Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sit Down And Stay Awhile

Did you know? Rearrange the letters of Mayor Joseph Boles name and you get "Hopeless Job"Plaza Benches Replaced

The forklift is lifting the wood and concrete benches while workers replace them with new pseudo coquina smaller backless benches pictured above. Some of the Plaza bretherens groused about the new backless benches. "It's like taking a Stearns and Foster and putting in a ....a....well a goddamn nothin"! said Joe "Stink Eye" Morrow. Artist Scott Raimondo was asked about the change and he said. "I'm not really sure that there will be a way to get the thing that is needed until the trees are........... oh yeah....... then we can get the stripes painted and cars will be......wait.......... what did you ask? ........Do you like cheese?"
Almost as Bad as Nick Nolte's Mug
After his recent arrest for exhibiting "illegal art" artist Suvo wants to avoid the courthouse as much as possible so he asked a newly announced County Commission candidate to secure him his mugshot. "The workers at the jail would not let me take a copy with me when I was released. I saw it and liked it.It didn't show my double chin" Suvo says that this does not guarantee a vote for this particular candidate since the others have not yet had the opportunity to court his vote. "This candidate is in the lead so far"says Suvo.
After you read Suvo's mugshot profile he wants you to understand
1. He shaved that morning and he resents the reference to him as "unshaven"
2. He does not have a tattoo with the name "Mark" anywhere on his body and insists that this be expunged from the record!
3. Suvo says that the charge that he was "use of a city street for a commercial purpose" makes it sound as if "I was running up spritzing windshield of cars and asking for a tip" For the record Suvo was in the middle of the Plaza when he was arrested for exhibiting unapproved art.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Little Paint and a Big Party

The Dunes , 16 x 20 oil on canvas Artist: Charles Dickinson
Art In The Market Artist Charles Dickinson participated in The 2nd Annual Great American Paint Out in Port St. Joe The event was presented by the Gulf Alliance for Local Arts (GALA) and supported by the St. Joe Company. The group of nationally renowned painters set forth creating plein air works throughout Florida's Forgotten Coast.
Most artists agree this outdoor painting is the true test of skill as it requires complete confidence in placement of color and brushwork in a short amount of time. If the sun has set, the painting is done. Charles completed 13 oils and eleven of them were acquired by collectors. Three of Charles works are now in the permanent collection of the Apalachicola Museum of Art which is housed in the Historic Fry Conter House . To see the oils on canvas that Charles completed click here . For more information contact Debbie Boon at 904- 826-3831

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ernest Lee - Painter

Ernest Lee

Art In The Market painter Ernest Lee remembers when school racial integration occurred back in his North Carolina birthplace. "Back in my county this did not happen until 1973". Ernest now resides just outside Gainesville,Florida in an equally rural area. "I paint from my reminiscences and it is American Southern country farms....family.....sunset vistas........simple uncomplicated depictions of a rapidly disappearing scene." A number of collectors have noticed the similarities in his work with William Aiken Walker's artworks. Walker spent time in Florida depicting the life and environments of emancipated slaves, especially cotton workers in the post-Reconstruction American South. St. Augustine was for a while abase for Walker in the 1880's. Aiken's works. "I have only recently become familiar with Walker but I am amazed at our similarities in style and genre" says Ernest.
We must tell you that Ernest's work is the "real thing". We've met many painters who mimic the style and subject manner of a self taught naive artist. As future collectibles we would put our money on the works of Ernest Lee. Lee's works are available in the Plaza on weekends or you can contact him at 352-337-2703

Lorraine and Karl

We were sent this film clip by a Canadian who believes that this Lorraine lady may have taped this on St. Augustine Beach. Don't know, but the cop on the beach doesn't have a Mussolini buzz cut, so it may not be. Attributed to MAD TV

Monday, May 21, 2007

Word On The Street

The Corner of King and Cordova.
When the light is red at this intersection you may proceed either right or left after a stop. A small sign near the light indicates this but many people do not see it (over half). There is lotsa honking.

