Gold Nuggets - An ARTsperiment by Kasey Smith

I've been working on a series where I feed 24k gold to snails. Snails were imported to California during the late Gold Rush for food; another way to separate miners from their earnings. It didn't work. They escaped from snail farms in San Jose and Los Angeles and our gardens have suffered ever since.

Initially, I thought I would need to bait the snails into ingesting the gold with something more aligned with their palates.  "Snails eat plants. They crave fiber and calcium, I'm going to need to combine the gold with something more yummy." This lead to gold leafing wet construction paper, which is basically crack for snails. I am not the first artist to discover this.

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So purple construction paper + gold foil resulted in this. I was happy - not ecstatic - but happy. It's a little too mottled and not enough of the paper was ingested to give the impression of a solid gold nugget.

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But, you know, this whole projects was all an experiment so why not push it harder just to see where it could go? Would a snail eat straight gold foil without the fiber or calcium to wash it down with? Why yes it will... So long as it the foil is wet.

Snails have something like 12,000 teeth on their radula. They scraped off that gold like they' were peeling an apple with a sharp blade. Just flick flick flick and it was gone down their stomachs.

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And there we had it. After waiting for all the paper and grass to pass from their digestive tract, the snails created one perfect, solid 24k gold nugget.

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But what to do with a gold nugget produced by a snail? How does one display and contextualize it within the tableau of California history? I looked at museum historical displays and natural history displays and the more base methods employed at truck stops and tourist traps.

Tourist traps... You know the kind in the foothills where you can pay to pan for gold and take home your finding in tiny little lockets? Your momento of a re-enacted homage to California history? Exactly.  

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Gold Nuggets - A Collaboration with Garden Snails

snails, 24k gold foil, water, locket

edition of 4

2018

 

Spot Painting - After Damien Hirst by Kasey Smith

 Spot Painting - After Hirts

Spot Painting - After Hirts

While the word dynamic has connotations of speed, it is not defined by such. Constant, perpetual motion can be slow as molasses in January. Oozing imperceptibly on the edge of sight.

Sluggish. Snailish.  

Before the TifFAUXny Snails, my first snail daydreams involved recreating Damien Hirst's Spot Paintings. I wanted to watch color and structure disintegrate, degrade, migrate off the canvas, cease to be legible as Art. It would be a triumph of the organic, meandering line over the formal, mechanical grid. And it needed to be as large as my disdain for the original source material.

But I struggled to scale this dream, to find enough snails of uniform size to "read" as a proper Hirst. During this period, each one I found therefore became valuable. A thing to seek out. A thing to collect. And in the end, a thing to nurture. I became overwhelmed by the effort all this entailed. Maybe they were better off as singular objects instead of an expansive collection of interchangeable multitudes. Maybe they weren't spots after all, maybe they were more like an objet d'art?

And so that is what they became. That is, until they started to breed...

 simulacra

simulacra

The average garden snail lays 50 to 80 eggs at a time. By the time there were four permanent residents in the TifFAUXny snail tank... well, let's just say that proximity led to affection. A LOT of affection. In the end, three clutches were hatched over a six month period. One died due to neglect on my part, one I released, and one became art.

The baby snails were, after all, of uniform size and quantity for a proper spot painting.

Some problems have unexpected solutions. 

 On the move.

On the move.

I painted these babies with the most gentle, non-toxic watercolor I could find (the adults are painted with acrylic paint and nail polish) and arranged them on my patio. The whole performance painting took about 10 minutes, during which time the spot painting was assembled by myself, and deconstructed by the participating baby snails. Once the painting reached a critical destructive mass, I moved the babies to a nearby planter, after which our story ends. 

 Snail pile.

Snail pile.

Snail reproduction is a numbers game - lay a large clutch of translucently delicate offspring and hope that some slim percentage makes it to adulthood. I found no evidence that the babies died; but two years later the patio is snail-free so I have no evidence they survived. 

Either way, for ten minutes they were an Art. And for ten minutes, they destroyed an Art. Sluggishly. Snailishly. Dynamically. 

