Sunday, December 21, 2008

To St. Augustine Street Artists

I'll admit that sometimes after 14 hours outside with Suvo's art I am literally "tired as a dog". I sometimes rely on a quick post and maybe a film clip. This clip is not a "filler". This clip is not posted to convince anyone of our aims. City officials and lower court judges have made up their mind that selling art is like "selling hotdogs". No, this clip is for the eight or nine artists who continue to show and sell their art in the nation's "oldest public space" (Native Americans excepted)

Fellow artists.......many times we feel put upon by the police.....the City Commission....the City Attorneys all hiding behind bushes and watching with binoculars to see that we do not let a tourist take home any of our art. We are not alone in this struggle as this clip will show. Their are kindred spirits throughout the country who know that the U.S. Constitutional Amendment number one was put there to protect us. The Bill of Rights was created to expand citizens rights and was put forth because our forefathers either had felt specific oppression from " "Mother England" or they could forsee future authority abusing these critical rights.

To the City of St.'s time to stop the harassment and the arrests of artists. The police have other things to do. To the merchants or citizens who disagree........we have never heard a word and frankly we do not know who you are. Got a conviction? Say it ......what is your beef with us?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Invitation From Quigley

Please attend the Quigley ARTY- PARTY AN EVENING.OF good cheerr.... endless music on the front porch from yours truly with an ecclectic gathering of musicians folk/country rock and GYPSY music, good food and decent SPIRITS at the humble home of QUIGLEY!
47 Grove Ave its the most killer ol two story house on the block!!(Just behind the Village Inn Restaurant on US 1- accross the Events Field)
FRIDAY NITE! December 19, 2008
@ Six PM till the cows come home!!!!!!!!!!! or so when we need to call it a nite so we can get to our respective places at the Plaza in fair health on the following AM!!!!!
bring snacks if ya can -I will be providing limited spirits and NEWCASTLE ALE!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lost Cause?

Yes ,the harassment by the city of St. Augustine against visual artists has been outrageous and illegal. We lose our cases in the lower courts and are expected to give up our fight for rights that have already been affirmed by the higher courts. We are YOU!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Bust In St. Augustine

Report by undercover St. Augustine police officer John Niederriter. Badge #2707, 11-09-2008

"On Sunday November 9, 2008, I made contact with the subject in the Plaza, on the Northwest corner,displaying artwork. I began to speak with the subject about his dog and then I started to speak to him about the artwork he had with him. He began by telling me that the artwork does not like the sunlight, as he was arranging it in the shade. I started to talk with him about a print of fish he had on an easel, and then he showed me another print with blue fish on it in a stack of prints on the ground. I fingered thorough the prints on the ground and noticed that one or two had a price tag on them but there was a line through the price. I asked if the price was the forty dollars on the tag, or of it was a different price. The subject stated that the price was the forty dollars, if he was in his gallery. I asked what the difference was and he again stated that the price was forty dollars in his gallery. I asked if I could buy one now, and he said yes, but I would not give him the money, but instead place the money in a black canvas stand he had with him. We continued to discuss art with him and asked him what the deal with the signs was. He told me about the court battle with the city. I told him I was interested in the "blue fish" but I had to find my wife first."

About a half hour later four police officers arrived by bicycle and car with flashing lights. Suvo was arrested , handcuffed and taken to the St. Johns County Jail. His artwork was taken down by the police officers. This would've been Suvo's only sale of the day. Alas, it cost him 200 dollars to bond out later that night and 20 dollars taken from him by the jailer for "administrative purposes".

Friday, November 07, 2008

Phony...... at Real Prices

One block from the Plaza de la Constitucion is a quaint old style art gallery with works from early florida artists and a smattering of European artists. There is not much on the walls that would be considered "modern art" ( an overused term ).

I was walking past the gallery window the other day and something caught my eye. Two small Picasso like works on paper were hanging together. Going into the gallery an attractive Russian accented salesperson told me that these were original Picasso lithographs. I am familiar with these works since I dealt in them almost twenty years ago. A document was affixed on the back stating that this was an original Picasso print. The document was from a California company called Art Brokers Incorporated or something like that. Price $5000.000 for each one

Now..........I gotta tell you

#1 These works were NOT original Picasso prints.

#2 The Picasso signature is printed onto the paper

#3 The certificate of authenticity was not from Picasso's publisher

#4 The works are most likely from either granddaughter Marina
Picasso's money grabbing release of offset lithos in the 70's or
another unauthorized pirated publication ( one print was printed
backward to simulate a print from a litho stone)

#5 Current Market value ....$50 to $100 (ebay notwithstanding)

$5000 dollars? That must be some frame on these things. I consider even the market price too much for a machine made reproduction. (just like a magazine copy)

Consumers beware !.........nice chandeliers and high rent does not guarantee that the art dealer is scrupulous in how he describes his goods. In this case I'm fairly certain the dealer knows full well what he is selling. If not hold yourself out as an expert and take a class through Christies or even a printmaking class at the Art Center. You are offering sidewalk slugs as escargot.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Work - Suvo

"Magpie Committee",
Image size 11"x 22, Sumi-e Ink , 140 lb Strathmore Cotton Rag paper
Magpie on a bough
Tipped his head and said,
"Here in the mind, brother
Turquoise blue.
I wouldn't fool you.
Smell the breeze
It came through all the trees
No need to fear
What's ahead"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Stetson Kennedy

Happy 92nd birthday to author, folklorist, labor activist, and environmentalist Stetson Kennedy who lives a few miles down the road from here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

NOT an endorsement !

