Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tree of Light

On June 14th, the Virginia Drive Live Street Party was held all along Virginia Drive in Ivanhoe Village. Scottie Campbell, the Ivanhoe Village-Manager war running from street side tent to tent. I saw him when I first got out of my car and then several more times as I walked down Virginia Drive. Vendors and artists were busy setting up.

    Virginia Drive, between Alden Road. and Haven Drive, in Ivanhoe Village came alive with late night shopping, food trucks, street vendors and artists, entertainment, and more! A wine stroll guided people you from merchant to merchant. I stopped at the beer garden, Sponsored by, in the lot next to The Venue. Mark Baratelli of stopped to say hello. There had been some drama among the food truck vendors he invited to the event and he had to straighten it all out.

As the sun set, the Tree of Light illuminated the area where DJ Chris Mendez was spinning tunes. Parents relaxed, sipping beers while their children played in the grass. The Tree of light has a welded aluminum structure inside with wood boards from shipping palettes screwed to the outside. I saw the structure as it was first being built in Cole Nesmith's yard. An exotic computer program used to make the lights flicker in a sequence when they were turned on with pull chords. Small diode light strips in the mason's jars looked like fire flies. The heavy Florida rains had some of the jars collecting water. The draw strings were no longer an option. All the lights were always on. The tree was going to be set up in downtown Orlando but after working all night to gel it set up, someone leaned a ladder against a branch and the branch crashed to the ground. No one was hurt, but now the sculpture was seen as a dangerous liability. Cole and his team of artists and engineers went back to the drawing board reinforcing all the inner supports.

Children couldn't resist trying to climb the tree. A group of three or four toddlers gathered at the base and used the roots as a boost to try and get up the trunk. Thankfully, parents moved in and pulled the children off. Had the kids gotten up to the branches, the results could have been devastating. Worst would be if an adult who has had too many beers decided to climb the tree on a dare. As a teenager, I once drank so much that I decided I had to climb to the top of a telephone pole. I was alone, so I wasn't trying to impress anyone. I did it cause I was drunk and therefor indestructible. Sometimes I'm an idiot.

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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