Box Trucks As Arts Infrastructure by Kasey Smith

What is artistic infrastructure? Is it something we can we map with schematics and diagrams; trace a map of all the white walls, track lights, picture hangers, and pedestals that comprise our creative lives? Could we use that to chart a course towards prosperity – turn left at the DIY art collective, right at the storefront gallery, and straight on towards a solo show…

Just as the urban grid is facilitated and serviced by roads, bridges, public utilities, and architectural systems which we utilize but do not (always) control; so goes the artistic corollary as well. From museums to galleries to frames to pedestals to online image galleries; the art world is made of boxes (and rigid, box-like systems) that we work within, but don’t always direct. This box-like thinking is reflected in the bones of our language – there are white box galleries and black box museums, there’s thinking outside the box and thinking outside the building.

I would like to add a new box to the arts infrastructure lexicon. One with more vibrancy, responsiveness, and agency than many other systems of display.

Box Truck.

It’s My Art In A Box

Put your Art in that box
Make her open the box
And that’s the way you do it

*

Why box trucks? Four reasons – making and displaying art in box trucks is Accessible, Inexpensive, Discrete, and Modular.The first two attributes apply to individual creators, the second two more to curators or artists in aggregate. But all four combine to allow for a fluid planning, execution, and deployment cycle that can be owned at each step in the process.

 Back That Accessibility Up

I like big trucks and I cannot lie.

*

How many U-Haul locations are in the US? And if you manage to get blacklisted from renting U-Hauls, how many Penske locations are there? And if you manage to get blacklisted from Penske, how many Budget locations are there?

At each of those locations you’ll be renting a standardized truck. So a U-Haul in Alaska will have the same deck height and dimensions as a U-Haul from Alabama or Arizona. Hell, chances are that U-Haul has been to Alabama and Arizona.

Box trucks are a known quantity/quality. They have predictable dimensions, features, and special add ons. Does your piece require a ramp or a lift, a “Grandma’s Attic” or a side door? There’s a truck for that and chances are, no matter where you go, you can probably rent it. This makes the whole business of pre-making a site specific installation A) Easier B) Replicable C) Plannable.

The site specific installation –> The site standard installation

The site standard installation –> Goddamn this is easier than I thought

Making art can be daunting; making art that doesn’t hang on a wall or sit on a pedestal even more so. Overwhelmed by decisions and choices, it’s easy to become paralyzed by creative block. By providing clear, predictable constraints, it’s easy to think through, around, and outside the box truck in a way that productively challenges both beginning and experienced artists alike.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.

– Andy Warhol

*

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for fine artists was $44,380 in May 2012. How does this compare to the median income in your region? And how do those numbers stack up once you consider the dozens of professional costs – for show applications, framing, documentation, web design, and materials – that go into the business of being an artist? Probably pretty poorly.

 Now, if you’re crafty, you can rent a 10 foot box truck for close to $70. I’ve seen whole box truck projects pulled off for slightly more than three times that (FULL DISCLOSURE – none of mine have been in that range). And with the average box truck team consisting of two to five collaborators, even the $1k+ projects start to feel more feasible. That’s an Awesome Foundation grant, that’s a small scale Indiegogo campaign, that’s your tax refund check, that’s an approachable and manageable price tag.

 In the realm of Big Art this is cheap; and not in the tacky, low rent connotation of the word. Cheap as in accessible, accessible as in low barrier for entry, low barrier for entry as in low risk. Which means this platform can allow fledgling artists to create more work, and established artists to create outside of their core practice since

 There are lots of painfully hip terms for this type of creative workspace – sandbox, incubator, laboratory – but their value has a depth that transcends buzzwords. When we approach the work/play creative spectrum and nudge the dial from here:

 work <–|——> play

 to here:

 work < —–|–> play

 You’re giving permission to take the kinds risks that push creative “growth experiences”. It’s deeply ironic that for many artists, putting food on the table means playing it safe with their practice. If every creative experiment comes at the expense of one’s established income stream, how does one weigh chances for growth against negative risk? Probably more conservatively the more time consuming and expensive a project is.

