Thursday, December 24, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

No Sitting!

Plans for protective fencing around the Spanish Constitutional monument in the Plaza de la Constitucion were tabled until the next meeting by the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB)
City employee Mark Knight reported that the monument has been the target of Sharpie markers, skateboarders and the bottoms of tourists attending downtown events like Nights of Lights.
The city proposed removing the chain between the vertical posts surrounding the monument and replacing the chain with powder-coated aluminum fencing.

"This is a very old, original artifact," said David Birchim, city planning manager. "We are not trying to keep people from looking at it, just from touching it."

Powder - coated aluminum fencing? That's in keeping with the historical motif!? This has led to the rumor that an electrical fence will surround the obelisk. Read carefully says powder coated, not power.

Here in St. Augustine we have three of these sacred upright phallic erections in and around the Plaza. General Loring's has the top lopped off. The joke is too obvious here so we will just not comment on that. Same with the cannons.

"Simple sex worship or the worship of phallic or sexual emblems have been reported in various parts of the (ancient) world. Existence of worship consisting of prostitution of women and emasculated priests was also found. Prostitution in these cultures was considered a sacred vocation. As civilization advanced, sex worship came to be carried on by means of symbolism. Upright objects were selected, because of their form, as the simplest expression of phallic ideas."
By Brown II, Sanger
The Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Vol 10(5), Dec 1915, 297-314.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Losing Public Spaces

Artist protester in Venice Beach, Calif.

The legal counsel for The City of St. Augustine feels that they can skirt the legalities of common public space by simply dubbing the public walkways, "proprietary city facilities". City Attorney Ron Brown will be proposing a resolution to do this at tonight's 5 pm commission meeting. The large amount of sidewalks and paths all around the Visitor Information Center and the Parking Garage will no longer be a public forum if this passes. Keep your city sidewalks, and parks public, or lose them. You St. Augustinians must decide or let complacency rule as tends to be the case here.

The resolution, if approved, will establish that such areas are not a public forum therefore vending activities should be banned. We strongly disagree in part and say that this promenade is a perfect example of public space for free speech. That said, it is clear that City Attorney Ron Brown is confused about what constitutes "free speech". Merchandising of non first amendment goods is NOT protected as a right of the citizens. ............Here is our message ........Do what you will with the flea market vendors....... do not lump the visual artists into that group. *

* Essentially , only one of our Art in The Market artists uses this area for display.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Memo from St. Augustine Police: One of these artists keeps trying to escape. Throw him in the county jail!

Friday, December 11, 2009

In Bondage for Life

Expect to see more schlock like this from Annie Liebovitz
Celebrity photographer Annie Liebovitz has sold her soul to the devil moneylenders and now is the time to settle up with those greedy minions. The attached story illustrates how avarice can affect the artist. Artist in Debt

Martin Johnson Heade

Had a home on San Marco Avenue
Henry Flagler was sponsor and patron
Painted in public throughout St. Augustine
Martin Johnson Heade as a Young Man, by Thomas Hicks, early 1840s,
Valuable Heade Painting Found at Flea Market!
see previous story
Possibly valued at $200, 000+ Further inspection needed
Jacksonville, FL (Vocus) December 10, 2009 -- A retired military man in Jacksonville, Florida has recovered a Martin Johnson Heade nineteenth-century oil painting at a local flea market. The painting is signed by the artist, and features the now-extinct Dusky Seaside Sparrow (Black Shore Finch.)
Martin Johnson Heade was a prolific American painter known for his salt marsh landscapes, seascapes, portraits of birds, and still life. Art historians consider him one of the most important American artists of his generation.
While rummaging through paintings at a flea market, Mr. Victor Hazon Hall spotted the 18”x14” oil painting, among stacks of reproductions.
“I immediately noticed the beauty of this painting, and as I turned it around, I was shocked to see the signature of Martin Johnson Heade on the painting’s stretcher,” said Hall. Research proved the signature is consistent with other Johnson Heade works of art. “I am calling this painting the Last Dusky on Earth. I believe this painting is destined to be the greatest bird and floral work done by Johnson Heade,” said Hall.
The Dusky birds are prominent in Hall’s recovered composition. Throughout his life, Johnson Heade was devoted to protecting bird species. The Dusky bird is now extinct due to encroachment on its habitat. The Dusky was found in only one place on earth, Merritt Island near St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine was Mr. Heade’s home from 1883 until his death in 1904.
The recovered painting’s colors are consistent with other paintings by the artist, as evidenced in the identical color and structure of the hay in the bird’s nest. The dying flower in the painting may be a metaphor that this particular species’ days were numbered. The Dusky was the nation’s first bird to become extinct after the list was created in 1966.
Hall submitted the painting to testing by a well-known art conservation restoration center in Atlanta. The results confirmed the original integrity of the oil painting. The painting, ground, coating, tabbing and stretcher are consistent with confirmed works by Johnson Heade. Hall believes further forensic testing can provide written proof of his painting’s authenticity.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This Is America?

