Sunday, August 31, 2014

tour bus: traveling broke and out of gas

yesterday we met the members of 'traveling broke and out of gas' at an undisclosed farm in jasper county, for a performance/party/painting/bonfire/food/fun.  they are beginning a tour in a few weeks, and asked if i would be interested in painting their tour bus.  which, of course, i was interested.

traveling broke and out of gas

mindy and i drove out, unloaded boxes of spray paint and got to work.  i marked out the band name, and started laying down colors.

traveling broke and out of gas

traveling broke and out of gas

after getting the band set up, patrick wetli joined me in painting the bus, helping to put down some color blocks and included some of his own images in a bird stencil and a train on the back of the bus.

patrick wetli

street art graffiti

zach medler patrick wetli

zach medler patrick wetli

we worked for about 6 hours before it got too dark to see well enough to get things right.

traveling broke and out of gas

traveling broke and out of gas

and while we got most of the bus completed, i'll have to meet up with the band before they leave on tour to finish out the right side.  it was a lot of fun, and they are going to be unmistakable either rollin' down or broken down on the road.  here's to a great and successful tour and a safe and creative trip...thanks for letting me paint the bus!

p.s. also check out the band 'traveling broke and out of gas' on Facebook!

Recipe of the Week: Chicken and Corn Egg Drop Soup

Here's another recipe to help use up your fresh summer harvests of sweet corn, tomatoes, and green onions!

This is one of Zach's favorite soups. It is quick and easy to make, and a really great late summer treat when you can use fresh produce instead of canned corn and store-bought tomatoes.

1 chicken breast, sliced thinly
4 cups chicken broth (or corn stock, see pic. below)
2-3 eggs (your preference), whisked
3 cups of sweet corn kernels
2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pot, bring chicken broth to a boil.
Add chicken. Lower the heat to medium when chicken is cooked through.
Add corn and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour the egg into the soup in a steady stream while stirring.
Add tomatoes, cook an additional couple of minutes.
Just before serving, add Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Serve topped with green onions.

Chicken Corn Egg Drop SoupWe bought sweet corn at the farmers' market and froze the kernels for future use. Not wanting to waste the corn cobs, I decided to make my own stock! This recipe is loosey goosey for a reason. You can tweak it to accommodate the amount of vegetables you have on hand, or adjust it freely to make any amount you wish. Your stock should last about a week in the refrigerator. You can freeze the rest to use later.

To make corn stock:
Save at least a dozen corn cobs after you have taken the kernels off.
In a stock pot, add enough water to cover corn cobs, 2 medium onions (halved), about half a dozen carrots and some celery.
If you have additional vegetables, you can also add them. I used leeks, 3 cloves of garlic, some cremini mushrooms, and a handful of goji berries.
Make an herb bouquet with parsley and thyme, and add it to the pot as well.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for at least 1 hour.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

WLFI Reports

Kudos to WLFI for reporting (and not sensationalizing) the news.

From August 27:

From August 29:

Friday, August 29, 2014

{Five for Friday} 5 New Pieces for Small Spaces

After the controversy from earlier this week, painting and pasting for Small Spaces resumed today! Here are 5 new pieces to look out for the next time you are downtown ...

mitch austin
Mitchell Schuring @ TBird Engineering on the corner of 10th and Columbia
aaron bumgarner
Aaron Bumgarner @ Lafayette Printing Company.
Check out Aaron's Tiny Places project for the city of West Lafayette!
lisa wicka
Lisa Wicka @ Lafayette Printing Company
jeri foley
Jeri Foley @ Lafayette Printing Company
craig tribble
Craig Tribble @ Lafayette Brewing Company. Craig did 2 pieces at this location. 

p.s. If you'd like to keep up with Small Spaces, follow the project on Facebook!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

some thoughts on the small spaces controversy

The great thing about street art is its accessibility and proximity to the public. Street art is neither high art nor low-brow. It is diverse, progressive, and counterculture. The good ones catch your eye. The better ones challenge conventions, expose taboo, or espouse a cause. The best ones succeed in describing life; they are confrontational, they stop you in your tracks, and have you contemplate what you see. These works often make possible ways of thinking that were not possible before.

For the city of Lafayette, Small Spaces is a community-based street art project. The basic premise is for local and regional artists to create works of art that will complement the existing architecture of the downtown district. The art will feature a youthful aesthetic, built on a mix of contemporary street art, graffiti writing, stencils, paste-ups, and installations. The end goal is to have a district-wide walkable art exhibition that features new works around every corner of town.  Small Spaces may be Zach's brainchild, but really, it is a project that would not be possible without the coming together of city officials, building owners, and artists who also aspire to refresh the look of downtown.