Little Boxes, Little Boxes

There’s a U-Haul one and a Penske one
And a Budget one and an Enterprise one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

*

“And they all look just the same…” Is this always an insult or in certain contexts can it be considered a strength? Box trucks are ubiquitous in the cityscape and unless they’re cutting you off or covered in top notch street art how often do you give them a second thought? Exactly. Box trucks “hide in plain sight”  which allows their interiors to trade in secret magics and act as the proverbial blank canvas for creative interactions and expressions. Blinking in and out of focus as art, mobility, and the law require. SSSSHHHHH There’s nothing (and everything) to see here. **pulls down the back rollup door and turns on the engine**

“Does that truck contain an art piece or a studio apartment?” is a powerful attribute when you’re designing and deploying guerrilla pop-up projects. It’s often the difference between having an event and not, as it makes your work discrete and innocuous.

*I didn’t even notice it.
*It seemed like it belonged there.
*Eh, it’s a truck, I’m sure it will be moving shortly.

I’ve made a lot of art involving camouflage and urban space. I like to think my box truck projects count, and that they’re perhaps some of the best examples of a singular object disguised as a multiple. A false multiple if you will. A Simulacan’t.*

*Yes, that was bad and I feel bad for it.

  (Supermodular) You Better Work It, Girl

 Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.

– Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

 Box truck-based art functions, especially in group settings like the Lost Horizon Night Market, because each truck functions as a modular unit. Truck by truck by truck – we build complexity from smaller, more manageable subsystems. Designed independently, yet functioning together as a greater entity, this allows truck artists both the freedom and protection to create.

 For the push and pull between the trucks as individual art pieces, versus the event as an creative ecosystem, allows for beneficial boundaries between collaborators.

 “We’re all in this together.”  
“Not my circus, not my monkey.”

I’ve seen experienced artists balk at making immersive art pieces in a collaborative space without walls or physical barriers between the work. In fact, I’ve been the artist overwhelmed by that very creative scenario. Sometimes good fences make good neighbors. I don’t need to know how often you mow the lawn or whether your roses need pruning – I just need to know that you’ll feed my cat while I’m on vacation. In many ways, large-scale collaborative art is similar.

 “We’re all in this together.”  
“Not my circus, not my monkey.”

The box truck format allows us to experience all the benefits of collaboration

If You Give This Man A Ride

Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally
gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…
maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion:
Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”

– Hunter S. Thompson

*

Say it after me – “Accessible, Inexpensive, Discrete, and Modular. BOX TRUCK!”

There. You did it. Beautiful.

Now what are you going to build?

Urban Camo Seed Bomb Part 5 by Kasey Smith

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The latest Urban Camo Seed Bomb. Well, actually this was the first one I painted – I just didn’t get around to documenting it until now. Now it lives on an onramp embankment in East Oakland. A sad little spot full of weeds and trash; it seemed fitting and perhaps a more fertile locale than a sidewalk tree well.

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Urban Camo Seed Bomb Part 4 by Kasey Smith

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Right now I’m working on some non-bottle cap Urban Camo Seed Bombs. I’m not sure how I feel about this particular one, it’s not quite working for me. Perhaps it’s because I “cheated” and used watercolor pencils and gouache to achieve the metallic quality? Also, I’m not a classically trained painter – I actually hadn’t painted in over nine years when I started this series – and this particular seed bomb was difficult. There’s something simple about painting logos and text. Having to accurately render non-graphic objects was a challenge.

Anyway, I’m constantly seeing condoms and condom wrappers on the ground in my neighborhood so I figured this was a fitting addition to the series.

Urban Camo Seed Bomb Part 3 by Kasey Smith

“Meh, I could have done better”. For nebulous reasons this particular Urban Camo Seed Bomb doesn’t do it for me. I realize it’s unrealistic to be madly in love with my entire portfolio but as a perfectionist it’s difficult feeling underwhelmed by my work. It just smacks of defeat and sadness and being stuck in the artistic equivalent of the line at the DMV.

So in the interest of “redeeming” this piece and my feelings around it, I placed it in one of my very favorite spots in Fruitvale – the remains of the Old Fruitvale Hotel. Boarded up for years (decades?), the hotel is a favorite spot for taggers, the homeless, and people looking to dump trash.

A simple example of 19th century stick architecture, the Old Fruitvale Hotel was built in 1894 when “Fruit Vale” was an unincorporated neighborhood of small cherry and apricot orchards (it was annexed in 1909). The oldest extant commercial building in Fruitvale, the hotel stood directly across from the Fruitvale Station (train not BART, although it’s near that too) and serviced riders on the Southern Pacific , Interurban Electric Railway (IER), Key System, and California Railway lines during different points of it’s existence.