Photographer: C'mon let's get a photo of you two together!
Suvo: (Trying to get away) Nah, That's alright.
Mayor Boles: Yeah , let's get a photo for Old City Life !
As the photo was snapped and Suvo was trapped.
Suvo: You know that the artists are suing the city, don't you?
Mayor Boles: That's OK, I'm an attorney.
Suvo: Yes, but it wouldn't be you, it would be Kahn wouldn't it?*
* referencing the city's outside hired counsel

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bogus Survey

American Express Cardholder Division recently announced that their poll showed that 87% of the respondents based their vacation destinations on their personal interests.*

The top 10 vacationer interests were as follows:

Culinary,/ Family events,/ Music/, Fitness and exercise/Education, Learning,/ History,/ The arts, Wine/champagnes/, Fashion, Shopping/Sporting events.

The press release did not indicate that this was a preferential order so we'll set aside our opinion on that. After the poll was completed the folks at Amex named 10 "surprising" destinations to go with each category, two of which were in the United States.St. Augustine Florida was named in the history category , accompanying a quote “Not many history buffs would consider St.Augustine, Florida their ultimate destination".

We are thrilled that our city was recognized by American Express. An editorial in the St. Augustine Record extolled "The news that American Express considers St. Augustine the most desirable place in the world for travelers interested in history should not surprise any of us. "

Now hold on here, American Express did not say this.....they said that our city would be a nice destination for those who liked history. They also wrote that Virginia's wine country is a destination for wine lovers(not California ,France or even Chile).'s their destination.........United Arab Emirates...What? .....Yes ,the pollsters decided that ...and we are serious........Camel Racing would be of interest to those vacationers interested in sports. The list goes on as follows:

Culinary –Vietnam; Family Events – Lake Garda, Italy; Music – Iceland; Fitness and Exercise – Madagascar; Education/LearningKerala, India; The Arts – Beirut, Lebanon; Fashion/Shopping – Durban, South Africa.

Read that list again. Is this some kind of joke from the hip young travel writers at American Express? Was it a situation where they held a meeting and said "We've got this poll that we do not believe for a minute so let's put some outrageous destinations to these silly responses. Hey...put down Madagascar under Fitness and Exercise ( Lemur chasing at 11 0'clock ) and go from there."

We do not feel that St. Augustine belongs on their ridiculous list and no do not find it surprising that someone interested in history would consider St. Augustine as a destination.

* We wonder what the other 13% based their vacation so if not their personal preferences. Our guess is : Whatever the wife and kids decide.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paul and Piper

We received an email today from two old friends
Sculptor Paul VanNess currently in Key West

Hey Everybody,
I just spoke at a city council meeting which was focused on raising the performers and vendors fees from $100 to $250 and removing them from all historic areas in Key West except for residential areas which would be worse than the placing artists in the park in St. Augustine. There was an unbelievable turn out of speakers. Out of the six council members there was only one who believed that the artisis should be removed from Duval Street. The council had met with store owners without artists present to write this legislation. He said we should try going to St. Augustine and do our art because it is not allowed there. I spoke of Bery vs. New York and Savannah, GA artists ( the ACLU stepped in to demand retro active payment of illegal permit fees.) as well as your case in St. Augustine where all artists were awarded retroactive permit fees which amounted to several thousand dollars for many artists. It was televised and many viewed it. These people are completely committed to getting arrested but would rather have the system remain as it currently is. Five of the council members opposed removing artists.

The basis of removing artists was public safety. Many artists and performers stated that there has never been an injury related to the artists ever. No one spoke of any inury as well. It is still on the table currently. Any suggestions for what we should do before the next meeting a month from now? Things are not looking too gloomy just yet.

How is your case on St. George street coming along? By the way the turn out was not just artists and performers. There were store owners in support of performers. One member of the council said he would love it if Silverman set up in front of his store on Duval Street. There were many ordinary citizens old and young that spoke in support of the charm of artists of all kinds. Peace,
Paul VanNess

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Triumph in Minn.

One of Karl's favorite celebrities is Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Here's a clip from Triumph's trip to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

443rd Anniversary Today


Pedro Menéndez de Avilés was a ruthless and fanatical man but also a daring commander. In the summer of 1565, he led a fleet to Florida's Atlantic coast, making his base at an inlet he discovered on Aug. 28 -- the feast day of St. Augustine. Menéndez gave the theologian's name to the encampment, which would become the longest continuously inhabited European settlement in America.

Menéndez sailed from St. Augustine in search of the French settlement at Fort Caroline near todays Jacksonville, coming upon it just as French reinforcements arrived by sea. He withdrew, but the French flotilla followed -- unwisely, as it turned out, because Menéndez and his men made it safely home just as a hurricane roared into the region, destroying the French ships. Seizing his opportunity, Menéndez pushed his men on a hellish march through swamps and torrents of rain to storm the undermanned Fort Caroline. He massacred almost all of the "Lutheran heretics" there before heading back to St. Augustine. Next Menendez turned his European conquest toward the "depradations" of the "savage" natives.
Our history is replete with "hero/devils". It is what it is.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

After a hard day's work shaking down the" peons ".St. Augustine City Boss pays a late night visit to old paramour Tanya played by Marlene Dietrich

Those Freedom Loving Democrats

Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel. Film of the arrest Here Take note of the cigar smoking (while chewing gum!) bozo cop.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Health and Safety

Art In The Market artist R. Childs almost makes a sale (Click Here)

The City of St. Augustine Florida recognizes the Constitutional right of artist's displays in the United States' oldest public park. Yet contrary to this and ignoring existing Federal Court decisions,they use the bogus excuse that artist's may not offer their works for sale claiming that the artists create congestion and adversly affect public heath and safety.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Take That! Nature's Creatures!

Click on to Enlarge

This is art? Who's to say? This old ad was at the bottom of a box in an dusty warehouse that one of our artists has converted into an art studio. A few pages of an Archie comic (circa mid 60's) were loosely attached (some story line concerning secondary character, thick necked Moose and his girlfriend Midge)

This ad is incredible. Read it (clock on) and see if you got the same message that we did.

