, this one – is obviously an advertisement for the band The Orange and their new album, Sharing Vitamins.

But it’s still cool – first, because it is cool. Second, because it is actually painted by the leader of the group, Scott Tucker, and he is a second generation professional mural painter, as well as a musician.

It doesn’t get an better than that… now does it my droogs.

Rodeo Clown Vibrations

Rodeo clown vibrations are crackin’ the skulls of false gods.
—-written in blue Sharpie on the side of an abandoned computer monitor

I am, of course, a fan of street art – the odder the better – and of guerrilla publishing. In my wanderings around town, I once stumbled across an interesting piece of text plastered up on a wall in Deep Ellum – Text on the Streets.

Stuck on a plywood-covered window. Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Stuck on a plywood-covered window. Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Then, over a year later, I found the same work stuck in a bottle on a park table in Oak Cliff – Message in a Bottle – Shazam!

Message in a Bottle

Message in a Bottle

I have wondered about the artist – and wasn’t able to find out much. Some other folks were looking too, and I found a few examples of his work photographed and posted on the internet.
Here
Here
Here
Here

Then, this weekend, another year later, I found more of the artist’s work in Deep Ellum.

First, I stumbled across a pink decorated metal box on an out-of-the-way stoop.

Box found  Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

Box found
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

Inside the box was a Xeroxed art work, with writing on the reverse.

Fantastic Cosmic Kismet Vibrations are flowing to you and through you NOW!

Fantastic Cosmic Kismet Vibrations are flowing to you and through you NOW!

Obviously the same person. Walking onward, I found that he had kicked his stuff up a notch. In front of Braindead Brewing I found an old decorated computer monitor. It is good to see that in the last few years he has learned how to spell Hootenanny.

The Future is Now Deep Ellum Dallas, Texas

The Future is Now
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

The Universal Flow has led you to this exact moment in time and space.

The Universal Flow has led you to this exact moment in time and space.

Rodeo Clown Vibrations

Rodeo Clown Vibrations

Really cool stuff. I bow down.

Oh, and by the way, on the piece of paper found in the box, I discovered a clue that led me to find the artist… they even have a Facebook Page.

So who is it? I don’t think I’ll let on. Find it yourself. The clues are there.

Jean-Michel Basquiat on the Wall of a Liquor Store

I was a really lousy artist as a kid. Too abstract expressionist; or I’d draw a big ram’s head, really messy. I’d never win painting contests. I remember losing to a guy who did a perfect Spiderman.
—-Jean-Michel Basquiat

This last weekend, I dragged myself out of bed… if not exactly very early, then rather earlier than later. I thought of what I needed to do with the rapidly slipping away day and I thought, “I need some miles and some photos.”

So I packed my camera into a handlebar bag and rode to the DART station – intending on taking the next train that pulled in, no matter which direction it was going. The Red Line came first, going south, so I headed downtown.

The day was warming quickly and I didn’t feel very good – so I wasn’t going to be able to get as many miles as I wanted. I rode to Klyde Warren Park and picked up something to eat from a Food Truck, read a book, and rested for a bit. Then I headed to Deep Ellum to see what I could see.

Sometimes, it’s important to be able to trust fate, to follow your nose and see where you end up.

As I crossed Ross I saw someone up on a ladder spray painting a mural on the back wall of a building. I’m a big fan of urban murals but have rarely been able to see one actually being made. The artist was working off a photoshopped photo of the site with the design, taped to the wall. I parked my bike and dug out my camera.

The mural was being painted by an artist from Denton, Eric Mancini. He said he was Velcro-ing some artworks to the building when the owner came out and told him he had been thinking about placing a mural there. Eric was glad to comply.

The mural was a stylized Technicolor portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat. “You can tell by the hair,” Mancini said.

We chatted a bit about art, about Denton (“Denton has become what Austin thinks it is” – one of my favorite sayings), this and that. “I’ll finish this later today and then do one of my tree paintings on the rest of the wall,” he said. He needed to get painting and I needed to get some more miles so I packed up and rode off – he climbed back up his ladder.

Now, this weekend I’ll go back and take some photos of the finished work. More photos, more miles.

Eric Mancini painting a mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat Downtown Dallas, Texas

Eric Mancini painting a mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Downtown Dallas, Texas

Eric Mancini painting a mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat Downtown Dallas, Texas

Eric Mancini painting a mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Downtown Dallas, Texas

Design for an Eric Mancini mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat Downtown Dallas, Texas

Design for an Eric Mancini mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Downtown Dallas, Texas

Eric Mancini painting a mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat Downtown Dallas, Texas

Eric Mancini painting a mural of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Downtown Dallas, Texas