Our friends in Manhattan, artists Robert Lederman and Jack Nesbitt have been harrassed in NYC's newest park "The High Line". These arrests go nowhere since there is no legal basis. Robert Lederman, who won a supreme court decision allowing outdoor artists to set up and sell in any park in New York without a permit was arrested in Highline Park and issued five illegal summonses to the dismay of all fans of open air art and believers in the power of the US constitution , the courts, the laws of the land and those who enforce them.

The officers can be heard saying that this is a "special park". We have heard the same claptrap from the City of St. Augustine regarding the nation's oldest park, the Plaza de la Constitucion. These arrests as the are the arrests in St. Augustine of Suvo are eventually declared illegal by the Federal Courts but apparently the City administrations ignore Federal Court rulings ande make their own rules.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Oldest European Documents

Sister Catherine Bitzer slowly opened a file box and carefully removed a brittle page, scarred by years of neglectful storage, mold and insects. At 415 years old, the marriage record written by a Roman Catholic priest is still readable and is one of the oldest known European records from the United States. AP story Cont'd

Monday, November 30, 2009

Night Of Lights

November 21. Concert watchers in the Plaza waiting for the "Night of Lights" to be switched on

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A trip

You can listen online at

Criminalizing Ordinary Behavior

Photo by J.D. Pleasant
City Attorney Ron Brown and City Manager William Harriss

"En Plein air is a French expression meaning "in the open air"and refers to the act of painting outdoors with the artist's subject in full view. Plein air artists capture the spirit and essence of a landscape by incorporating natural light color and movement into their works." The Crescent Beach Paint Out Oct.2009.

For the past five years Island Fine Art in Crescent Beach has invited regional "plein air artists" to our town for a Paint Out. Artists scatter throughout the area setting up their easels in locations that they want to capture on canvas or paper. At the end of the day everyone meets and discuss their works over dinner and cocktails. At the end of the week works are hung and the public is invited to view and purchase those works done on location or plein air.

A watercolor artist from Winter Springs set up her easel in the plaza to paint the east facade of the Government House. In the midst of the painting, a police officer approached and told her that she must leave or be arrested. The artist first assumed that this was a joke...but no she found out that the law in St. Augustine prevents "artistry or the creation of art" in the Plaza de la Constitucion. The artist left with her watercolor unfinished.

Two days later she was perplexed when she saw a wedding photographer using the same view as background for the couple's album pictures. Surely the photographer considers his work artistry and so do we. Performances are also not allowed. The ordinance makes no exception, though the city has sanctioned Christian concerts and secular concerts almost every weekend. By the way, artists are now referred to in all documents as "street performers". The false logic of this is that street performers are not covered constitutionally as "fully protected" (it has to do with noise) while artists are fully protected constitutionally. Ergo...just call 'em something else.

Crime is caused by laws. Any action is simply an action until there's a law against it. "Criminals" are invented by legislators; fewer laws, fewer law breakers. Suvo

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

1. Ralph Waldo Emerson "Every actual State is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well."

2. Herbert Spencer "Society exists for the benefit of its members, not the members for the benefit of society."

3. Thomas Paine "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right. "

4. Victoria Woodhull "I shall not change my course because those who assume to be better than I desire it. "

5. Carl Shurz "From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. "

1851 Herbert Spenser's "Law of Equal Freedom" ..........Everyman is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.

Everyman is a visual artist... The City of St. Augustine will now start arresting artists once again. "This (the Plaza) is not public property , this is City property" . So says St. Augustine Police Officer Protami

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Blue Boy

No readers, we 're not kidding. This costume by Gainesboro is similar to St. Augustine Mayor Joe Boles' dress for "The Night of Lights" which has increasingly become the Mayor's own show. (Never mind that it is the low paid city employees who crawl through the trees hanging the two million lights) The Mayor and his Lady Jane will stand with other local luminaries above the crowd on the Governor's House balcony. His Excellency will bestow his good wishes to the common citizenry before escorting his entourage 100 yards to the Lightner Museum for a 300 dollar a couple dinner at the Lightner Museum. All funds (after considerable expenses) go towards removing the homeless from downtown.

Poor Joe, he seems to waver between the "good ole boy" act and posh Volvo drivin' metro sophisticate. All things to all people eh? When these kinds of attempts at acting are made, it usually comes off as ludicrous.

In his recent "Old City Life"magazine article, Mr. Mayor wrote about his personal significance with the number four. ( We suppose a monthly article can tax your imagination, coming up with stories).

Mr. forgot, in that article, to mention what City Attorney Brown calls "The Four Horsemen", Printers, Painters, Sculptors and Photographers. Would the taxpayers think that the $100, 000 spent on a lost Federal lawsuit insignificant? The citys illegal end run with lottery,licence fees and unduly restricted spaces will be met with more resistence.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Missed Perceptions

There are men too gentle to live among wolves

Who anoint them for burial with greedy claws

And murder them for a merchant's profit and gain.