Who says nature is so great?! ...........Man can overcome all obstacles, dominion over the creatures and all that stuff. Frogs? pffft! We can just order Timberline outerwear ...they can't. Yes kids....Man is truly amazing.

O ur research shows us that these "Public Service Advertisements" were published in comic books by the United States Youth Council, a branch of The National Social Welfare Agency. In 1967, The New York Times revealed that the CIA had supplied 90 percent of the organization's funds, and was surreptitiously controlling its agenda. Presidents and vice-presidents of USYC were aware of the source of the funds: They were given a top-secret security clearance by the CIA and required to sign a 20-year confidentiality agreement to keep the intelligence agency's involvement a secret.

update: In 2007, Archie Andrews (age 61) was living over his aging parents garage needling them to increase his weekly allowance. His last job as telemarketer was outsourced to India. Strangely, he and Jughead share a blog where they pretend to still be in high school. You can also order Betty or Veronica busts.( no comment)

Deja Vu All Over Again

Aging boomers remember inventive musician, composer Frank Zappa 1940 –1993 (and The Mothers of Invention) as an erudite defender of free speech.(Senate testimony 1985) Twenty one years ago Frank put on a tie and a black suit lookin like a Mormon pirate and bravely went down to the Crossfire studios in Washington D.C. to debate proposed government censorship.
We stumbled upon the 1986 video and a recent blogger rant against the "sick and perverted" Frank Zappa. Here are good Christian people who believe that we here in 2008, "should exhume his body and burn it in a dumpster".We think that Zappa was making valid points against these condescending "suits" who were almost "frothing" at Zappa's licentiousness and immorality. Zappa who condemned drug use and set up voter registration booths at his concerts was what we might call a "liberal conservative". Watch the old guys go nuts when Zappa warns of encroaching government totalitarianism. Frankly.....we doubt that with the mindset today ......he would never get on the air. Watch this here. Make a comment below if you like.
Where are today's John Lennons and Frank Zappas? We Miss you George Carlin. Bill Maher has potential. Lewis so much.
Update: (Unsubstantiated) Bobby Goldsboro who wrote "nice" songs that these guys would approve reportedly had a past run in with authorities over _______ (Oh no! Scotty?).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Whatever Happened To......

Singer Bobby Goldsboro and his painting "Orchid"
A local gallery had recently had a showing of Bobby Goldsboro's prints and paintings .Exhibits with celebrity artists have always been a good marketing tool. You can expect visitors who ordinarily would not come to your gallery. You can also usually expect exorbitant prices that would lead you to believe that you are acquiring a masterwork that will be a family heirloom and asset for years to come. Some are so enthralled with "celebrity" that they will part with thousands of dollars for a mediocre painting by an entertainer who has long since faded back into obscurity.
A press release for Goldsboro states, "Bobby Goldsboro’s music has always stirred the emotions. now, his paintings are doing the same".
For some of us we fervently hope that the emotions evoked by his song "Honey" NOT be resurrected. The lyrics mention a "not there" Honey ,who was "kinda dumb and kinda smart". The condescending narrator laughs at her for planting a tree and then "laughed till he cried" when she "slipped and almost hurt herself". He gives her a puppy for Christmas and then complains that it" kept him up"all night. Honey would continually cry needlessly (over something silly, he said) in the middle of the day and at night when he got off the late shift. What about when she wrecked the car and was afraid that he'd be mad? He was pissed... he's now saying' that he was only pretending (gotta keep up the bully act, right.) And then, just like that,with no warning, when he says that he wasn't his words......"the angels came" He emphasises that she was ALONE.
Well pal , I think that the police might have some questions for you down at the station. Is that fresh dirt below the tree there? You had a habit of coming home unexpectedly. Why is that? Ok, maybe she slipped again and hurt herself really bad . After laughing at her like you usually do, you noticed that she was out cold, that she might have a serious concussion and then, as you say, the "angels came." It's panicked and weren't thinkin' clearly. Or maybe you were upset that she wrecked the car again? Is that your shovel over there? Yeah sure, we know...yer bein' good , you told us , but we're callin' the cops. Enough with the tree!....We see it ....yeah sure, used to be small . What happened to the puppy?

Goldsboro, who first picked up a brush three years ago asks around 6000 dollars and his 8x10 prints are 300 dollars. He lives near Ocala.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Separated At Birth ?

Our defense attorney Tom Cushman (left) Film Director/producer George Lucas (right)

Tom Cushman battles the "forces of evil" for artists.

Lucas is an artist who depicts the battle of good and evil in his films.

Both have that "squinty eyed" John Wayne style.

Both know when to talk and when to be silent ( Tom's clients could learn from this)

In 1977 Lucas released his film "Star Wars". Later that year Tom went to a theater to see that very same film!

An important setting in Lucas' "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" was the church in the Piazza San Marco.

Tom Cushman has an office on San Marco Blvd.

In the year 2000, at a Celebrity race Lucas competed in a a Toyota Scion tC Sports Coupe.

Tom drives a Toyota Solara.

Lucas does not attend Star Wars Conventions. Neither does Tom.

Both like licorice.

NEXT: Separated at Birth , City Prosecutor Robin Upchurch and Wednesday Addams.

From The Studio To The Street

"Peces de Colores" quadtych , each 12"x 12"x 1.5" giclee on canvas

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Art Advocate - Bill Lennon

Candidate for Mayor, Former Commissioner Bill Lennon

"As a young man I was very involved in rock and roll,......all my talents are in hockey and boxing. I hope this gives you a little of my back round (sic) as far as the arts go."

"Nobody likes anybody who sues the city."

You can't set up your art here.............I wrote the law !"

