I spied a graffiti Easter egg hanging in a tree. A down and out bottle face waiting there for me.
I'm going to survey regulars who live and work here: What creative thing could be done to change patterns of neglect and violence on our corner?
The intense red, fuschia, and orange re-purposed wool of this modern improvised take on the log cabin quilt is keeping me cozy on a dreary day.
And I witnessed the crime scene seconds after the automatic gunfire stopped. I was quietly knitting the sleeves on a green sweater when the slaying went down.
I can tell that the visual influence of east Oakland is already impacting my color sense, as well as the energy tone, and forms of my quilt patterns.
Industrial East Oakland is covered with graffiti. Every once in a while the slate is wiped clean.
Since I returned from Penland I've heard gun shots outside my apartment on three separate nights. A week ago Wednesday a man who was feeding the homeless was shot and killed in front of my apartment. Here's a link to the story about the murder of Paris Powell. People gathered last Friday night for a vigil in his memory at the place where he was shot on my street. It's so sad and senseless.
Life here is not easy. I'm shaken by the violence and feel hemmed in by the high cost of living in the Bay Area. It seems like reasonably priced housing and work space for artists are in unsafe, and environmentally contaminated neighborhoods. More than ever I feel the limits of my life as an artist and the trade offs I have to live with everyday. This is the reality of urban life.
I was speaking with my close creative friend Mary Yordy about it. She brought to light that right now what's important to me is having a space of my own so that I can stay on track with my work. If I see this place as temporary, one or perhaps two more years, I can reconcile the trade offs and accept the reality of living in a dangerous neighborhood... with vigilance, of course. What else CAN I do?