Friday, May 23, 2008

Had Enough !

Artist jumps from bridge
They've (the police) been watching me."
" This whole "arresting artists" thing started when I began displaying."
" My entire income depends on our First Amendment Rights and I'm scared that we will lose this battle."

These are statements made by one of our Art In The Market artists. We will not play armchair psychologist here but fragile psyches can sometimes interpret events in a highly personalized self centered manner,
The last time this artist displayed in the Plaza, he was watched for three hours by an overtime officer assigned for this specific purpose (as the officer admitted) The bicycle patrolman stayed within 50 feet of this artist's exhibit near the cannon on the western side of the Plaza. He was the only artist there on a weekday evening.
Last Wednesday this artist climbed up a portion of the temporary tower pictured above and pitched himself into the St. John's River. Why? Alcohol was said to be involved but those who know the artist acknowledge that he was sometimes in a fragile paranoid state and we were concerned about his mental state. He is a talented painter and we were encouraging him to stick with it. Recent citations and police sweeps may have taken him over the brink. He is now in the St. John's County Jail and a psychiatric evaluation will hopefully take place.


  1. Anonymous25 May, 2008

    this is truly a sad day for St. Augustine.My heart goes out for the artist.I feal that the person was pushed off that bridge, by the powers that are responcible for violating our 1st ammenment rights.I am talking about the mayor, and the city offices that are responcible for all that has happened to this individual.I can tell you first hand the pressures that the city put on myself.I am a muscian,I play harmonica.During my 2 years in said city, I was also watched closly by cops, whose only prerecrosit is being big strong and stupid, for hire on to the city.(reminds me of an old Canned Heat song, called sic the pigs on you.)I also felt extreme anxt. The feeling of being violated still echos in my thoughts, even after being away for a year.I am truly glad that i did leave though, there are many, many towns that would love to have artists in their localle.Please if any more of you feel these pressures, by all means leave. The town of St. Augustine is not worth killing yourself over.I will probably never return to it.If this means victory for the constabulary, then cool.It does not matter. Some cool towns I could recomend are, Ashvile N.C., Charlotsvile Vi.,Santa Cruz Ca.Santa Barbarbra Ca.,Burlington Vt.Eureaka Springs Ar.And there are lots of others. Do not feel trapped in a city that is undiserving of any artists or musicians.Yours truly Harpmark Johnsom.

  2. Anonymous17 June, 2008

    This is a horrible thing..John will be greatly missed in the Plaza. He is wonderful artist and a kind person. I believe the city nazis pushed him to the state he was in. St Augustine can still be the city that inspires artists, musicians, poets, and lovers if only the town stands up and takes back their rights from the few who see only dollar signs in their eyes. Greed is a terrible thing. The people of St. Augustine and Florida and the Nation need to stand up to these Tyrants before more of our rights are taken from us. Why should artist have to go to other cities?? as the other comment suggested?? What is wrong with standing your ground in the city the artists love? If we run from this it is like letting them win. It is a battle worth winning.