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Art Not Welcome by City bureaucrats

St. Augustine. Daytona Beach, New Smyna, Key West. etc. Damn you Johnny Depp !

"T-shirt and key chain merchants may be tacky, but they pay the rent on time."

Susan Parker, Former City Historian, Heritage Preservation Consultant for the Florida Department of State. Feb. 19, 2008 , St. Augustine Record.

"The city is the biggest landlord on St. George Street. "

Feb. 19, 2008 St. Augustine Record

" The Woolworth building on King Street was built around the turn of the 20th century."

Dr. Bill Adams , Director of the City of St. Augustine's Department of Heritage Tourism, in his opinion that the artists detracted from the historic surroundings of the Plaza. Nov, 13 2007 , Special City Commission meeting. ........Fact: The Woolworth building was built in 1959. It is now completely fronted on the sidewalk with racks of 3 for $10 T shirts and a life sized epoxy pirate.
"Oh Yeah, I forgot." Adams response to the above when it was pointed out after this "special meeting" prohibiting artists.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

What is Ok, What is Not

Activity within the past 30 days
click on to enlarge

Richard Childs

Richard Childs of the United States Street Artists Union is more than a regular visitor to St. Augustine. " I spend about a quarter of the year here and the rest of my time in New York" says Richard. He has told us that the U.S.S.A.U is considering affiliation with the I.W.W. to strengthen it's collective position from a niche industry ( independent artists) "We take great interest in the issues here in St. Augustine."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Oh Sherri

As a result of restrictive city ordinances St. Augustine has lost a number of talented artists in the past year. Sherri Adriano was one of our Art In The Market artists who was forced to take her talents elsewhere or risk arrest.

Our loss is the village of Cortez Florida's gain. Here is a Sarasota Herald- Tribune story from last Thursday.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Fellow Citizens,

If you've never been arrested, it goes like this. (provided that you do not resist and we definitely do not recommend doing that)

It's Saturday Afternoon - You are handcuffed with your hands behind your back . You wonder what is going to happen to your art and your dog.

You are put into the back seat of a police car and delivered to the County Jail where the cuffs are removed .

You empty your pockets and give over your wallet.

You wait on a metal bench with no back in booking. Do not try to lie down or lean on your elbow even if your back is killing you. You will get a sharp command to "SIT UP!"

A nurse who is busy carrying on a joking conversation about another corrections officer's hangover will ask some cursory questions without ever looking at you. Blood pressure is taken. You mention your aching back and are completely ignored . The hungover officer is sucking oxygen from a clear mask. You think of of Dennis Hopper in the film "Blue Velvet".

You cool your heels on the bench another forty five minutes listening to the banter amongst the officers who are behind a reinforced plate glass window with paper trays slots for documents to be passed and signed. You are invisible. They discuss last weekend's BBQ, the "asshole" over in Putnam County and other idle chatter while they move papers around, stamping and stapling."I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU AGAIN DUDE, SIT UP !" Your sciatica is shooting electric pains down the back of your left leg. You feel some resentment being called "Dude" by someone half your age. You are thinking about your 13 year old dog and wonder how he is faring in custody somewhere.

A guard takes you down the hall where you are fingerprinted and photographed with the traditional front and left side poses. A plastic bracelet is crimped onto your left wrist. On it is your Id with the tiny front view photograph and a bar code.

Next you are put into a sticky "holding cell" that smells of vomit. Another short metal bench. Try to lie down and you are again barked at from the window slot ( NO LYING DOWN !). You ignore the warning since your sciatica is acting up and you are weary.

After an hour has passed you are sent to a stall where you take a brief shower (you are being observed) You change into an issued orange jumpsuit, poly cotton boxer shorts and rubber sandals. Your clothes are put into a brown paper bag.

You are also given a stained plastic covered 2 inch thick mattress , a set of sheets, a toothbrush, a tiny toothpaste tube and a comb. Awkwardly carrying the mattress and items you are taken to a lock down cell on the second floor loggia,semi circled around what looks like a common area for prisoners. A few prisoners are occupying the other cells A few yell out requests to the guard ,"Can I make a phone call?", When is food coming?"etc. The door closes.Your cellmate is a guy named Dave who was charged with stealing a bottle of rum from the liquor store. You immediately sense that it has been sometime since his last shower. Sounds are distorted with reverberating echos bouncing around the cinder block walls.The intercom in each cell makes some sort of human voice sound once in awhile but the exact words are indecipherable.

You will not go anywhere until the next morning since you were arrested on Saturday and the judge will not come in until Sunday. The judge will set your bond and a court date. If you are accustomed to reading before you sleep at night forget it. After reading some of the graffiti scraped on the walls (Sheriff Shoar Sucks! Jesus Loves You) There is not a lot of diversion other than your mind to occupy yourself. A food tray is delivered but you do not eat it keeping in mind that the food contract went to the lowest bidder. You will eat when you get out. You try to sleep worrying about your 13 year old dog.

Sunday Morning. Eighteen hours after your arrest, a garbled scratchy sound comes from the intercom speaker and the gate clicks open. You and five other prisoners are chained at the ankle and handcuffed .You are all strung together with a "belly chain" and you can't help but think of the old Woody Allen monologue where they escape prison as a giant "charm bracelet" (Did we really laugh at that?) Dave is chained next to me and the guy on the other side of Dave is causing trouble cause of the smell. "SHUT THE FUCK UP!", says the guard. He does.The others seem more adept at making our way down the hall. You can't seem to get the group rhythm down and your missteps affect everybody chained to you. You don't care.