There are men too gentle for a corporate world

Who dream instead of candied apples and ferris wheels

And pause to hear the distant whistle of a train.

There are men too gentle to live among wolves

Who devour them with eager appetite and search

For other men to prey upon and suck their childhood dry.

There are men too gentle for an accountant's world

Who dream instead of Easter eggs and fragrant grass

And search for beauty in the mystery of the sky.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Equal Treatment?

A picture is considered "speech" by the courts, honoring the First Amendment. Here in St. Augustine artists are considered a "safety hazard" impeding citizens and blocking sidewalks (we do not) The picture shows recent happenings in the Plaza of the Constitution in St. Augustine,Florida. One of these protests or events was fined 100 dollars based upon the ordinance that states the artist's displays or protests are considered a safety hazard. Religious groups and city sanctioned events are treated differently.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fine Art Found In Plaza Trash Bin!

We are grateful to Plaza bench sitter, "Catfish" for the retrieval
"This isn't right" said Catfish trying to flatten out a crumpled sheet of official SAPD paper. "They shouldn't do this!" Catfish's tone was indignant though Catfish was happy that,in the trashbin, along with a pencil drawing, he also found a parking timeslip with another hour left on it. He was happily indignant, a trait that I've never witnessed in a "normal" human. "I can get a buck for this if I move fast enough!" Now, we know that Catfish's "move fast" mode is about 1/4 the speed of an average citizen. This was Catfish's way of asking me for a dollar. The parking slip had what might be chocolate (blood?) smeared on part of it.We gave him a dollar,though parking is free on Sundays. He even got to keep the parking slip. We got the artwork for another dollar.Note: If Catfish ever tries to hand something to you.....first, always check out what it might be.
Actually, the officers here are writing a 100 dollar ticket for artist Kate Merrick (Bates, Merrick, Childs, Hecht vs. City of St. Augustine) for setting up her protest display in the Plaza. (more on that later)Is this juvenile of us? Yes, it is.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Moon Watching by Suvo 18"x24" mixed media on canvas

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Are Not Performers!

The newest unconstitutional ordinance against artists was passed in St. Augustine on Sept 14. The ordinance has yet to be published online. It has language that prohibits not only displays and sales of artwork on public property but also "the creation of artwork"within fifty feet of St. George Street and the entire Plaza and surrounding streets. This is the handiwork of "constitutional expert", attorney Michael Kahn of Melbourne Florida. Kahn gave the city commissioners two answers to the question posed by Commissioner Freeman, "Can an artist set up an easel and paint?" First he said directly,"No they cannot" and then he backpedaled and said that they can if it is not a "performance". Remember this.........the illegal ordinance states that no "artistry" is permitted and adds "creation of art" as banned. This is the essence of vague. A police officer now must decide whether the painter is "performing" or just painting. For this you paid the man Kahn 60 thousand taxpayer dollars? We believe that even city attorney Smilin' Ronny Brown could craft a clearer ordinance than this one without going beyond his salary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Can't Get To Dick Blick!

Somewhere Inside of Florida
So what do you do when you are "in the bush" and you are out of paints? Do what Bartram or Audubon did. Make your own. This frog was painted with the residue of boiled purple milkweed leaves for the green and sumac leaves (not poison sumac for God's sake!) for the black. Allow the material to steep overnight and strain it through cloth the next day. Mix in four parts cold water and one part vinegar for a fixative. It is important not to stand downwind as this does not smell like grandma's potpourri. Another lesson learned......wear rubber gloves when you are straining. My hands now look like they are in the first stages of decomposition......Zombie Hands!
Next I might look for wild papyrus and create a substrate on which to paint. Or, if I can wrestle down one of these feral boars I see evidence of, maybe I can make some really good brushes from the bristle. If you know me, you know that this is not likely. I'm not really a "back to nature" kind of guy. But it's fine for a rare week or so every few years. Now I'm thinking of a pork BBQ sandwich with cole slaw.I saw a Dairy Queen a few miles back and that's where Karl and I are headed,..... with my black hands.
Suvo .......... somewhere near a creek inside Florida

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Takin A Break

Karl Needs A Rest

Karl and Suvo are goin' to the "jungle" for a week . Maybe we'll look for the elusive ghost orchid. As many of you know, Florida is more than beaches and palm trees. We have an interior that has it's own character. So were "goin' native" to get ourselves together. I'm an old dog and I wanna splash in some fresh water springs and bark at a manatee before I leave y'all. Suvo will make cheese grits and buy some "bald peanuts" and I'll keep him company and eat chucksteak. We will post again in about a week. Meanwhile, we made a mix tape for on the old radio on the right.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

No Private Sidewalks in St. Pete

On October 1st, the St. Petersburg City Council voted against a plan to privatize the public sidewalk in front of the BayWalk downtown shopping center, marking a victory for civil liberties advocates who have worked to protect the time-honored right to free speech in the town square.

