Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pop Up Art Sale in Winter Park

Winter Park has adopted an ordinance that makes it illegal to create art on the merchant side of Park Avenue. If you were found creating or performing on Park Avenue, an artist could face a $500 fine and or 30 days in jail. Winter Park's Central Park however is considered exempt from the ordinance. It allows freedom of expression. Every day, a religious group has brochures on display in the park, presumably to convert passengers getting off the Sun Rail. I decided to test the ordinance by setting up a small art pop up shop on the Central Park lawn. I used a red sheet as the base for the shop, and put out a few square and circular canvases and matted prints of Analog Artist Digital World sketches. I didn't put out any price tags, so that sales were considered a donation. One sketchbook was put out for anyone to flip through, but no one touched it.

Several artists joined me and sketched while sitting on brick planters. The art was officially in the park since it was on the grass, the artists, myself included however were on the sidewalk and thus might be breaking the law by sketching. I never noticed a police officer that day. It was a perfect day for an art sale. I only sold one drawing that day, which was a figure drawing.

An old man and his caretaker sat on the park bench next to the art pop up shop. The old man smiled at all the young ladies who passed by and he asked how they were. He was good for business, he slowed people down, who then looked at the art. Late in the day, I decided to test the ordinance a bit further. I put several dollar bills in my baseball cap and layed it on the carpet. Within minutes, a golf cart pulled up and a park sanitation worker got out. He frowned at the hat with several bills in it and said I wasn't allowed to exhibit art in the park. I politely explained that it wasn't his job to make that call. He decided to let the situation slide, and he drove off in the cart to collect more garbage. He didn't point out that sketching was illegal, his sole concern was the hat with money in it. I put the hat back on my head to avoid escalating the situation. I was sure the sanitation worker would think twice, and come back. He never did.

I will keep testing this ordinance that limits freedom of expression. On April 4th, I am hosting ODD 22 the Illegal Edition. ODD stands for Orlando Drink and Draw. This sketch outing, will be at The Wine Room on Park Avenue (270 S Park Ave, Winter Park, Florida 32789). We hope to sit at an outdoor table at the Wine Room and quietly sketch while sipping wine. This will be civilized civil disobedience.

Artists are lumped in with performers which means to engage in any of the following activities: acting; singing; playing musical instruments; puppetry; pantomiming, miming; performing or demonstrating magic or acts of illusion; dancing; juggling; or the public display of and composition or creation of crafts, sculpture, artistry, writings, or compositions, including the application of brush, pastel, crayon, pencil, or other similar objects applied to paper, cardboard, canvas, cloth or to other similar medium. 

 Prohibited public area means the pedestrian accessed public areas of the Central Business and Hannibal Square Districts along Park Avenue from Fairbanks Avenue to Swoope Avenue, and along New England Avenue from Park Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue including the area within fifty (50) feet of the public right-of-way of Park Avenue and New England Avenue on the public lanes, streets, thoroughfares, and ways, including the Winter Park train station and the public property at what is known as the Winter Park Farmer's Market and the Winter Park Historical Association located at 200 West New England Avenue.

So, if you find this anti-art ordinance to be ridiculous, stop out with a sketchbook and pencil, and lets break the law. If anyone wants a digital "Winter Park Illegal Art" logo for their, sketch, just let me know.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Bloody Jug Band at the Florida Music Festival

The Florida Music Festival at (Wall Street Plaza II Stage, 266 Wall Street, Orlando, Florida) boasted over 125 individual showcases and promoted the community of music. Each night, the fesival invited individuals, artists and all music enthusiasts to come together to celebrate an artist or band that defines their genre. Over a dozen stages took over Downtown Orlando from Thursday, April 21 to Sunday, April 23 rocking all genres from Pop, Hip Hop and Alternative Rock to Country and Blue Grass. All participating showcase venues had free admission.

I stopped to sketch the Bloody Jug Band, a local group whose hard edged rockabilly music is always a blast to hear. The band draws inspiration from historic jug bands of the 1920’s and 30’s as well as the darker side of Blues and Rock n’ Roll.  The band carves out its own niche in a genre of music that has never seen such a bloody incarnation.

I wedged myself up against a palm tree and started drawing. There was a crowd down Wall Street, but, not much of a crowd right in front of the stage. A young girl shot photos of the band. This sketch was done just using bright primary colors to cover the page as fast as possible. Since blood is in the bands name, I decided that all the band members would be blood red.

When the sketch was done, a local female singer talked to me for a while and gave me her card. We became Facebook friends, but I still haven't sketched one of her performances. Sometimes it is hard to keep track of so much talent. I got a wrist band when I entered in the fenced off Festival venue area, but I never did get a drink. When the bloody Jug Band set was done, I just kept adding color to my sketch.  The next band had set up and was playing as I walked through the History Center Plaza towards my car to drive back home.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Blue Box Zombies.