After standing around for a half hour ("NO LEANING AGAINST THE WALL!") you and your chain gang buddies are shuffled into a room with a desk in front and five rows of benches (again no backs!) facing the front. The group is told that the judge will be arriving soon and we are not to discuss our case or speak without being addressed by the judge. It you do so you may be removed from the room. The judge enters looking annoyed (It IS Sunday) papers are shuffled three or four others are up front. Two are not in uniform (Public defenders? Prosecutors?) Two sleepy looking tangle haired women prisoners are brought in and placed on the benches in front of us. Looking around at the prisoners you notice something in common. Lots of facial hair and tattoos. You wonder why criminals would want to mark themselves to be so identifiable. One guy seems still a little inebriated and starts spouting off about the unfairness of his situation. He is unchained from the rest of us and taken away.

Cases are called. DUI and domestic violence dominates the charges , after all this is Sunday morning after a full moon Saturday. Writer Raymond Chandler wrote , " ....On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husband's necks. Anything can happen...." A few are in for drug possession and you wonder why they don't leave their drugs at home since most have had these charges before.

Your case comes up. The judge is perplexed "This is a city ordinance violation?" A ridiculously small bond is set at 100 dollars. Great! You are confident that your friends will bail you out. You are anxious to get out to find where they have taken your 13 year old dog . He must be in distress!

Eventually you do not get out for another 12 hours. Your stomach is churning not having eaten for a day, Declining the food trays slid under your gate you start imagining what you will eat when you get out. The twenty dollar bill in your wallet can get you a nice meal.......mmm, a a steak!

Finally, you are told to drag your mattress to the front of the common area and are given your clothes. You get dressed and are relieved that you will be going home. "Go down the hall to the last room. "Do not stray from the yellow line!", says the jailer. You enter the room where you are told that they want to swab the inside of your mouth for a DNA sample. "No", you say, "I'm not gonna do that". "OK, THEN YOU'RE  GOIN' BACK IN THE CELL AND YOU CAN ROT THERE!," the jailer bellows. Once again you undress and put your clothes in a brown paper bag with your name written on it with a sharpie pen. This time you get no "gift bag" of toothpaste, comb etc. I find out later that DNA samples are taken of all inmates who have prior felonies, of which I have none.

You are finally released at 8:30 pm , Sunday Night. Friends posted bond. They waited hours earlier for your release but finally went home.Their inquiries as to when the release would be is, met with the response ,"I don't know". You have been incarcerated for almost 31 hours.You say, "Hey. I had twenty dollars in my wallet!" The large heavy breathing , obese , angry jailer says, "We took that for administrative expenses." Looking at his name tag you see that his last name is "Pious". You feel robbed.

With no money, not wanting to disturb anyone on a Sunday night, you walk the two miles back to your car and on the windshield you discover a red tag from the police stating that your car will be towed if not removed in 48 hours. It's 10 PM Sunday night and another artist is set up in the Plaza. He loans you some money to get something to eat. Tomorrow you will find out where they took your old dog.

On Monday morning you get your dog back after paying 75 dollars to Animal Control who housed him. You promise him that this will never happen to him again. The animal control people said that he was not happy there and would not eat.You get a "free" leash outta the deal.

Six months later your "unauthorized art" is returned in the courtroom and you are found innocent of the charges. You wonder if you will ever see that twenty dollars that was taken from your wallet.

In addition to this incarceration the artist Suvo has been arrested and jailed on the same charges three more times. Eleven other citations had been issued as well.  UPDATE...In May 2009, Federal Judge Marcia Morales Howard ruled against the City of St. Augustine and in favor of the artists in Bates et al VS The City of St. Augustine. All charges were vacated and costs were billed to the City of St. Augustine. Over 100, 00 dollars has been spent by the city in outside legal fees on indefensible unconstitutional ordinances.It is now September of 2010 and the city continues to harass artists by threatening fines and arrest.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Art of Sarah Platt

Some months ago a talented young artist from Lake Mary set up her paintings and prints in the plaza on a Sunday morning across the street from the Cathedral. No other artists were there to assist her and help her set up. We would've suggested (though hypocrites we may be) that a large 4'x3' canvas be partially covered as some may take offense. This was the Bishop's day to say high Mass and she was only about sixty feet from the front doors of the Basillica. Alas, no one else was there to give her that advice.

She was ticketed 100 dollars for "offering for sale" her prints and paintings. Later we told her that she might have gotten away with a warning but for the two celestials coupling in her big painting.

We were criticized for covering up the painting as we did above here. So as not to appear censorial we have linked it here without any cover up. Use the back button to return here.

Le Moyne

What He Saw at the Clash of Civilizations
Reviewed By STUART FERGUSON for The Wall Street Jounal
July 18, 2008; Page W8
Painter in a Savage Land By Miles Harvey (Random House, 338 pages, $27)
Jacques le Moyne de Morgues may be the most influential artist you've never heard of. His elegant depictions of 16th-century Florida's flora and fauna -- including its native inhabitants and questing imperial visitors -- have made their way into millions of primary-school textbooks and have served, for historians, as the documentary record of a time (so hard to imagine now) before cellphone cameras.CONTINUED

Kate Merrick - Studio Azul

Kate Merrick of Studio Azul demonstrating her portraiture skills in the Plaza. Kate is recently back from an extended stay at her other home in the Dominican Republic. Visit Kate's website.

Offensive Speech

Romance In The Plaza Gazebo*
An excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called “America Alone” (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.
“In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one’s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,” Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called “The Exceptional First Amendment.”
“But in the United States,” Professor Schauer continued, “all such speech remains constitutionally protected.”