Oh, the sights those blind, boarded up eyes must have seen! The railside greetings and goodbyes, the passing of the torch from transit system to transit system, the rise and decline and promised return of a beautiful and complicated neighborhood. Such lovely secrets, such a lovely state of decay, and such a “meh” little seed bomb tucked away at it’s feet.

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After about a month in inclement weather it became obvious this seed bomb was tucked too far under the eaves for successful disintegration/germination. A week later it was gone. Turns out that interesting places attract attentive eyes and that tiny slips of urban art rarely go unnoticed for long. Back to the Ideal Placement drawing board!

Urban Camo Seed Bomb Part 2.0 by Kasey Smith

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Both of these Urban Camo Seed Bombs disappeared within one week. The Pyramid Brewing cap is from the Bay Trail near the High Street Bridge. The Holiday Shiner cap is from the freeway onramp at 40th Avenue and 12th Street.

I really wonder where these go. Are my neighbors collecting them? Are magpies and crows scooping them up? Are dogs wolfing them down? I guess I’ll never know. But in the future I should probably aim for more covert seed bomb placement.

An Irreverent Goodbye Of Sorts by Kasey Smith

 Sometimes you’re so angry you can’t take crisp pictures.

Sometimes you’re so angry you can’t take crisp pictures.

BURIAL SERVICE FROM THE BOOK OF COMMON ART PRAYER

In sure and certain hope of inclusion in the permanent collection and 15 million years remembrance through our Lord Andy Warhol, we commend to Almighty MOMA our art piece the Tsarevich Fabergé Egg Seed Bomb; and we commit this art piece to the list of lost artworks; paint to paint; egg shell to egg shell; poppy seed to poppy seed. Artforum bless him and keep him, Artforum make his pages to shine upon him and be gracious unto him and give him good reviews. Amen.

I’ve been working on a new series of egg-based seed bombs painted to look like Imperial Faberge Eggs. This mid-level art catastrophe was to be the Tsarevich Egg.

Rest in pieces little Faberge Seed Bomb. I’ll see you on the other side of the art portfolio.

 Two days before shattering on my floor

Two days before shattering on my floor

 

 

Fauxberge Eggs Pt 2 by Kasey Smith

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“…my family despised Faberge objects as emblems of grotesque garishness.”
― Vladimir Nabokov

What does it mean to destroy your own art? To have that destruction be writ into the very bones of it’s conception and execution? (no pun intended) I’ve spent five years and counting making seed bomb simulacras of trash for the Urban Camo Seed Bomb series – I’m used to turning my art over to the rains, the winds, and the trash collectors. But what if I’m tired of passive submission; of fading and melting and other synonyms for a gradual slide into non-being? What if I want to dream big, to let those dreams edge into darker terrain, to Fuck. Shit. Up.

Inspired to take the themes of the Urban Camo Seed Bomb series in a more dynamic direction; I thought on destruction, value, and taboo; as well as their inverses creation, unimportance, and social acceptability. How is cultural importance conferred and what crises are caused by the non-consensual revocation of that status? The more I thought, the more I kept coming back to the works of Peter Carl Faberge. I remember the 1996 Faberge show at the de Young and the captivating, glittery insincerity of it all. Those charmingly vacuous objects d’art branded with a name that personifies elegance, excess, luxury, and their negation; the beauty of the object irretrievably mired in the fate of their owners. The last gasps of an empire can be heard in their presence and it turns out that eggs, like tsars, don’t do well up against a wall.

 

So I decided this new series would artistically explore that hard, severe moment where worth and status are severed from their vessels. No more lengthy disintegrations and ephemeral wastings. This would be about the moment where metaphorical eggs meet metaphorical walls and (every)thing becomes lost in that not-so-pleasant exchange of greetings. Towards this end I would create a series of seed-filled eggs painted to resemble Faberge’s and smash them in an empty Fruitvale lot. This arc from cultural object –> delicately painted rendition –> shattered mess –> blossoming flowers would serve to highlight the arbitrary status of Worth through a crisis point of wanton, uncomfortable destruction – with a bit of deferred transformative growth (albeit on a different value axis) promised at the end.