Downtown Orlando has 27 blue boxes painted on sidewalks which are the only places where begging or panhandling is allowed. The blue boxes can only be occupied during day light hours. They tend to be at intersections where there is very little foot traffic. I have been documenting each of these blue boxes by sketching Orlando Performers using them as a stage. Some musicians who busk, or perform outside have been told that they can only perform in a blue box. I am big fan of "The Walking Dead". I have documented zombie walks on International drive and started to think, that zombies would be a perfect fit for a blue box.

Denna Beena, who helps at the annual Spooky Empire Zombie walks offered to gather some zombies for a blue box. This blue box is across from the new Amway Center. The skull zombie holding the brains sign is actually a professional who works on International Drive. Zombies gathered gradually as the sketch progressed. Some were fresh, without much rotten flesh but others were rip, with loose flaps of flesh and plenty of dirt. One had a tin can for collecting donations. Several cars honked their approval but no coins dropped into the can. A car full of tourists stopped and shot some photos out their car window. They got a taste of a typical downtown Orlando scene.

There were yellow construction posts with yellow and white ribbons between them. The zombies presses up against the ribbons but didn't leave the box. One ribbon snapped and we put it back in place once the sketch was done. One zombie had a bum leg and a very distinctive limp. Deena is the zombie with the bright pink hair. There were gallons of blood just in case a zombie wasn't bloody enough. If there were zombies in every blue box in Orlando, then perhaps people would become aware of what they are, why they are there and how ridiculous they make our city seem.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dance Theatre of Orlando presents Change

I went to a rehearsal for Change at ME Theatre (Marshall Ellis Theatre) 1300 La Quinta Drive #3, Orlando, Florida 32809. The choreography was by Marshall Ellis, and the show featured the popular hard hitting music of Bon Jovi. I recognized every tune. Many of the stage lights pointed right out at the audience, so my baseball hat was critical in blocking my eyes from the direct light. Light mist made the rays visible.

No more excuses. No more magical thinking. No more self-sabotage. You know it won’t be easy, but so what? You’re committed to the goal. Love is the only thing that can make a change in your life. The story line was supported by original video sequences, many of which were shot in the neighborhood. The story followed,a young man who was breaking out and starting life on his own. He lived loud and spiraled as he frequented dance halls. He eventually found true love which is how his life got back on track. The most beautiful dance sequence feature the female lead. Her performance was powerful and lyrical, truly inspired.

There are two more performances of Change.
Tickets are available.
Tonight, Saturday March 25 at 8:30pm.
Sunday March 26 at 8:30pm.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekend Top 6 Picks for March 25th and 26th.

Saturday March 25, 2017
8pm to 11:30pm Free. Later Never Now - Album Release Show. The Geek Easy 114 S Semoran Blvd, Ste 6, Winter Park, Florida 32792. Milk Carton Superstars celebrate the release of their new album, Later Never Now, with this show at The Geek Easy, Saturday, March 25. Joining them on the bill are The Marc With a C Trio and Jordan Esker and the Hundred Percent.
Later Never Now is a collection of sound waves captured during 28 recording sessions which took place over a 10-month period. It is presented as a 38-minute album of recorded music by Milk Carton Superstars, consisting of 15 songs ranging from one to four minutes in individual duration. It features an assemblage of instrumentation and vocalization provided by the songwriters and accompanying participants. It exists digitally as well as in 12-inch vinyl and compact disc formats, the latter two of which will be available at this show.

9pm to 11pm Free. Nerd Nite Scribble Fest. 1915 E Colonial Dr Orlando, Florida 32803. Headliner announcement: O_Super. Nerd Nite, formed in 2003, is an evening of entertaining yet thought-provoking presentations– all while the audience drinks along in a casual atmosphere.
Speakers present for 15-20 minutes each on a fascinating subject, often in an uncanny and unconventional way. Following each presentation is a brief Q and A with the audience. Nerd Nite currently operates in over 106 cities around the world.

10:30pm to 12:30pm Get a drink and some food.  Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL Hot blooded Flamenco dancing to live guitar.

Sunday March 26, 2017
10am to 4pm Free. Lake Eola Farmers Market. Lake Eola Park, East Washington Street, Orlando, FL.

Noon to 2pm Free. Florida Gospel Jam. Fish on Fire 7937 Daetwyler Drive Belle Isle FL. Every 2nd and 4th Sunday.

2pm to 4pm Free but order coffee. Irish Music. Olivia's Coffee House, 108 N Bay St, Eustis, FL.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mike Quick Band at Dexters.

I once had a friend in Winter Park who liked to hang out at Dexter's (558 West New England Avenue Winter Park FL 32789). She liked to sit at the bar and read. Men would always approach to find out what she was reading. It was her form of a Venus Fly Trap. The printed page was always more interesting. She was a very private person who liked being out in public. She also liked to hang out and listen to live music. On this evening, the Mike Quick Band was performing. During the performance a few people would get up and dance. Once a few bodies were moving on the dance floor, others could follow. It was a lively night.