Part of the proposed "City of St. Petersburg BayWalk Revitalization Plan," the donation of the sidewalk to the owner of the complex was intended to allow management to exclude people who engage in First Amendment activities such as free assembly and free speech. In August, the ACLU of Florida wrote a letter to Mayor Rick Baker and City Council Chair Jeff Danner, urging them to oppose the proposed donation, pointing out that it would not only be against the best interests of citizens, but it would not accomplish the stated goal of excluding people who use the sidewalk for expressive purposes because of constitutional precedent making city sidewalks traditional public forums.

Showing that the public was not behind the proposal, over 150 people attended Thursday's City Council meeting to voice their opposition to giving away public property and stifling St. Petersburg residents' free speech rights. "We are very happy that the council rejected the idea that the First Amendment is bad for business," said ACLU of Florida Senior Attorney and Religious Freedom Project Director Glenn Katon. "Free speech is far too precious to give away in order to try to drum up business at a struggling shopping center. There are plenty of things the City can do to improve the BayWalk area without trampling on the Constitution."

The decision came at the conclusion of almost four hours of public commentary by local citizens, proving the efforts of residents to protect their constitutional rights can pay off. As the largest civil liberties organization in the state, the ACLU opposed the plan for both practical and legal reasons and strongly supported local residents in their resistance against this proposal. Among those who spoke eloquently against the proposal were Pinellas chapter members Ray Arsenault, Mark Kamleiter, Dwight Lawton, and Nigel Watson.

Not everyone was in support of the ACLU's position. A St. Petersburg Times column after the vote advocated for business interests and against the Constitution, stating: "When BayWalk is boarded up and completes its transformation from downtown St. Petersburg's jewel to its biggest eyesore, we will know whom to blame," referring to the four Council members who voted against the sidewalk giveaway.

"It is just plain wrong to assume that BayWalk's woes are due to a few protestors who have used the area to voice their opinion over the years." added Katon. The worst economic crisis of the last 50 years and acknowledged mismanagement of the complex are the more likely culprits. In fact, there were about a dozen protests at BayWalk in 2009 and only a couple during 2009. "Free speech is not what is hampering the success of BayWalk. There haven't been protests for some time and yet the shopping complex is not bustling with shoppers," Katon noted.

Glenn Katon,Senior Attorney and Director, Religious Freedom Project,American Civil Liberties Union of Florida

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fundraising Idea

Since we found out that the St. Augustine Historical Society has sold off 3 million dollars of Heade sketches we have come up with another fundraising idea for the struggling organization. That is, unless the historical folks are already chipping away at our buildings and selling on the internet.

These two items, one a piece of coquina reputedly from the fort and the other a chunk from the slave market are listed here for quite a bit of money though the prices have recently been reduced to $275. Take a walk around the old Government House (dating back all the way back to 1937) and you could pick up maybe a thousand dollars of stones. Don't do it! They will be watching you! Why, who would sell off this town little bits at a time? Unthinkable!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Heade Sale Redux

This Sunday's local paper was full of stories about a two year old art sale held secretly by the St. Augustine Historical Society. The Record seems a little slow on the uptake since we reported this story here two months ago. Everyone seems shocked! Two months from now no one will give this a thought.

Atheist Artist and The Saved Woman

"Have you heard that Jesus has plans for you?", said this 40 something farmer's wife looking woman.
"I'm sorry ? Beezer has fans for me, where?",I replied.
"Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour loves you and has plans for your eternal life"
"Oh, sorry, I misunderstood what you said. That's nice, thank you very much!", looking back down at my sketchpad.
"May I sit down and tell you his plans?"
"Actually, I'm working here.",I said
"It won't take but a minute."
"His plans will only take a minute?" I said thinking, 'That's not good !'
"Yes, he loves you and wants you to share in his kingdom."
"Uh.....That's nice, but no, I'm kinda busy."
She sits down anyway.
"Look ,I'm trying to be nice and hey, I really don't think that YOU know about his plans for me."
"His plans are for all of mankind"
"How about Karl here?",I said. pointing to the old dog.
"All of creation belongs to Jesus."
"Please, I'm working right now. I can hear your preacher on the sound system from here even though we are a block from the Plaza! Can you go save someone else?"
"May I leave this booklet with you that explains our mission?"
"Uh, sure ,Thank you."
"Ok, Remember that Jesus loves you and have a blessed day."
She gets up and goes her way.
I waited about 30 seconds before I tossed her Christian comic book in the trash receptacle.
I thought, "Why is it that the artists are banished from the Plaza (for safety reasons) while the Jesus Festival can take up half of the place and bellow fire and brimstone speeches, homophobic homilies and blast Christian Rock music?" Last week another church held a rally in the Plaza complete with a big screen TV. Many souls were abducted and saved by the pamphleteers canvassing the old Plaza
Well, we are in the Bible belt here aren't we? The Christian proselytizers have the upper hand with the city commission when it comes to the First Amendment.
As Former city prosecutor Jim Whitehouse told me, "We don't care what the laws says, we do things our own way here".

