Monday, September 27, 2010

Suvo at Large

You can see on the left a ghostly image. This is a photo of local racist tough guys beating on the future U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young at that precise location in 1964

After spending time on the corner of St. George and King St. (from 3 pm to 9pm Saturday) I did some sketching and answered questions to only one person who showed any interest.That's OK, it was a pleasant day............until.

It turns out that though I am not in the Plaza which is prohibited to artists ,I was in violation of a different recently passed ordinance that prohibits him from being where I was and quoting a price. Display seems to be OK as previous tickets were dropped cause they didn't catch me selling (I do not sell very much, lately). It's interesting to note that my citation states that I was in the "West Plaza de la Constitucion". Again, the city or the police officer is creating new language for one of the oldest spots in this city. Loring Park is named after a one armed Confederate general whose remains are buried there.The officer is saying that I was in the "West Plaza de la Constitucion" aka Loring Park, when in actuality, I was across the street and half a block east as anyone who knows downtown St. Augustine can tell you from the picture above.

The one person who showed interest in my art happened to have been sent undercover as a tourist( Officer B. Ganmon) to get me to quote a price for my work......I did....., and the "paddy wagon "came as I was closing up at 9 pm. Two police officers, one uniformed and one in street clothes told me that I "may be under arrest and going to jail". I asked them to make up their mind cause I wanted to go home if they were not going to arrest me.After almost twenty minutes of the two consulting on the phone, in their car I was given a ticket for $100  if I pay it, or up to 500 dollars and 90 days in jail if I lose in court. I have yet been able out of 15 tickets to have this in county court.All previous tickets for the same offense have been dropped, though I've been jailed overnight four times out of those 15 tickets..I appaarently became a "safety hazard" after I quoted a price to the undercover lady.I was safe and not at all a safety problem.until I said "For you?,Twenty dollars" ......Suvo


  1. The thugs win...I'm too sick to fight 'em. Lets throw in the towel.

    Heck, since the people of St. Augustine likes living under laws that punish artist and musicians and the allow police to round-up the homeless on a regular basis and put 'em in jail just for being homeless in St. Augustine, I say move to America, land of the free and leave this third-world nation state.

  2. I was not checking the blog in order to feel better about my life as a starving artist. I can't believe your city would treat you so bad. Except that your photo is a stark reminder of how violent St. Augustine has always been. Beatings in the street, Acid in the pools... even artists in a cage. That city has been a huge stepping block for Greed all throughout America's past. This is how I will always remember it.

    I remember the good ole days when artists were allowed to be there because the county judge recognized it was a violation of the First Amendment right to trespass us. We had battery powered lights, coffee and cookies and happy customers that visited us all throughout their entire vacation. They asked us for directions, restaurant suggestions. Their children were often our apprentices, because they were so inspired by actually seeing an artist at work in person. We stayed open day and night, while the rest of town shut down at five. They envied our ability to live so happily and simply while doing what we love. It was the American Dream. Literally. That is how I speak about St. Augustine... just before I report on the current war against our rights.

    I am currently vending my art in the streets of Carrboro, NC. A very small town that loves seeing me on the street. Of course, I know, greed can always take the wheel.

  3. I hope Paul has more success and freedom than the artists in St. Augustine are allowed. This type of dictatorship is what starts civil wars.

  4. Suvo, take heart! I have met more children this year at the fair that are good artists and passionate about the power of communication and self-expression of art than I have seen in a long time! I don't know how America has become so myopic and afraid of art and artists, but it feels pathological and out of step with all of human history. I teach people that charcoal was the first art medium, going all the way back to the cave man days and that art expression is as basic to human nature as eating, talking and gazing at the stars. People love finding themselves being able to draw part of a human face with the little 10 minute lessons I give in the morning of my festival day. Blessings to you in St Augustine!

  5. I remember Paul. He made these great copper sculpture lizards.I have one.

  6. The Mathias Family01 October, 2010

    Suvo..Thank you for your fight.We could not find you on our last visit down to St. Augustine.Your Palm Tree brightens our kitchen nook in dreary Matoon, IL. Our e mail is