“Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now. Otherwise, you’ll run out of time.” ~ Unknown
You’ve heard me mention The Burl Arcade, but in a separate building just across the parking lot, The Burl also offers live music. That building – seen here with this really cool mural by an unknown (to me) artist – sits beside the railroad tracks and just across the street from the old Pepper Distillery that, today, houses Goodfella’s Pizza, Crank and Boom Ice Cream, and a host of other eateries in the Distillery District of Lexington on Manchester Street. I especially liked the outdoor fire pit surrounded by what looked to be beach chairs. I look forward to seeing some live music at The Burl. I’ve threatened to go before. I think I’ll make that come true in 2019.
I didn’t have time (or the best lens) to snap a lot of photos inside Union Terminal, but I got off a few I’d like to share. I know I keep going on about it, but it is truly an architectural wonder and I’m thrilled that Cincinnati understands its historical significance. I look forward to going back one day soon. I’m taking the right lens next time.
The mural spanning the circumference of the lobby is nothing short of amazing. The place is dripping art deco at every turn.
I have been sick since last Thursday. I thought it was just an allergy thing making me lose my voice. I had to skip a few things along the way to try to keep from getting worse. It finally caught up with me Christmas Eve. I was in bed by dark only to wake up this morning feeling even worse. Mom and dad went to Aunt Lois’ without me for Christmas day dinner. I hated to miss the family (many of whom have this same cold so I wasn’t the only one absent today). I slept all day. The folks brought me a plate of deliciousness this evening and I soon started feeling better. My point in all this is that, despite having been sick the entire holiday, it has been one of the best Christmases we’ve ever had. We were all happy. We were all grateful. We were all present. I’ll take a cold every year if it means we’re all together and happy.
Before the days of art murals there were these. Ads were painted on buildings and barns, large and small, city and country. This RC Cola painting adorns a wall in Whitesburg and I couldn’t help but admire it. Happy Saturday to us all!
As I mentioned earlier this week, I crossed paths with a few new murals. First, let’s look at this surprise art I found by Two Keys Tavern. I love to see folks sculpt their dead tree stumps instead of grinding them to nothing. They can be great art pieces, or at the very least wonderful conversation starters. Take this wildcat for example. I think the artist could have used a drink or four from Two Keys because the wildcat looks pretty depressed. Nobody likes a depressed wildcat, least of all depressed Wildcat fans that hang out at Two Keys. Maybe he was carved after this year’s NCAA loss, or the NBA Draft announcements by most of the team. They’ve both become yearly depression events. In any case, I think the sculpture is fun and I tip my hat to Two Keys for adding a little art to their backdoor entrance.
Now, about those murals. This long piece (top) sits across from Lowell’s where I took the car for repairs. I really enjoy bright colors and abstract work, but this mural doesn’t really have either, and it’s a bit too Disney-esque for my taste. If it was near, say, a school or daycare I could see it as a good fit, but it faces a car repair shop and not much else. Maybe if I had kids I’d understand it, if in fact these characters are based on a Disney show like I suspect. The mural below faces the parking lot of Joe Bologna’s Italian Restaurant. While more aesthetically engaging, I admit to not understanding one bit of it either. It feels like a Ren-&-Stimpy-meets-Godzilla-on-the-basketball-court video game or something. It has great colors even if I don’t understand the imagery. All in all, I’ve concluded that just because you have a wall doesn’t mean you need to put a mural on it. Sometimes a plain wall just needs to stay plain. I may be showing my age with these critiques. Next thing you know I’ll be screaming at the kids to get off my lawn. Then, I’ll come into the house and laugh myself silly. Still, I whole-heartedly applaud these mural artists. These things aren’t easy to do, and I’m really pleased they get out there and get their feet wet. That’s how great art gets made.
A while back my friend Pam Oldfield Meade and fellow artist Lacy Hale completed a large mural in Jenkins just as you come into town off Hwy 23. We drove by it yesterday on our Pikeville/Whitesburg field trip. Naturally, I pulled over. Pam has worked for decades to keep the arts alive in Eastern Kentucky. This mural is just the latest endeavor. She’s responsible for a lot of kids being exposed to art and music who don’t even realize they would have missed out if it wasn’t for her. You first met Pam was back in 2013 when she was trying to help me show some of my work at Cannel City. That wasn’t the first time she’d bent over backwards to help me. I don’t know why she believes in me the way she does, but she’s like that with a lot of people, not just me. She’s the water that lifts all boats. I don’t know how to repay someone so selfless and giving as Pam, but I sure am grateful for her.
Of all the murals in Lexington this is probably my favorite. It was painted by Portuguese artist Sergio Odeith, and it wasn’t supposed to happen. Tom Eblen, once more, wrote a great piece on the mural. Odeith had painted a mural for Lexington some time ago, then in a miscommunication, a contractor primered over it. They brought the artist back last year to do another wall, but in the eleventh hour, the building’s owner backed out leaving the artist without a wall. Lighthouse Ministries on Elm Tree Lane obliged, and now we’ve got this incredible mural. I imagine it glows in the dark because it is just stunning in the evening sun. Great things can come from mistakes. This is one of them.
At the corner of Vine and 7th in Cincinnati are three murals. The Hustler building is pretty obvious. The birds in flight are particularly wonderful. I’m really happy to see cities use buildings in such an artistic way. It turns the stoic and mundane into a gallery that everyone can enjoy, Mural painting seems a unique skill, and I’m heartened to see these artists get an opportunity to show off. It sure makes for a nice walk, even on the crappiest of weather days.
“Through all of living have much joy and laughter, life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”
~ Gordon B. Hinckley
The mail lady placed the package on my porch. I couldn’t imagine what it was. Physically, I wasn’t feeling my best, and the week had brought some heart wrenching news to the family, so my spirit was troubled with concern. My friend, Duane Adams, recently tried his hand at blacksmithing again after 37 years. He posted a photo on facebook of an exquisite candle holder he made with his wife for their anniversary. I opened the box to find a similar candle holder. It could not have come at a better time, or mean so much to me. Duane Adams is one of the kindest, most compassionate, intuitive men I have ever known and I am in love with him (figuratively speaking, of course, as I’m sure Sarah would object) and his art.
Before the mail, I had errands to run. I passed the new mural downtown, and went back for a few shots. Brazilian painter, Kobra, shares his rendition of Kentucky native President Abraham Lincoln. I heard someone call the mural “Gaybraham” because of the colorful style. Other’s suppose it should have been Mary Todd Lincoln as she was a Lexington native. For me, I just think it’s fantastic and I’m hopeful it will open doors for local painters to be commissioned for similar projects in Lexington. Public art, and murals in particular, are absolutely beautiful and necessary for any cityscape to truly shine. Art makes every day better.