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Save the Artists!

Do you see where we are going with this?

Radio Days

First Coast Connect's, Melissa Ross

Today's First Coast Connect on Jacksonville's NPR affiliate, WJCT 89.9FM with artist Greg Travous (Suvo) and atty Michael Kahn had the call in lines backed up! Host Melissa Ross was busy punching phone buttons while Suvo was working the "cough"button (something that is needed at our local station.We actually heard WFOY's Kerry MCarthy blow her nose on the air!)

To hear the show go here and link on to First Coast Connect(on the left) Thurs. It'll be there for a few days and then be archived for October 1 later when they get around to it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Have A Face For Radio

At 9AM Thursday October 1, Michael Kahn, special legal counsel to the City of St. Augustine will be on hand for First Coast Connect , Melissa Ross' program on National Public Radio affiliate ,WJCT FM 89.9. Artist Greg Travous aka Suvo will also be in the studio for this discussion and call in show. Whatever position you hold, call the number (904) 549-2937 and make it a lively show.
You may catch the program on streaming audio no matter where you live so try to tune in right here, OK?

Monday, September 28, 2009

City Hall Thriller

"I seen this before, I mean I read about it in a Plastic Man comic!" Rodney was an excitable guy who did sidework cleaning offices after hours. "I was nosin' around the City Hall closets lookin for this awful stink and there they were man!" He was shaking like a child in the rain.
"Hold on Rod ,what are you talking about?"I said, trying to calm him down. "Circe changes Plastic Man into an animal and now I seen it myself. Mr. Harris the City boss was turnin into a big ole hog!"
"Wait a minute!"I interrupted. "Are you trying to tell me that Marvel comics is ripping off story lines from the Iliad?"
"No! I mean ,what am I gonna do? I cant go back there! Man it was creepy.....It looked right at me with this half smile and there was another one half asleep and completely changed lyin' right next to him. That one was real pale, so I think it was the city attorney Mr. Brown!"
Rodney has been known to partake of the giggle juice quite frequently but he seemed stone sober tonight. "Man this has got me wound up like a douche" "What?" I said. "You know, from the Manfred Mann song." "No Rod, I think that it's 'wrapped up like a deuce'. Rod stopped shivering "That doesn't make sense",said Rod. "Well neither does............never mind! Just go home , get some sleep and do not ,I repeat, do not tell anyone what you saw until I talk with you again,Ok? ""You betcha." said Rodney who had fairly composed himself. He squinted and looked beyond my shoulder.I knew what was coming."Hey, I know I owe you a bunch already but you got ten dollars to spare?" I gave Rod two fives knowing that he's going to head over to the nearest guzzle joint on St. George Street. He'll repeat his tale and everyone will laugh except maybe a guy at the end of the bar paying close attention and wearing a city meter reader uniform. Rodney, for my benefit,had the courtesy to head in a westerly direction away from the tavern. He'll double around to the bar a block after he's out of my sight. Poor little guy. He just may have seen his last livestock. Guys like Rodney aren't missed much when they are not around. Let him have his shot and a beer or two. I'll check on him tomorrow at his hundred dollar a week fleabag over off San Marco............To be Contd

It Cant Happen Here?

Painting by YAQUI LEGEND

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mandolin Wind

Last night things were hoppin' at the big old 1890 house on Grove Street where firedancers, musicians, artists, singers , cats, dogs, the high standing and the lowdown (you know who you are) were all mixing it up at Quigley' s party. The sounds of the harmonica, mandolin and Spanish guitars went on until the wee hours. No neighbor complaints and the designated drivers got everyone home, as far as we know. A slight headache this morning will be cured with Tylenol and Krystal's grits with cheese will absorb anything. Who was the person who called out a request for "Muskrat Love" by Captain and Tenile? We may be older and unhip but forget about an invitation next year. Ok , just kidding. everybody loves you...but ....come on!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Do Not Like Lotteries!