"Hey Bro! Turn! Turn !Turn!"
"Hey Idiot! get that heap moving !

"Do you know where I can sell this American flag?"

Pedestrian to litterbug: "Don't trash our town a**hole! Take your garbage with you! Driver "Oh Yeah ! ( getting out of car)F**k You! I'll kick your ass!" Another pedestrian takes the trash and shoves it back into the car. He goes to the back and writes down the license plate numbers (another Floridian) Everybody disperses. Note : All of these people were over age 50

City official to artist vendor "We've had a complaint that your banner flapping in the wind is spooking the carriage horses" "Could you take it down?"

"Where can we find a bar that the tourists do not go to?" Response:, "Don't know! But it's probably not around here".

Artist explaining to police that his print rack was not blocking pedestrian traffic,"I do not mean to create a problem but....." "You do !" " Do what? "You mean to create a problem", says the cop.

"I do not know anything about art but I do like that Thomas Kinkaid guy. Do you like his work?" Response by street artist. "He's very popular."

A grubby looking guy "The food at the St. Francis House (soup kitchen) really sucked today! The other guy "Yeah, and they wouldn't give me seconds!"

News Racks and Art Vendors

In Nashville TN Metro Councilman Mike Jameson has co-sponsored legislation that would let Nashville charge publishers $50 per rack for initial permits and $10 per year after that.
The last sentence of an editorial by First Amendment Center's Gene Policinski says it all."...........the mayor’s veto racks up a win for one of our highest ideals: Under the First Amendment, government doesn’t get to play editor or publisher in the newsroom or on the street corner." At Art In The Market we say the same ....The City of St. Augustine does not have the right to designate that art vendors must display only art that is applied to canvas or paper , totally disallowing sculpture by omission. Yes, people have been charged with using the wrong media.
Rule of thumb for visual art vendors: If you see a newspaper vending machine on public property you may display and sell artwork under the same First Amendment Right. If your community officials are enlightened and respectful of the First Amendment you will not have problems. Here in St. Augustine Florida we have encountered a repeated long standing pattern of harrassment, arrests, tickets and confiscation.
As an art vendor, it is important to not block pedestrian traffic and observe reasonable time place and manner restrictions for public safety reasons. This is often used as a phony reason to have you move out. Last Sunday a Police Seargent (and published author) told an artist that his print rack at 3' wide x 1.5' deep print rack was blocking pedestrian traffic and must be moved off the 10' wide sidewalk. Photographs taken by the artist show otherwise with pedestrians easily strolling by. Interestingly,within sight, a T shirt shop had racks and racks of merchandise set up outside across the breadth of the old Woolworths. Over 1/4 of the sidewalk width was taken up with 3 for $10 T shirts. This is a daily occurance yet the police drive by a hundred times a day.. Free speech? The Federal Courts of Appeals have already determined that a T shirt printed with something like, "Pirate Girls Have Big Chests !" will not stand as Visual Art protected by The First Amendment. You can wear it as a First Amendment statement but you cannot merchandise it on public space. It has a secondary purpose.......Clothing. (Mastrovincenzo vs. Bloomberg)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ringo Smith

We were not here in town during October of 2004 but still ......Come On People!!. This guy was successfully passing himself off as Ringo Starr!? Doesn't Ringo have one of the most recognizable faces in the Western world? We could understand if you said "Hey , Isn't that the guy from the Sopranos?" (pick one) Let us hope that Joni Barkley, director of sales and marketing for Casa Monica didn't give away too many freebies. Jeez! Now that we know that he was an impostor lets not try to act like a bunch of star struck hicks again. Joni are you still there at the hotel?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Junkanoo this Saturday

We have written previously about the Revolutionary War years in St. Augustine(link). St. Augustine was a British Tory colony and was used for imprisonment of patriots from the American side. Unfortunately for the Loyalists the Spanish re-claimed Florida in 1783 and the loyalists were evacuated. Many started their lives over In Abaco. Now 224 years later we are welcoming Bahamians and celebrating our common history.