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


THIEME, Anthony (1888-1954)"Arcade in St. Augustine"Oil on Canvas24 x 29 inches

From :Lost Colony: The Artists of St. Augustine, 1930-1950 by Robert Wilson Torchia

"The Art Association gradually became a provincial organization run by local art enthusiasts.
Other circumstances also prevented the Art Association from fulfilling its potential. Motivated largely by self-interest, St. Augustine's business community generously supported the group, but during the Bonfield years the association's pragmatic values and aesthetic conservatism began to stifle creativity. With few exceptions, the city's art community was unwilling to embrace the abstract expressionism that was de rigueur in more sophisticated northern art colonies, such as Provincetown, where the presence of Hans Hoffman (1880-1966) attracted some of the most famous and progressive American artists of the era. The Art Association's officers were out of step with their time and invariably sought to attract traditionalists, such as Kronberg, Thieme, Wiggins, and Woodward, to serve as magnets for other artists. Many of the paintings produced by the group's artists -- for example, Fritz -- were unabashedly souvenirs for the tourist market, and there was a limit to how long such subjects as historic houses, shrimp boats, and the semitropical landscape could maintain the consumer's interest."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Permission To Speak ?

"We make our own rules down here"...former St. Augustine city prosecutor

Election time is coming up here for our city commissioners. We've heard that a couple of the candidates have expressed a desire that the city be more "artist friendly". Time and again we hear of those that feel the artists, musicians, bead stringers, craftspersons etc. could have a juried system set up and a market could be established in a designated public place and perhaps have a lottery for those spaces. Artist friendly...right? No.

We have tried to be clear about our endeavors to stand up for artist's rights as recognized by the Federal courts. Public space has been the traditional forum for freedom of expression in America. Do we believe in "rules"? Of course we do. Reasonable time, place and manner regulations are necessary to maintain an orderly aesthetic. The key word is "Reasonable". Art is speech. Artist's rights are also your rights.

Here we have an interview with Robert Lederman, an advocate for street artists, freedom of speech and open public spaces. Robert sued the city of New York to strike down permit requirements for artists in public spaces. His case went to the Supreme Court and is cited in many free speech cases. Robert explains our stance very succinctly.

Very Soon this issue will be in the National spotlight. Our city will be known as America's Oldest Police State. Watch what is going to happen. Passivity is over. Most of us are members of A.R.T.I.S.T. Artists in N.Y.C., Reno, Nev, Boston, Chicago , Venice Beach, CA are our brothers and sisters in this battle and we communicate. Perhaps you city officials here in St. Augustine should be contacting you counterparts in those cities. Ask em in Reno, Nevada and other cities how their attempts at stifling free speech worked for them. Link.

You have the police and their handcuffs. You have the jails. You have your hired "constitutional expert". Your offers of unacceptable alternative spaces and your wholesale purchases from selected artists in our grooup are seen for what they are...transparent shams.

You continue violate the law and we will do our utmost exposing these gross violations to the public. We may well end up being just one old Rottweiler and a grizzled white haired eccentric but keep sending the cops and we''ll provide the prisoner.(but he'd rather not go)

In preparation of a Federal lawsuit our attorneys have asked (under the Sunshine Law) for materials pertinent to the passage of the November 07 ordinance which bans us from the historic districts. Hopefully this is done in a timely fashion so that we can get on with our day in Federal court. We do not have confidence that we get justice in the St. Johns County court system.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dean Quigley

That's Art In The Market artist Dean Quigley as naturalist/artist William Bartram. Dean is considered an expert on Bartram's 18 century Southern travels. He has worked closely with The University of Florida illustrating a number of books from the University's press. Dean is in Pensacola by invitation this week discussing artist's involvement in Pensacola's 450th anniversary. At a later date we will let you know what agency he was talking with and the extent of artists' involvement in their anniversary.
St. Augustine's own organization, the 450 group is headed by a commissioner who has shown himself to be an enemy of free expression and the U.S. Constitution. We do not expect the City to want the involvement of Art In The Market artists. Pensacola seems to have a different mindset

Charles Dickinson - Bar Harbor Show

Word comes to us that Art In The Market artist Charles Dickinson had a successful opening last night at the Salty Dog Gallery in Southwest Harbor Maine. Folks sampled wine and cheese (lobster rolls?) while viewing the plein air paintings Charles completed outdoors in the area. He also met a few collectors who had acquired their first works here in St. Augustine at Plaza de la Constitucion.*

*Eighteen months ago, as he was painting at St.George St and Hypolita, Charles was told by the local St. Augustine police to either pack up or face arrest.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Orson Welles

We have received an email from Hollywood screenwriter Joseph C. Cavella giving us insight into his film Freedom River.

From: Joseph C. Cavella

"Freedom River is getting way more attention now than it did when I wrote the screenplay. Here’s how the film came to life. Over several of years, Bosustow Films, a small studio I occasionally wrote films for, had asked Orson Welles, then living in Paris, to narrate one of their films. He never responded. When I finished the Freedom River script, we sent it to him together with a portable reel to reel tape recorder and a sizable check and crossed our fingers.He either was desperate for money or (I would rather believe) something in it touched him because two weeks later we got the reel back with the narration word for word and we were on our way."

Joseph C. Cavella

Welles, as an independent director/producer, was continually on the margins of the industry. Insiders say that in 1968 he ran afoul of the Nixon White House for narrating a political satire critical of the president.The I.R.S.(reputedly under White House orders) seized his production funds causing severe financial difficulties. He was an exacting filmmaker and the financial difficulties remained throughout his lifetime. Voice overs and cameo roles in other directors film
s maintained him. ( do you remember the Dean Martin Roasts or the Gallo Wine commercials?)
For years J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I. extensively shadowed and monitored Welles after William Randolph Hearst exerted his influence to suppress Welles' films feeling that Citizen Kane was a smear against him.
It is understandable then, that he is quoted as saying that he had more freedom both personally and artistically when he lived and worked in Europe. These remarks led our government to label him a communist and "anti American". Such was the mindset of a good number of Americans in those days.
Let us say that we consider Welles to be distinctly and honorably American. Throughout his career he fought for personal and artistic freedom sometimes exacting a heavy toll.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

We'll Keep Coming Back !

