Thursday, January 6, 2011

Walkman Muse

On the third Thursday of December, Asaan "Swamburger" Brooks was in the Redefine Gallery working on a series of canvases showcasing his brand of Urban Art. The evening before he had done a large mural on the wall opposite the one I show him working on in this sketch. Redefine Gallery is in the front room at City Arts Factory. I arrived early to find Swamburger busy at work on a large canvas. He was always willing to take the time to stop and chat when people like myself would interrupt. He gave me a warm handshake and briefly explained the premise of the show. None of the pieces hanging was completely finished. He continued painting throughout the evening and he worked in rotation from one painting to the next. He let the music inspire and guide him. The space in the gallery was tight and there was no where I could stand without standing right in front of a painting, so I stood outside sketching through the glass door. The RE logo was printed on the door. Swamburger used one of the printed invitations as his makeshift palette for the evening. The boom box was constantly playing.

The gallery got more and more crowded as the evening progressed but I kept my focus on Swamburger as he stood on a chair to reach the top of his painting. One of the outdoor vendors introduced himself saying he follows my progress here online. We became instant Facebook friends. Another artist started talking to me about a drum circle down in the Keys that I should get down and sketch someday. All the art in City Arts Factory was on sale for less that $200 that night. After the sketch was complete I wandered through all the galleries getting a bit depressed that artists were willing to sell their work so cheap these days. Outside the mobile art show which is hosted by Mark Baretalli in a rented u-haul truck had a large quilt titled HOARD, by Tess Bonacci which was made from hundreds of stuffed cat hides. For the first time Mark was charging people $1 to walk up the ramp into the truck. Someone lent Brian Feldman $1 so he could walk in and take a look. I didn't go inside. I met Terry and we went out to get a bite to eat. After dinner, Terry went home and I wandered over to Avalon to see the Group show there. The place was pretty deserted when I arrived but a musician was still playing in the bar area. I considered sketching but figured he would most likely pack it up soon since no one was listening.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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