I've never bought a state lottery ticket and I sometimes get irritated standing in line waiting, while the sweet old lady blows fifty dollars of her Social Security money on the latest gimmicky promotion to Easy Street. That said, I'm not about to pay seventy five dollars a month to the City of St. Augustine for a chance to set up my art in the slave market, vying for room next to "Rheumy Eyed Joe" or "Snickers", also known as "Crackboy". These guys have every right to be there and it is unfair of the city using the artists as vigilantes ,evicting the homeless.
I will not cite cases here indicating that First Amendment activities cannot be lotterized and licensing schemes are illegal codes that are clearly prior restraints on first amendment activity. Read enough of these cases like I have and you will just throw up your arms and say , "F@#k it. I'm going to the beach!"
The city licensing office had two applicant artists for the six "performer" spots in the market making the first lottery a non exciting event, being that we know the outcome in advance. I was imagining the City Comptroller, Mark Litzinger regally coming down the steps at the designated time of two Pm and reaching into a large fishbowl held by Barbara. The names on the two slips of paper were posted on the outside door as lottery winners . The "winners" then have three hours to get to City Hall to pay the seventy five dollars and get photographed or forfeit their spot for the month. When asked if a person could call on the phone to see if their name is drawn, Barbara was unsure. It did not seem fair that someone in Jacksonville would have to..........wait a minute! Fair?! What am I thinking? This city administration openly and blatantly violates artist's rights by throwing them in jail and I'm grousing about their unfairness? Criminal behaviour is what they are perpetrating and City Manager Harriss and City attorney Brown know it.
So, I've saved myself seventy five bucks and made my own license (see above). It's every bit as valid as theirs,, more so, since I didn't force myself to obtain it . *
By the way, like many businesses nowdays, the art selling business is slack as well. So if you are interested in a license of any sort I'd be willing to issue one to you after you give me a good story as to why you need it. Just a small fee. I can be found in the Plaza.
* I have tax certificates in four states ....artists pay taxes too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Archaeology in The Plaza

The City of St. Augustine is soon to bury some power lines in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Prior to this excavation, the archaeology people are doing some sample digs in the area. The first dug pit is on the east side of the Plaza with the Episcopal Church just across King Street. Look closely at the bottom left of the picture and you can see an archaeologist digging . That's him to the left of the bucket. Nothing much found so far, but the layers indicate that the original Plaza "floor" (1588) was about three feet lower than it is now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Goodbye Mary

Mary Travers (1936 - 2009) died of leukemia today.She was one third of Peter Paul and Mary.Generation X and Generation Y may not know them but those of us who are the early baby boomers (starting in 1946) remember them well. Mary was the cool looking blonde between the hip, goateed, suit wearin' acoustic guitar players.Singularly they were good , together they were fantastic (like Lennon & McCartney)They had strong beliefs behind their "message" music and lived accordingly.Just look at Mary singin up there.....I'm an infatuated fourteen year old again.She was something wasn't she?

Bad Pollster..Dana St. Clair

At Monday night's circus of a City commission meeting, hired gun ,self styled constitutional expert Michael Kahn had newly appointed Heritage and Tourism director Dana St. Clair give sworn testimony that the artists in the Plaza detract from the "visitor experience." St. Clair stated that he has talked with many tourists and he found none that approved of artists in the Plaza. He specifically referred to the artists...not the merchandise vendors. According to a number of locals, Mr St. Clair has a habit of "grossly mislead(ing) the public and to infiltrate government both with misrepresentations and by seeking public office in yet one more attempt to better care for his business."Here and Here
Mr. St. Clair no doubt was part of the VIP entourage a few weeks ago when Haiti's ambassador to Washington, Raymond Joseph was in town for a commemoration of Haitian General Georges Biassou*
ater in the evening, Ambassador Joseph, a soft spoken gentlemen, sought out the three artists exiled away to the SW corner of the Plaza, apart from the flea market vendors. His entourage, with state senators and local politicos, passed by earlier and he saw something that interested him.
Mr. Joseph's wife wife is an accomplished artist and we discussed Haitian Art,Hypolite, the artistic influence of Rousseau and the old Hotel Oloffson.He purchased a colorful painting of a fish for his wife, promising that it would hang in his home in Washington as a memory of his stay in St. Augustine. Avoiding the flea market vendors her returned to his room at Casa Monica with the painting.
So we ask you Mr.St. you think that Ambassador Howard's "visitor experience" was marred by the three artists in the Plaza?

*According to Wenda Parkinson (1978). in her book,"This Gilded African. "London: Quartet Books ,the General bought a large plantation near St. Augustine farmed, ironically, by slaves, but he drank both his land and his money away and died in a brawl when drunk as was his usual state. What say we leave that off the plaque.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Counterfeits

Donald Crichlow, Nancy Sikes-Klein, Joseph Boles, Errol Jones, Leanna Freeman
City of St. Augustine City Commission

"You must pay for conformity. All goes well as long as you run with conformists. But you, who are honest men in other particulars, know that there is alive somewhere a man whose honesty reaches to this point also, that he shall not kneel to false gods, and, on the day when you meet him, you sink into the class of counterfeits."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)


Very Sad

The City Commission last night voted unanimously to prohibit artistry (the creation of visual art) and art sales in the nation's oldest park, The Plaza de la Constitucion. An amendment was made to refer to visual artists as "street performers" and this seems to satisfly the commission. The Federal courts protect visual artists and their wares as "fully protected" First amendment wise whereas street performers do not have such protection. This is their awkward way of defying a recent Federal Court order.
These meetings and the three minute public comments beforehand are simply an illusion of public participation. The commissioners who are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution purposely vote in a blatantly unconstitutional "law" knowing that the artists have limited resources and energy to take it to court again. If we did...they would lose and once again write an illegal ordinance......after all it's not their money.
According to a bronze plaque in the S.E. corner of the Plaza,the Plaza de la Constitucion is where the British hung John Adams in effigy, yet they permitted the Patriot captors to celebrate the Fourth of July in the same location. Martin Luther King rallied his supporters there in '64 and the infamous KKK held nightime rallys against equal rights during the same time period. Recently, President Obama's inauguration was celebrated in The Plaza. One commissioner called it a "partisan "rally and wanted to disallow it. As the Supreme Court has written "Public parks are quintessential public forums where citizens may engage in constitutionally protected expression"
To those who continually harp that the sale of artwork is "commercial activity" and is not permitted, we say......this is opinion contrary to well established case law. Your "opinion" does not change this.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Freedom Erodes