On Saturday May 19 the sound of drums, bells, whistles, and horns will get the festival started at 5:30 p.m. when authentically-clad Bahamian dancers and musicians parade down St. George Street to the Plaza where they will launch an incredible concert filled with the music and color of Abaco. Everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket and settle in for a fantastic tropical evening of music, food (conch fritters, ceviche, conch chowder..Yum!) and fun.The best part of the festival is that it will fund a scholarship to Flagler College for a top Abaco student, The Junkanoo Scholarship.

P.S.Kalik Beer is one of the sponsors but I'll bet that we gotta go to the Bahamian junkanoo to get a cold one. Bahamian laws are different from ours.There you can walk down the street, sit on the curb, ride in a cab or public transit and drink your beer. One at a time, in a brown paper bag. Try that here.

Heard On The Street

"Ya know doncha that there was a plague here in St. Augustine just before Flagler arrived and it wiped out most of the community" " I don't know what kind of plague just a regular plague." Self styled expert on local history.

"We heard that Suvo took a swing at one of the cops so they hauled him off". Artist Suvo was arrested for offering unauthorized art for sale Read here. "Hey, do you think that I'm an idiot!"says Suvo

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Don't Rain On Our Parade !

Hey! .....You city functionaries who read this blog! Can you tell us why at 2 pm on Sunday when the tourists are enjoying a promenade and we have our full art displays out and a Peace March is being held in the Plaza.................You turn on the sprinklers !? Don't like us? We are used to that. Don't like the Peace marchers message? Be careful. The sprinklers are usually turned on in the wee morning hours. What gives? This is directed to the thoughtless person who timed the waterworks.........be more considerate. Use your head.

Copper and Stone Not Approved Here

Paul and Piper began their art sculpture (not approved media per St. Aug City Code) odyssey here in St. Augustine and has made quite a hit at the nightly Sunset Celebration at Mallory Dock in Key West. They are juried members of The Key West Cultural Preservation Society.Their adventures can be read HERE. They sailed back to St. Augustine recently on their way to........we forgot to ask. We miss em.

Hudson River Refugee

Richard Childs
Art in the Market artist Richard Childs returned from Upstate New York for a visit back here this week. He is involved in founding the North Country Group who are carrying on the tradition of Hudson River painters. He will return to NY soon but is preparing to establish a street artist group and a constitutional challenge to the local ordinances in Saratoga ,NY

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Habla Mr. Smith

We now hear the media campaign paid for out of a 10 million dollar federal grant to celebrate Jamestown as the "birthplace"of english speaking America. Counter balancing this borderline ethnocentric push are stories like the one shown here:
From the United Kingdom Economist article on May 3

"This year's is not the first observance of the Jamestown settlement, but it is trying to be the most balanced. The 250th anniversary in 1857 was a statewide affair in which the General Assembly boldly declared Jamestown the birthplace of the nation—overlooking the fact that St Augustine, Florida, a Spanish settlement, was established 42 years earlier. In 1907 Virginia, with federal backing, staged a huge but poorly-attended exposition that presented Jamestown as a white Christian beachhead in a land of godless red savages. It also featured the Great White Fleet, the armada President Theodore Roosevelt would dispatch on a global tour: a new, Americanised symbol of imperial ambition. Much the same notion launched Jamestown; but ambitious nation-building is a little out of fashion now. " More

Though we do not believe in such things we give out our congratulations to Plaza Artist Charles Dickinson for winning the Best in Show Award at the recent Art Association Spring Members Exhibit. Charles has been travelling lately going to invitational "paint outs". Last week he was one of 25 nationally acclaimed plein air painters participating in The 2nd Annual Great Paint Out in Port St. Joe. We haven't heard the results. "Paint faster! Charles....Paint faster! " Our suggestion is to acquire a Dickinson now in 2006. You can get medium sized original somewhere in the 800 dollar range if you catch him in a good mood. But hey! There's also 20 dollar signed prints available from him in the Plaza almost every weekend. Watch Charles at work. Ask him "What's with the hat?"