We started the project in mid-July, and our first piece was River from a Drain Pipe. Soon after, pieces by local artists Esteban Garcia, Mitch Schuring, Baron Mattern, and Kaleb Lucas started popping up around town. Last Sunday, Lisa Wicka, Aaron Bumgarner, Aaron Molden, and Zach added new pieces in several different locations.

This is one of Aaron Molden's piece from Sunday. The image, quite simply, is of a policeman in a riot helmet.

small spaces lafayette

This is also the very piece that has ignited a whole lot of controversy in the last couple of days. In case you haven't followed any of the news, let's backtrack a little ...

On Sunday afternoon, I accompanied Molden to Sylvia's Brick Oven where he pasted this image of a cop. Molden's depiction of this cop was a somber one. A simple composition. A single subject. A black and white portrait of a human being. A neutral expression. He is a common man, set apart and identified only by the outfit he wears. In its quietness, this portrait invites viewers to freely interpret its significance. As we left Sylvia's, Molden and I spoke briefly about the content of the piece. We had an inkling that it could be perceived as a provocative piece, but were still excited to have put up something a little more rousing. We were also curious to see what kind of feedback it would receive, in light of the recent unrest in Ferguson and the bad press that have been plaguing the local police department. We didn't have to wait long to find out.

On Monday Zach received instructions to cover up Molden's work at Sylvia's. Apparently, some police officers who were offended by the piece had approached the owners of Sylvia's Brick Oven with their displeasure. Their sentiments were then conveyed to Margy Deverall, project manager of Small Spaces, who decided that the piece needed to be covered up. As far as I know, cops are not schooled in art, and neither are they trained as art critics. The officers who looked at Molden's portrait saw it as a mirror reflection of themselves. And upon that reflection they bestowed their own biases, interests, attitudes, and lived experience. They responded with outrage because they disliked what they were reading into the piece. In this case, their opinions took precedence over Molden's intent.

The hasty coverage by the Journal and Courier fanned these flames of controversy. Instead of doing thorough research, the local J&C reporter leapt at his first opportunity to sensationalize the story by linking Molden's piece to the events of Ferguson, MO. The evening editorial stated that the work was "apparently inspired by recent events in Ferguson." A third article published on Wednesday also called the work "Ferguson-inspired" in spite of Molden's attempt to explain that his piece was "meant to reflect the current transition of what it once meant to be a law officer in the United States compared to what it means today and possibly the future." The reporter quoted Zach (albeit often out of context) in Tuesday's article as saying that his issue with having to cover up Molden's piece is "free speech" and "bully cops," overlooking the fact that the larger issue at stake is the purity of art and the freedom to create it. Zach's statements spurred on readers who were quick to take sides. Discussions that ensued were mostly in favor of the artist. The entire police department, it seemed, was being dragged through the mud because of the actions of a couple of cops.

The truth is, Small Spaces is a project built on compromise. Artists have the right to create whatever they want the same way building owners have the right to reject pieces they deem inappropriate. In the case of Molden's portrait of a cop, the city (not the police department) made the call to remove the image for the sake of upholding the terms of the contract it signed with building owners. Though it was ultimately removed, Molden's piece achieved its purpose by opening up dialogue within the community. We cannot ignore the people who disagree with us. But we also have to resist the urge to forge a fake sense of unity by confusing it with conformity and undermining the notions of distinction and difference.

Any worthy piece of creation should challenge existing beliefs and convictions. For me, Molden's piece and the subsequent cover up of it embodies the spirit of art by bringing to the fore the urgent need to question social, aesthetic, and political boundaries. It is a piece that grew out of and responded to the socio-historical moment in which it is created, which is precisely why it had the ability to indict its context.  It is a demonstration that art can be revolutionary in the ways it is able to call for critical thinking in order to discuss alternatives.

small spaces lafayette
Aaron Molden's other piece from last Sunday

Man now sees everywhere only the horror or absurdity of existence … he is nauseated. 
[Art] alone knows how to turn these nauseous thoughts of horror or absurdity of existence 
into notions with which one can live.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

small spaces: becoming place becoming human

zach medler zmed

yesterday i finished up the wall behind Klumpe Upholstery on ferry st.  earlier in july, i had collaborated with Dr. Goh to create the river from a drain pipe piece on the east side of the wall.

zach medler

on monday, i began working on the west side of the wall.  after a few hours of getting started, the dark clouds came rolling in, and cut the day short.  so i went out in the morning to finish up.


this piece is a giant collage on the wall.  i pasted up the trees that were hanging in the window at artists' own the past winter, with a few alterations.