On Cathedral Place and St. George

Here is a man delivering his message last Saturday. This will be declared illegal on September 14. The First Amendment dies.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Anger Management Candidate

St. Augustine City Commissioner Errol Jones
Jones, who likes to present himself as a leader from the 60's civil rights movement here in St. Augustine, regularly comes down to the Plaza de la Constitucion. He is usually in a particular state that propels him to start arguments and throw his 135 pounds around while flashing his gold plated commissioner badge and wearing his custom made polo shirts with "The Commish' emblazoned on the breast (very cute). Unfortunately he has no compunction against agressive confrontation angrily using the 'F' word and being loud with Mom, Dad and the kids walking past. At yesterday's city commission meeting, Errol showed only a slight example of his temper when he said on camera to Suvo, the artist "YOU'RE A LIAR! HA HA HA" Rarely have we ever seen Suvo speechless.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What Would Krishna Do?

13 foot wide chariot on a 6 ft wide sidewalk

On Saturday, the Plaza contained the motley crew of flea market vendors hawking their trinkets without concern to the grass, the din that they create or the foot traffic that they disrupt. Chasing the tourist dollar was all important. The best thing Saturday was the return of Festival of the Chariot.This festival originated in India, where it is known as "Ratha Yatra," and is still held yearly in many cities throughout India. Vegetarian food was served and it was a nice event, though the attendance has been dropping regularly over the past three years. The organizers told me that they definitely get a chill from the city administration who would prefer that they hold the event on the edge of town at treeless Francis Field.
The three artists who set on Saturday have been self exiled away from the dozen mercantile vendors. They have been setting up their exhibits on the northeast corner of the Plaza, away from the plastic beads , hot dogs,used shoes and even kitchen sinks for sale (not kidding!). A festival coordinator told us that the hand pulled chariot was to follow the route of other years ,as published in the St. Augustine Record. (down Cordova, Orange, Castillo, St. Francis, Cordova, back to King Street and conclude at the plaza.) Instead, the city rerouted the 3/4 mile parade from Cathedral, down the Plaza sidewalk where the artists had set up along the sidewalk, ending at a bottleneck at the Constitutional Monument. Instead of the traditional .75 mile parade, it ended 30 yards from where it started. The chariot float is 13 feet wide and the sidewalk is six feet wide. Why would the city do this? Take a look at the picture above, the float is behind.This was the bottleneck. We artists have always worked with the festival but no one informed us of a route change with a gargantuan colorful chariot heading our way.Even after moving our artworks the guys had to pull it off into the grass because shrubbery did not permit passage. The city surely had their photographers there and we are sure to see these pictures again with commentary on how "the artists cause impediment to passage through the Plaza .""This is the first time they altered our route, it really wasn't a parade as it is supposed to be," said a participant who didn't want his named used."This was not our idea".

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be Back Soon

Richard Childs & Karl
Art In The Market artist,Richard Childs is now in Upstate New York displaying and selling his works on the streets and sidewalks of Saratoga Springs causing that city to rethink illegal ordinances that ban this activity. "We don't arrest artists here", says city attorney Michael Englert.

Big Apple Weekend !

Art InTheMarket Photographer Elena Hecht and husband David

Elena and David have departed today for Manhattan. They will be visiting with art vendors in the WestVillage and Chelsea. As usual, Elena will have her ever present camera bandalero'd over her shoulder. We wish that they could bring back a hot dog and a papaya drink from Gray's Papaya or Papaya King but they do not travel well. (......the food, that is)

Charles Is The One With The Sign

Art InThe Market artists Charles Dickinson and Deb Boon
Charles and Deb are on their annual New England plein air painting vacation. The Salty Dog Gallery in Southwest Harbor Maine had a weekend show , August 6 of Charles' works . Our question that Charles' hand in the picture* or is someone thrusting a wine gass in Charles' direction.*Doesn't look right, kinda creepy looking.