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


False Accusations ? Slander?

The following response was sent on 4-19 by Phil McDaniel, President of the St. John's Cultural Council to the St. Augustine Record's message board in response to one artist' complaints of police harassment of artists and the "private club" nature of the "art community". The artist - writer was referencing this blog entry from last month. This entry questioned the award of a 30k City art project to Mr.McDaniels' wife. The second last paragraph was what bothered Mr. McDaniel. We do not know nor does he say what part of our statement was false or "borderline slander" ( We believe that he meant, libel.) We have made a correction on the condition of the mosaic here.
.............................................................................................................................................Your facts are entirely wrong on the evolution of the work contract for the mosaic at the VIC. Your inferences borderline on slander, and I, quite frankly, would wish you would check your facts before making false accusations. The work done was done by two artists, Jan Master and Wendy Mandel – the latter to whom I have been blessed to have as my wife, partner and mother to our four children for the past 25 years. Both are experienced and professional artists - which is why the project turned out as well as it did. The city did not award this project, rather the builder - Walker Parking Services. It was not a formal public art project - simply an enhancement to the VIC and Parking facility. Congratulations to architects Fred Halback and Les Thomas for recommending the enhancements. If you like the end result, I urge you to complement the city commissioners on the project. Perhaps with some encouragement, they will consider establishing a real public program. My experience has taught me that of you choose to rant and accuse… it will likely be another 100 years before we see another piece of public art. By the way, one of the long term goals of the Cultural Council is to develop a formal countywide APP (Art in Public Places) program. Perhaps when we are ready to initiate the effort, you might offer to help rally such a cause to the benefit of all...- PM

Our same day response :

Dear Mr. Mc Daniel,

I've read your response to one of the artists in the Plaza asking the St. John's Cultural Council to make a statement concerning the arrests,art confiscations and intimidation that takes place by the city against the open air artists. Your response simply was to not respond. Please understand this,we do not ask the Council to take an active role in our First Amendment fight (and fight it is!) If your lack of manpower precludes you from making a single phone call (or returning mine) or a letter to the City, I´ve got to conclude that the issue of artistic freedom is not on your priority list.

One misunderstanding that many have is that artists on the streets and sidewalks are looking for represenation in a gallery. Most of us have credentials and have seasoned experience with galleries both here and nationally. The open air display on public space is part of the whole thing. Interaction with collectors occurs every day that we are out here not just on "Art Walks" sponsored by commercial galleries. We have places to show our work. Some of us do not need the insular and car lot,closing room (AKA "viewing room") atmosphere of some of the local galleries ("We Finance!")

Regarding your wife´s beautiful mosaic at the Visitors Center, you identify this as "not a formal public art project "but simply an enhancement" Mr. McDaniel,this large outdoor mosaic cannot be put into the same category as decorative dorknobs or ceiling mouldings.Recent articles and City Commission meetings all refer to this as a "Public Art Project" The City Manager´s administrative assistant told me that 30,000 dollars came directly from City coffers specifically for this artwork. Call it what you will but it is still site specific public art paid with public monies. No bids were taken ,no call for artists, no spec announced.The bookeeping may make it appear that Walker Parking Services was the private benefactor of this "enhancement".We believe that the public paid for this.

Perhaps you were unconsciously condescending when you referred to my fellow artist´s previous posts as a "rant". You are are no doubt unaware of the continuous harassment, and illegal actions taken against the artists exercising their First Amendment Rights on Public Space. This City handcuffs artists for displaying on public property! You can understand her strident tone! No, We do not want or need "workshops", discounted studio space, a swell gallery, or even recognition. We simply want to show our art to visitors and locals and give them the opportunity to acquire the works. This is our legal right. We do ask that anyone who reads this and understands and sympatizes, to call their elected officials to protest the illegal actions taken by the city of St. Augustne against artists. www.ArtInTheMarket.blogspot.com--------------------

Gregory Travous

If I Had A Hammer

Eustace, our Steel Pan peformer had his complete set solen from the corner of Cathedral and Charlotte last night. He stepped away momentarily and it was gone ! "It is not so much the drum as I can create a new one but the hammers are special." says Eustace. We want to see him back for the upcoming inaugural Junkanoo -Goombay Festival* in the Plaza on Saturday May 19.