We will fight to have our rights restored ! Visit us in the Plaza de la Constitucion

Give Us More Regulations

The Artists In The Market have a recurring discussion amongst us regarding the physical appearance of the tourists passing by. We do not mean to be superficial and some of us certainly may fall into a borderline obese condition. There is a noticeable trend occurring. This year we are seeing less shopping bags and more ice cream cones in the hands of visitors.

An estimated two of every three American adults, and more than one in six children and adolescents are considered overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics states that the average man measured 39 inches while the average woman measured 36.5 inches at the waist.

From where we sit we can see ample evidence of this. Remember your teen years? We recall the years when we could and would eat anything in mass quantities. We were like sharks in search of protein. What we did do was burn it off, not on a treadmill but youthful exuberance seemed to keep us lean and hormonal. How is it that we now see teens whose physique resembles a sedentary fifty year old? Sure we rarely see serious acne anymore but we see now see lots of fat kids. Too many Lunchables? Another reason? Pepsico, drug companies, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Mars candy, Coca Cola, Sara Lee are all giving considerable revenue to school districts in return for exclusive placement in the cafeterias. A corporate-dietitian-school triad has been established and the children pay via obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and attention deficit.

Perhaps the regulation minded will come up with "fatty credits". Four trips to the salad bar get you points for a double dip ice cream cone. Imagine the system similar to the environmental "carbon offset" programs. If you choose to go to Outback Steakhouse but have no "fatty credits" available, you can call a commodities exchange, using your credit card to purchase "fatty offsets" from those who have excess offset points(the "skinnies"). If your credit card is maxed and you are short of cash you will have settle for celery stalks and V8 juice. Yes sir! I'll bet that the think tanks are already working on this and the profiteers are dreaming of untold profits in trading in a necessary availability.

Meanwhile, we have here in the nation's oldest city group of bureaucrats who feel that they can control and regulate the basic rights and freedoms our nation was founded upon.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

We Won't Back Down

This is dedicated to the artists who continue to exercise their right to display and sell their works on public property risking fines and arrest in St. Augustine, Florida . the nations oldest city.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Thomas Paine - Forgotten Patriot

Thomas Paine 1737 - 1809

The existence of Thomas Paine was as important to our Freedoms as Adams . Jefferson and Washington.

Paine quotes

"A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right."
"A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."
"But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing."

"My country is the world, and my religion is to do good."
"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection. "

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Peg McIntire 1911 - 2008

photo by Peter Willott
Our Friend Peg
Activist for Peace & Justice

John Lynch 1945 - 2008

When tourists or residents complained about the "bums" in the Plaza it was many times in reference to John Lynch. Whatever sent Mr. Lynch on the road to broken down alcoholism, we'll never know. He was usually in an extremely foul mood. Life had battered him apparently and he escaped into the bottle. He had over 32 citations and a number of incarcerations from" open container" violations to aggravated battery(drunken disputes).
If anyone took the time to talk with John they would find that it wasn't easy to make friends with him, but eventually you could get him to smile at a joke or express thanks for the donut or whatever. He had eyes that were a striking blue when not bloodshot. If he had been dry for awhile (jail time) his appearance changed to a tall ,distinguished ,white haired 63 year old gent who could be mistaken for the head of the Rotary. This change was brief, until he got a hold on another bottle
Mr. Lynch had a rough year . His favorite bench was made off limits when he got out of the slammer the last time. He was incontinent and his legs stopped working , so he had been assigned a wheelchair on his last hospital/jail incarceration. The local cops were amazed at his durability. The last time that I saw him, his wheelchair was parked next to the Cathedral on St. George. I bought him a pizza slice and asked him if he was ok. "Goddamn legs won't work anymore!" he barked. I said, "You sound like your old self, you grumpy bastard". He grinned and went about eating the pizza. "Can you get me a goddamn beer? I considered it for a moment but then told him, "I can't John".
I found out that Mr. Lynch's body finally gave out and he died recently. I thought about the speech to the troops from the film "Gladiator".
"If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled for you are in Elysium and you are already dead."
.......Enjoy the green fields and the sun on your face, John.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Gangsta Car

The S.A.P.D. are most likely disgusted with the job of surveilling (word?) artists on the street. They might ask themselves "Is this why I went into law enforcement?".

Never let it be said that City Manager Bill Harriss won't take on the dirty jobs himself. Yesterday Harriss and an underling were spotted in a black S.U.V. with a fellow in the back seat taking photos of artists set up in a "legal" area. This was reported to us by a painter and a photographer (who somehow didn't think to take his own photos) Fellow artists.....keep your cameras handy and your voice recorders ready. If you do not have these things didn't happen.

A friend of ours from Paraguay said that these things happened in his country during the Stroessner regime. He was aghast that this happens here.

A cynic is simply a disappointed idealist.