Pensacola Appreciates Artists

Photo by B. Graner Art In The Market artist Ouigley wearing a tie!
Last weekend, Pensacola Florida celebrated the wrap up of it's 450th Birthday.Quigley, who spent nearly a month in Pensacola in May completing a series of 10 paintings depicting the 450 years of Pensacola's history explained his detailed paintings before an enthusiastic crowd at the charity event. Dean's paintings and prints raised a total of $11000.00 dollars benefiting "Celebrate Pensacola". story

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Long Lost Tools

In doing research on John James Audubon and his times in St. Augustine, Florida I came upon information that Audubon used a camera lucida to capture some of his bird and mammal studies. I then came across mention an artist's tool with which I was not familiar, a Claude Mirror. This is a small, black, convex mirror, usually sized for the hand that was used extensively by artists and tourists in the 18th and 19th centuryto contemplate, reconfigure and transcribe, that is draw landscape. The idea is that faults in ones paintings tonality should become easier to spot. As all colors are equally tinged with the color of the glass it has the effect of creating simpler arrangements of tone and so making it evident if one color is lighter in tone than another. Unity in the light and dark masses of the painting should therefore be easier to see. When you look through the glass,you notice less tonal variations and a simplification of tonal masses. As the amount of light is reduced while viewing the scene through the mirror, the amount of visible detail is greatly eliminated.........................WhatI also found interesting is that this was used by tourists to view vistas that they encounter along the way..........Poet and novelist Hugh Sykes Davies observed groups of tourists facing away holding their claude mirrors away from the object they wished to view, and commented: "It is very typical of their attitude to Nature that such a position should be desirable"............Artists, I'm sure that one can be made easily enough. Go to Goodwill and look for a small frame with curved glass (two might be better for depth), use Liquitex Mars Black paint to eliminate all light on the front and use the verso for viewing. Me....I am a "fauvist" painter, color and tonality is rational ,my painting is not. I like what Gauguin had said in 1888,
"How do you see these trees? They are yellow. So, put in yellow; this shadow, rather blue, paint it with pure ultramarine these red leaves? Put in vermilion."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Artists Shoved Out

The city has enlisted the local newspaper to spread more confusion before the March 2010 final federal court date by the visual artists vs St. Augustine. These merchandise vendors have recently shown up in the nation's oldest public space.The flea market atmosphere has been fostered and encouraged by the city to , in the words of City planning boss Mark Knight's "build a case". The visual artists, painters, sculptors and photographers are scarceley present amongst the rummage sale. On Saturday when at least 18 vendors were hawking their wares ( hawking....shouting out) there were three painters set up away from the din where there is much less tourist traffic.The vendors arrive at dawn and set up in prime spots. Merchandise vendors, unaware of the freedom of speech nuances in the law say, "We have every right to be here" When asked if they would contribute to our legal defense fund they uniformly look confused and then decline , laughing it off. Not only can you get a blown glass pipe down in the Plaza ,but if you look ok, you can buy the"weed" for which it was intended. Story

Friday, August 14, 2009

Save Freedom In Florida!

ACLU of Florida Warns St. Pete Mayor That Privatizing Public Sidewalks Cannot Stop Free Speech and Assembly ...............................After the Ft. Lauderdale lawsuit and this warning in St. Petersburg, it seems that the actions taken by the artists here in St. Augustine has finally got the ACLU of Florida doing what they should be doing. A formerly lax, damn near asleep ACLU division, let's see if they are all talk. Story

What's Up With Kinkaid

Thomas Kinkaid , Painter of Light tm " "I'm an idol to these women"
Kinkaid, Painter of Light tm seems to have taken a dark turn somewhere along the line.

"This one's for you, Walt," the artist quipped late one night as he urinated on a Winnie the Pooh figure. Rumour and Innuendo

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Criminals In Our MIdst

The above photo is of counterfeit designer goods seized by U.S. Customs. Here in St. Augustine, these illegal goods are readily available, right out in the open, from vendors in the Plaza de la Constitution. These vendors are the busiest vendors in the hisoric plaza. The painters and artists in the Plaza recently won a temporary injunction against the City of St. Augustine preventing the police from arresting legitimate painters who display and sell the works on public property. They are now are forced to share space with this illegal activity. There is a resentment by the artists against copyrighted material being pirated. .........In May,Federal Judge Marcia Morales Howard wrote that the city may ban outside sales within the city as the existing ordinance states with the exception of paintings, prints, sculpture and photography. No change of ordinance is needed......................In a direct affront to the judges order, the city is now waiving all rules and ordinances and writing a new ordinance that once again will restrict artists illegally. The city attorney claims to have confusion over a previous county judge's decision and a federal decision that he says seems to contradictory . We street artists ave learned that the county decisions will generally follow the dictates of the Judge's political cronies. This is why we went to Federal Court....................As visual artists were arrested and being jailed in the past, we were handcuffed and marched right past these illegal kiosks. ..............come down to the Plaza on weekends and if you are the type of person who likes this kind of cheap knockoffs, you can fork over your 40 dollars and try to fool your friends that you are a sophisticated "Coach "toting parvenue. ............arrests within the last month elsewhere : Florence S.C. Flea Market....Gatlinburg , Tenn.
Lake City, Fla Rehoboth Beach Any sale of these trademarked counterfeit goods is a violation of Florida Statute 831.05

Tuesday, August 11, 2009