Voted Best Sidewalk Face Maker in North America

Voted Best Sidewalk Face Maker in North America

Can you believe it? We were honored with this award by the North American Sidewalk Face Federation. I’m over the moon! What until I tell my mom!

What’s going to happen to the competition when they get a load of this?! Guess who will be landing all the top tier sidewalk face making gigs for the next year? Ha! It’s my time to shine. The voters have had their say and they pick me!

Alright, alright. Let me tone it down and tell you what’s really going on. My brother and I were strolling down Beverly Boulevard chatting. We walk past Shaky Alibi and noticing the giant banner they have over the front entrance; he articulates something I’ve been mentally chewing on for years. He says, Exactly how many waffle voters are there? 

The banner reads, “Voted Best Waffles in America.” It’s been there for more than a decade.

Every time I see that sign, I think, says who?! And what do they know about waffles? Waffle preferences aren’t exactly standardized. I believe a waffle loving person can tell a great waffle from a mediocre one, but do I trust they can determine the best of the bunch? How would you ever have enough money and resources to sample all the waffles and who would fund it? To what end? It’s not a reasonable thing to research. It’s simply a marketing ploy. Get someone to say you are the best and voilà, you are the best. So, I am now doing that here.

I am the founder of the North American Sidewalk Face Federation. Currently I am also the only member. Care to join? They are known for rewarding members with extravagant awards!

SIDEWALK FACE 969

The Happiest Little Star

The Happiest Little Star

This contented cutie, Sidewalk Face 1000, is my second print offering. Click here for purchase information.

I walk by them almost every day, nod and say hello. It’s nice to see friends. I’ve photographed them several times. However, after a rare morning rain, the evaporating water made their halo more pronounced and it was time to do another portrait! I knew right away this one was special, such joie de vivre*! 

They are a personal favorite, radiating kind-heartedness and embodying what I value most in my art: 

Pavement

The classic medium of my genre!

Seeing Potential

I like noticing things and examining closely so I turned that into an art practice. That’s how I entertain myself on endless dog walks, traversing the same streets year after year, I look for what is unusual or has changed. It’s my modern urban way of scratching the ancient hunter-gatherer itch. I got excited by the rusted metal pipe remains of his nose. It’s the small things that make my day.

Minimal Interference

My personal goal is to do the least to get the most. I try to make them feel as if they emerged on their own from what was naturally there. Sometimes my contribution is artificial and obvious, it’s more important to make a good expression than be austere but it’s part of my ethos to not overwork the image. This one is very minimal and that makes me happy.

Availablism

Wanting a little more detail than the curved sticks were providing, I added additional eye features with spit. That’s availablism**. Use what you have.

Emotional Expression

As you all know I post as many miserable faces as happy ones. I am always pushing to find greater emotional nuance in cement, sticks, stains and detritus. I am looking for something I recognize, a feeling I have felt. Sometimes a face is compositionally good but has no emotional authenticity. I don’t like that. I have to feel it.


*French for joy of living

**Term coined by the ever awesome Kembra Pfahler of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

Dislodging the Unmovable Boulder

Dislodging the Unmovable Boulder

I wanted flowers. I planted flowers. I expected flowers. Why didn’t I water them?!

Three years ago, I put a whole bunch of images up on a photography-based website that lets you sell directly to people. So convenient. The website is sidewalkface.com. It was a lot of effort, but I persevered because it gave me the ability to sell prints and present the sidewalk faces in thematic groupings. Right off the bat I made a bunch of sales. I was happy. I thought I would have so much fun keeping it updated.

Then…..

Nothing happened. Not with other people. With me! I stopped interacting creatively with the website. Why? I don’t know. I don’t like it? I don’t know why I don’t like. I don’t want to know what my hands are currently typing out faster than my brain can process. It took so much force of will and stamina to build. It was supposed to be the thing. I must be bad for neglecting it. I had all these big ideas and I did none of them. NONE OF THEM!

Instead of tending that website, I found myself blogging. Instead of adding my newest work to keep the website up to date and fresh, I would come over here and use my art to illustrate ideas I have about the creative process. Sidewalk Face as an entity was developing over here more than it was developing over there. That’s just the facts. The interpretation of the facts remains to be typed out. I am so curious what I am going to say but I am also afraid. I hope I don’t say something that makes me feel bad.

The surest way to get to the truth of something is to see what is being done and what is not being done. We tend to overvalue what we “think” about something but the evidence for our real priorities lies in our actions. The truth is I enjoy writing more than I enjoy organizing the faces into new galleries. I thought putting them into galleries was what I most wanted to do but I was wrong. The other truth is I want to sell them as limited edition prints on a better quality paper. I have been wrestling with this for over a year. The old website is like a boulder blocking me from the path I want to go down, its heaviness formed by the weight of my expectations. It feels like, if I remove it, all my hard work and imagination was for nothing. If I don’t remove it, my future hard work and imagination is imprisoned.

If you really want to do something and you suddenly have the chance, you are one hundred percent doing it. Like if you really want coffee and someone brings you one, you’ve already had a big sip before the end of this sentence.

What I have learned about art is that only the stuff you want to do gets made. Art is totally optional and it’s a lot of work. So, it’s very important to tell ourselves the truth about what we want. It’s very important to nurture the art we are actually capable of making and stop paying any attention at all to the amazing theoretical art we never make.

So, what is the truth about what I want? Hmmmmm… will I keep writing, or refresh my coffee and let this blog post sit for another month, or year or forever?

I want this to be my main website and I want to sell the work over here. I will be changing the name of this blog to sidewalkface.com soon. And I will have something very special to offer soon as well. I am excited!

Thank you to Mary, Joanne and Kerry for your encouragement. You dislodged my unmovable mental boulder by tilting my word view just enough that gravity lost its power. I appreciate that.