Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Pulse: One Year Later.


On June 12th one year ago 49 people lost their lives in a horrific attack by a gunman at Pulse Nightclub. June 12th people gathered a Pulse for Reflections and Remembrance. Throughout the day, members of the community visited to honor the legacies of the 49 victims, their families and the survivors. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there was be a ceremony including various community speakers, reflective prayers, a reading of the 49 names, a display of 49 wreaths and music by Violectric. The Inspiration Orlando mural, our Angel Force, Hang-a-Heart, Stars of Hope and comfort dogs were present.

It was raining just enough to make sketching difficult. Watercolor and rain aren't a great combination. The first thing I saw when approaching Pulse was the huge Inspiration Orlando Mural. 6 foot high marine grade boards were mounted on a large sheet of plywood and supported in back by 2 by 4s nailed as braces. At the Mural, a victim's father was animatedly talking to Michael Pilato the artist. The father was upset that his daughter's partner was depicted large on the mural. Another father had refused to bury his son. A daughter eventually stepped in to take on the responsibility. When it came time to collect the money raised for families however, the father was happy to take the money.

As I did this sketch, I was offered water and You Matter cards multiple times. Someone even offered MacDonald's hamburgers and I kind of regretted not taking one. A mom had her daughter dressed in a bright rainbow tutu and they paraded around the site. A young girl across from me, wearing a rainbow cape,  was giving out free hugs. A reporter set up his TV camera and started asking  her questions. "We will not let hate win" was emblazoned on multiple posters and banners. 

While driving away, I passed a hate monger in front of the auto detailing shop next to Pulse. He was surrounded by people who were getting upset. They shouted Love will overcome hate loud enough to drown out his hate filled chants. Police were on hand and I was told that he toughed a policeman which is interpreted as an assault. 5 policemen wrestled the man to the ground while people shouted their message of love delivered with anger. It was a shame that the Angel Force had left because they could have surrounded the man.

I felt a bit depressed since it felt like most people were here looking for some form of attention or acknowledgment. Was I any different? Will these sketches ever serve a purpose? I was just growing frustrated and annoyed that the rain was making my job near impossible. I pushed through regardless. Any blotches and blemishes are all part of the story of creation.


All artwork is for sale. Some originals available as well as limited edition prints. Commissions upon request. Please contact artist.

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