Artists Among Us

ARTIST POWER by the numbers...
NY TimesJune 12, 2008
A 21st-Century Profile: Art for Art's Sake, and for the U.S. Economy, Too
If all the professional dancers in the United States stood shoulder to shoulder to form a single chorus line, it would stretch from 42ndStreet for nearly the entire length of Manhattan. If every artist inAmerica's work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farmworker."It's easy to talk about artists in lofty and spiritual terms," said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. "Without denying the higher purposes of the artistic vocation, it's also important to remember that artists play an important role in
America's cultural vitality and economic prosperity. Artists have immense financial and social impact as well as cultural impact."Drawing from the census, the endowment has compiled what it bills as the first nationwide profile of professional artists in the 21stcentury.In 2005 nearly two million Americans said their primary employment was in jobs that the census defines as artists' occupations — including architects, interior designers and window dressers. Their combined income was about $70 billion, a median of $34,800 each.
Another300,000 said artist was their second job.The percentage of female, black, Hispanic and Asian artists is bigger among younger ones. Among artists under 35, writers are the only group in which 80 percent or more are non-Hispanic white. Overall, women outnumber men only among dancers, designers and writers. Similarly,while 60 percent of professional photographers are men, 60 percentunder age 35 are women.
Like the population in general, the number of artists has grownfastest in the West and the South since 1990, but New York State,followed by California, Massachusetts, Vermont and Colorado, has the most artists per capita.California claims the most actors per capita, Nevada the most dancers and entertainers, Vermont the most writers, Tennessee the most musicians, New Mexico the most fine artists, Massachusetts the most architects and designers (including, among others, commercial,fashion, floral, graphic, interior designers and window dressers),Hawaii the most photographers and North Dakota (where radio showsabound) the most announcers.
By 2005 the proportion of non-Hispanicwhites among artists had declined to 80 percent from 86 percent in1990, but the proportion of blacks, 5 percent, remained the same.San Francisco leads metropolitan areas in the proportion of artists inthe work force, followed by Santa Fe (which ranks first in writers and fine artists), Los Angeles, New York and Stamford-Norwalk in suburbanConnecticut. The Top 10 also include Boulder, Colo.; Danbury, Conn.;and Seattle.Orlando, Fla., leads in entertainers and performers.
The "Artists in the Workforce" report, prepared by Sunil Iyengar, the endowment's director of research and analysis, identified 185,000writers, 170,000 musicians and singers, nearly 150,000 photographers,nearly 40,000 actors and 25,000 dancers. (They have the youngest median age, 26, and the highest proportion of minority workers, 40percent).The only artists whose ranks declined since 1990 were, as a group, fine artists, art directors and animators, to 216,000 from 278,000.The number of announcers also dropped.More than one in four artists live in California and New York, wheretheir sheer numbers are overwhelming compared to the artist colonies in other states. New Mexico, Vermont, Hawaii and Montana rank first in fine artists per capita, but they total 7,000, compared with 66,000 inCalifornia and New York combined. Since 2000 Minnesota, New Jersey,Rhode Island and New Mexico gained in the proportion of artists compared to all workers.
Mr. Gioia attributed the spread of artists beyond traditional urban clusters to the growth of cultural institutions in maturing cities in the South and West, the mobility of the work force, technology that enables a painter in Santa Fe to reach a broader audience and the high cost of living in cities including Boston, New York, San Francisco andLos Angeles.Overall, the median income that artists reported in 2005 was $34,800 —$42,000 for men and $27,300 for women.
The median income of the 55percent of artists who said they had worked full-time for a full year was $45,200.Over all, artists make more than the national median income ($30,100).They are more highly educated but earn less than other professionalswith the same level of schooling. They are likelier to be self-employed (about one in three and growing) and less likely to work full-time, year-round. (Dancers have the lowest median annual income of all artists, architects the highest — $20,000 and $58,000,respectively.)
"Many performing artists are underemployed," Mr. Gioia said, "but one of the stereotypes we're trying to debunk is that artists are mostlymarginal and unemployed."About 13 percent of people who say their primary occupation is artist also hold a second job — about twice the rate that other people in the labor force work two jobs. The majority of artists work for for-profit enterprises but 8 percent work for private, nonprofits and 3 percent work for government.
While the number of artists doubled between 1970 and 1990 as theaters,galleries, orchestras and university and commercial venues grew, their ranks since 1990 have increased at about the same rate as the total work force. They now represent 1.4 percent of the labor force, or nearly as many people as the active and reserve armed forces

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Looking The Other Way

St. Augustine City Police uses male and female undercover operatives to get the artists to actually quote a price for their work and then they issue a $100 fine and sometimes jail.

In contrast, the St. John's County Sheriff's Office use their resources to actually CATCH CRIMINALS ! Here is the story of an alleged bad step - father and his unfortunate son.

If these guys are guilty, it is possible that they offloaded their multitude of stolen goods at their residence right on St. George Street about 200 feet from the surveillance of the artists. ( Read correction in comments) Now I'm not a police dog and yeah, I'm second guessing, but the photo above illustrates how it would've looked to Officer Tyus the beat cop and the crew watching he artists.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Public Art - Big Apple Style

New Yorkers can do it up big ! The world's largest public art project is now complete. ( OK, we'll give you the Pyramids ) Artist Olafur Eliasson designed a huge constant waterfall on the East River underneath a buttress of the Brooklyn Bridge.

We think that it looks remarkable. That said......we are always perplexed when communities always bring up fountains as an art project. How many defunct water pumps sit idle in communities across the country? Fountain maintenance is one of the first things scrapped during fiscal tightening. Think of the Koi Pond in back of the Government House (near the dead Confederate General. )

Anyway, you know that screenwriters are busy trying to work this Hitchcock setting into their plots. Story and Film

Big Things Coming !

St. Augustine citizens are starting to prepare for the city's 450th birthday celebration in 2015. Jamestown, Va had it's 400th anniversary last year and it brought out the Queen of England and the President of the United States. Pensacola Fla. has begun it's preparations for a 450th celebration in 2009,billing itself arguably as"North America’s First Major European Settlement". The term North America may mean different things to different people in the world according to the context.

Parts of the programs at Colonial Williamsburg has been mentioned as a model for St. Augustine. It is important to note that Colonial Williamsburg is a privately owned recreation of 17th century life and has many inaccuracies. To some critics Colonial Williamsburg has become a sort of "theme park" with its many reenactments and "living history " programs.

No one needs to remind people that St. Augustine is a "living city". When we celebrate our own birthdates we think of the present and future as well as the past.

Let's also remember that the geographic area of St. Augustine was a busy population center when the Spanish landed. See Seloy

It's going to be fun !