*The above festival is not to be confused with Goombah Festival held on River Street in Hoboken N. J. every other weekend or whenever. Not even close!

No ,It Doesn't Say Pervert !

Near the base of the Cathedral bell tower is a handy sundial. Tourists are fascinated with it and it is very accurate (though not allowing for daylight savings nonsense) We have not done research to know when it was added to the facade ( anybody know? ) The bell tower was built in 1887 after a disastrous fire gutted downtown St. Augustine. The money was donated by....who else....... Henry Flagler, Pater Noster of St. Augustine.
The Latin phrase Pereunt et Imputantur was a favorite motto for clocks and sundials. First written by Latin poet Martial, it is usually translated as follows, "They perish and are reckoned to our account". In other words, (ours) ......days and hours pass and we may spend them wisely or not. (This would also make a cool slogan for a tropical fish store) After so many tourists marvelling at the sundial, we are waiting for the very first person to ask the meaning of the Latin words. OK, one Plaza artist , Elizabeth asked and prompted this entry. Elizabeth is a student and teacher of language so it is a natural inquiry. The rest of the public seems to be uncurious.
Speaking of Latin, the Plaza artist and old altarboy Suvo says that he is now discovering the meaning of "Beneficium Accipere Libertatem Est Vendere" We asked for the meaning and he said ,"Look it up yourself ! ( we used this .) Suvo hasn't been the same since the police locked him away for displaying art in the Plaza. Maybe this is a good thing. Humility can temper things once in awhile. Suvo's answer, "Pisse sur votre tĂȘte"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Pasha Buried In The Plaza

Born in North Carolina in 1818, William Wing Loring ran away at age 17 to join the War for Texas Independence. Reuben Loring (perhaps trying to prevent damage to William’s future career) soon showed up to collect his son, and the two returned to Florida. William then went on to be a Florida legislator , a wagonmaster in the old West, an Indian fighter, a Confederate General and an Egyptian Pasha. He is buried under an obelisk in Loring Park though no one calls it by that name. This is the park just west of the Government Building, the park with the empty koi pond. If you were sipping your Starbuck's at the Casa Monica coffee shop you would see the old General's grave. Here is a website dedicated to "Old Blizzards"

Friday, May 04, 2007

Gamble Rogers Folk Fest May 4-6

Gamble Rogers said "The stories I tell are all true except the few that are obviously whims "Each and every one of the characters in my stories started out representing a specific person. The characters may tend to be outlandish," he admitted, "but their statements resonate with a certain amount of horse sense." This weekend is the 12th annual Gamble Rogers Folk Festival Link here

Listen to a little of Rogers' genius by linking HERE

Correction : In this entry it was said that the nepotistic public art mosaic at the Visitor's Information Center had shown evidence that the tiles were popping out. Talking with other city employees we could not verify this with another party so we must retract and consider our source dodgy. Nevertheless ,it is still a beautiful job but we gotta note that the financial details are very murky particularly the future money generated from the image. Guess who gets only 1.4 cents for every retail dollar? Yes, the artist gets the revenue of 98.6 cents on the dollar for postcards , music boxes, prints etc.
On 7-15-06 at the Architectural Review Board, City Chief Operating Officer John Regan noted that the Parking Garage cost estimation was $16.5 million dollars. He stated that staff would inform the City Commission regarding the Historical Architectural Review Board members’ desire for artwork. He noted that ½ of 1 percent would be $80,000.00 in terms of public artwork.
Where is the Art? Did this go any further? Who swallowed the 80K?