mindy medler

i added in a some paper doilies that mindy and i cut in the studio one afternoon.  and cut apart of couple of my spray paint sketches to paste as well.  i layered together some stenciled patterns, and freehand painted in all the in other imagery, like the deer, bird, eyes, and face in profile.  all of these elements are collaged together to create a really fun mishmash of ideas and techniques.

zach medler

small spaces lafayette

there can be a lot of meanings read into this piece, and that's always part of the point, but for me it was about mixing techniques, and images that represent a midwestern aesthetic.  it is a landscape and a portrait at the same time, each becoming the other, depending on how you look at it.  but i wanted to try to capture a sense of how we are so connected place that we become it, and it becomes us.

street art indiana

Monday, August 25, 2014

Small Spaces Sunday

It rained hard for most of last week so we had to halt all projects for Small Spaces. But yesterday, the sun finally came out to play! Lisa Wicka, Aaron Bumgarner, Aaron Molden, and Zach braved the searing temperatures to put up some work for Small Spaces.

lisa wicka
Lisa Wicka @ Lafayette Printing
aaron bumgarner
Aaron Bumgarner @ Lafayette Printing
aaron molden
Aaron Molden @ Sylvia's Brick Oven
zach medler
Zach Medler @ Lafayette Theater

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Oven-baked Zucchini Fries with Kaffir Lime Salt

When your summer garden gives you a boatload of zucchinis, make zucchini fries!

Our recipe for zucchini fries is a pretty standard one, so to jazz things up, we made some kaffir lime salt. 

Make your salt a couple of days ahead so the flavors have time to meld together. All you have to do is grind up some coarse salt with a couple (I used 5) of kaffir lime leaves.

 And for zucchini fries, you will need:

1 large zucchini, sliced into strips (like fries)
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kaffir lime salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Combine panko with kaffir lime salt and ground black pepper. Mix well.
Coat zucchini strips in flour.
Dip each zucchini strip in egg, then in panko mixture.
Place on cookie sheet.
Bake zucchini fries for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Small Spaces: "Mindscapes"

I asked Baron and Kaleb to write a statement about their latest collaboration Mindscapes, and this is what they shared ...

baron mattern kaleb lucas

"Mindscapes marks a pivotal point in our lives as we are now traveling to the Kansas City Art Institute. The words "Bark Through Passage" are meant to instill courage in the face of something new and different. It is the culmination of our own individual pursuits."

Baron and Kaleb also added to the main Small Spaces wall on Monday. Stop by and check out their pieces.

baron mattern kaleb lucas

baron mattern kaleb lucas

photo credit: Jaren Skirvin 

Monday, August 18, 2014

from the studio: 8.18.14

Zach trying something new in the studio ... something he's calling "action graphic motion" ...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

{harvest} Bonny Best Tomatoes

So, I thought we saved a black vernissage and a Jersey Giant tomato plant after the hailstorm. But these tomatoes that I harvested today are definitely not Jersey Giants. Turns out, they're "Bonny Best" tomatoes, one of the varieties we were growing for saucing and canning. These tomatoes are so pretty. They are perfectly round, and of that gorgeous orangey-red color. I hope they taste yummy.

Recipe of the Week: Thai Cucumber Salad

One of the best summertime treats has to be the cooling cucumber. We got a couple of cucumbers from our friend Kathleen, so we decided to make some refreshing Thai-inspired cucumber salad to go with dinner. 

You will need:
2 cucumbers, seeded and diced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped finely
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For the dressing, mix together:
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp sesame oil (you only need a little bit!)
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 Thai chili, seeded and chopped finely

Toss dressing over fresh cucumbers and serve cold!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

small spaces: new additions

we've had a few artists around town this week putting up some new pieces for small spaces.  Mitch Schuring has been scattering some of his cartoon characters around town,

mitch schuring

mitchell austin schuring
garage door in the alley at Lafayette Printing
mitch schuring

mitch schuring

mitchell schuring

mitchell austin schuring
the back of the Lafayette Brewing Company

while Baron Mattern and Kaleb Lucas completed their piece on the front wall of Lafayette Printing yesterday.

baron mattern kaleb lucas

baron mattern kaleb lucas

kaleb lucas baron mattern

lafayette printing
corner of 5th and Ferry, the Lafayette Printing building

We've got much more to come yet, but these guys are giving us a good start going into the next few weeks.

it has  been a long week meeting with other artists and picking up paint in preparation for the next several weeks of work, but things are coming together.  we have many spaces secured, and i have probably got too many artists for the spaces i have available, but we'll make it work by doing a lot of collaborating.  and besides, shouldn't collaboration be the key to this project anyway?

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