Mike Quick performed on guitar and vocals, Annie Piper was on bass, Juliano Rosa was on drums and Paul Brandenburg was on Sax. Their website stated that they are searching for new ways to express themselves, through the instrument of soul. Isn't that what we all are trying to accomplish? Tips went in a bucket. It is fun to sketch when the beat is right because the lines dance on the page often falling where they should without any thought. After a beer or two, and a complete sketch, I was willing to get up and dance alone in the crowd with my eyes closed, forgetting everyone around me and moving to the beat. The room was hot and the music oozed through my pores. Movement and self expression are always good, be in on a small scale or on a dance tight floor.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Life Insurance

I teach drawing fundamentals at Elite Animation Academy, (8933 Conroy Windermere Road Orlando Fl). Sometimes I teach story boarding, digital painting in Photoshop, and traditional hand drawn animation. This Academy has been growing with a new space opened in Tampa. With this new growth, the founders decided to offer a free life insurance police for employees.

After a full day of teaching, the insurance agent sat down with each employee to explain their coverage. As I waited for my turn, I sketched the conference in progress with Jason and his R2D2 lunch bucket. I had just recently separated from my wife, so it made no sense to list her as my beneficiary. The reality of this seismic change became became weighty as the life insurance policy was explained. There is only one way out of this life. My hands have a price.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Elite Perspective Class

At Elite Animation Academy, 8933 Conroy Windermere Road, I teach a drawing fundamentals class for middle school and high school kids who are getting portfolios together for college. In the last class I was pleased that an adult was brace enough to sit in with the kids to refine his drawing skills. this class was about 1 Point, 2 Point and 3 Point Perspective. There were plenty of drawings done with rulers to define a floor plane, but I also encouraged the kids to also look for perspective angles with a looser eye.

In the early classes they often sketched from maquettes of movie animated characters. In this class they then had to lay out a floor plane grid and try to sketch multiple characters on that grid. It is the essence of what I do sketching on location every day. People become pieces on a chess board and I place them where I need them in the composition. I can't resist the temptation to sketch when the students are really engaged in their work. My sketch employee the same principles as the lesson plan on a larger scale than the assignment. Students gestures fascinate me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mina remembers Eddie Justice

Mina Justice is the mother of Eddie Justice who was one of the 49 people who died at Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016. She recently moved into a new home in a suburban development that is just now being built. Pam Schwartz and I drove through the development which was mostly barren earth with driveways leading to nowhere. Surveyors were dividing up the plots of dirt.

That Saturday of June 12, Mina was working. She had 3 retail jobs to get by. He stopped by her place that day at 1:45pm and Eddie mentioned that he planned to go out that night. She always supported his lifestyle and he had a way of always breathing life and humor into a room. ''I got to enjoy him for 30 years, my son and me were like this." She hugged herself.

That evening at 2:05am she got a text from her son, it read, "Mommy I love you". He let her know that "They are in the club, they are shooting."  He let her know that he was in the woman's bathroom and that others were hurt. "I can hear the man coming, He will shoot me. Tell them to hurry up mom. I'm gonna die." Mina asked if the shooter was in the bathroom with Eddie, his reply was, "He's a terror and then the final message at 2:51 said, "Yes."

Mina jumped into her car after those texts and drove to Pulse. It is a long drive but she managed to get there in 9 minutes. She was driving fast. When she got close to Pulse, others were gathered, not knowing what was happening. Then she heard a loud boom. She ran down the road crying. She hugged strangers who were in as much pain. "He was the sixth person taken out, it was a nightmare." She said. Jennifer Nichols, a Pulse employee stayed with her all night long. Ultimately the FBI questioned Mina and she had to tell the story again. She has avoided the media, and moving into the new home helped isolate her.

"Since that night nothing has been the same. My heard is dark." She said. She hasn't been able to work. Her life is on hold. She showed Pam and I her son's room in the new home. The bed was neatly made and the room immaculate. A four foot high portrait of him hung on the wall. She asked us what we noticed most about the portrait and she pointed out his eyes. They seem to follow you, and there is joy in them. Eddie has never been in the room but it stands as a reminder of his warmth. The hallway was was covered in family photos.  He could be seen with his brother and sisters and he was holding Mina in another shot. Her son is with her everywhere she goes.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ballet Class

I went to Emotions Dance Company, (105 Melody Lane West Casselberry Fl) to sit in and sketch a ballet class. This is the most difficult subject imaginable for a sketch artist since the dancers are in constant motion, but I can't resist the challenge. all the dancers face a mirrored wall so they can see their own form as they move. My challenge is to sketch each dancers unique physique. I'm always amazed by dancers dexterity and endurance. It makes me feel like a bit of a lull as I sit and only move my hand across the page. Orlando has a large dance community probably because of the theme parks and cruise ships. Many dances are very young since you reach your prime in the dance business at an early age. To maintain a life long career, a dancer would have to teach to nurture the dreams of a new generation.