Speaking of deferred results…

It took six months between finishing the last egg and scheduling Fauxberge Revealed (which I perhaps too cleverly named after Faberge Revealed, the international traveling exhibit of Faberge Eggs). I needed to say goodbye, and after a year of touching paint to fragility I was still intimidated by the subject’s vastness. I needed a better handle on it’s relationship to my art and life in order to let it all go and say,

“This may look delicate but it will only break by choice, never by accident, and I choose to break it now.”

It took six months of studious procrastination to design a show as full of crystaline contradictions as the eggs themselves. For when your art commits suicide, what kind of note does it leave? And how does one craft a eulogy brimming with cheerful optimism and positivity to mark the occasion?

It took six months to finally answer this – you dedicate it to the things you proved stronger than. I never expected to make it through 2010 – I planned to buy a fabulous New Look dress and toss myself in the bay in a dramatic gesture worthy of Kim Novak in Vertigo. Eighteen months later, when depression reared it’s head once more, I sat in the dark listening to trains and contemplating less cinematic acts of conscious self negation. So for Fauxberge Revealed I stole the outfit from one personal crisis moment and the location from another because three years on, I simply refuse to break. Those ghosts cannot pick at my cracks, cannot find a foothold in the life I’ve made in the interim. I am stronger than my art, my goodbyes, my stubbornness, and the constellation of inspiration points that went into this series – and this is where I make my stand.

“This may look delicate but it will only break by choice, never by accident, and I do not choose to let it break. Ever.”

 

So I wiped away the tears, put on my party dress and egg bandolier, invited 50+ people to meet me on a corner in Fruitvale, and handed them a map to the eggs. In hindsight, I should have pushed people further into the neighborhood or better integrated the eggs into the surrounding civic infrastructure. Afraid of breaking either my friends or my neighborhood, I contracted the exhibition field from 4×4 to 2×3 square blocks; altering the show’s sense of immersion and discovery.

Since all my art is a love letter to place, I feel like this last minute revision amounted to turning “I love you Fruitvale! Let’s make beautiful things together!” into an emotionally avoidant “I really like you a lot! But I’m not really ready to call this a relationship!” The neighborhood deserves more faith in its strength and gentleness; in its self determinism around breaking and brokenness; in its status as an important creative site. By questioning my trust in it, I failed to do it justice in that regard.

However, some measure of my “meh” was redeemed by collecting all the eggs into my bandolier and leading the crowd to the train tracks like some tsarina-turned-1950’s-beauty-queen-turned-cult-leader. This image is worth a dozen painted eggs to me.

And the actual breaking of the eggs? I did not cry, I did not lose my nerve, people seemed equal parts horrified and charmed, and it was a fitting tribute to things destined to break and destined to remain unbroken. I’m not sure where to take my explorations of value, ephemerality, and artistic seed bombing next – I suppose 2015 has an answer in store for me?

Until then, I’m keeping an eye on the train tracks – not for a way out, but for a sign of beautiful beginnings.

 All in all it was just another poppy sprouting against the wall…

Fauxberge Eggs Pt 1 by Kasey Smith

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For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

- Newton’s Third Law

If the Urban Camo Seed Bombs were an exercise in patience and observation, the Fauxberge Egg series is an exercise in instant, almost violent, gratification. Eight hollowed eggs filled with California Poppy seeds and painted to resemble Faberge Eggs; they’re destined to be shattered on the streets of Fruitvale, scattering their seeds and (hopefully) leading to a crop of spring flowers. A direct response to my previous seed bomb series; I’m continuing to work with themes of art as renewal, the impermanence of the art object, and the arbitrary nature of “worth”. Building on that conceptual base are the additional tensions of passive versus active destruction and precious trash versus trashing the precious.

Now to meet the eggs! 

Imperial Coronation Egg and Pansy Egg

The Imperial Coronation Egg was a gifted to Empress Alexandra Fvodorovna in 1897 to commemorate the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.

The Pansy Egg was gifted to Tsar Nicholas II from Empress Alexandra Fvodorovna in 1899.

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 Rose Trellis Egg

The Rose Trellis Egg was gifted to Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna by Tsar Nicholas II in 1907.

 

Rosebud Egg (dedicated to Conor Fahey-Latrope) 

The Rosebud Egg was gifted to Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna by Tsar Nicholas II in 1895. It was the first egg Nicholas gifted to her.

 

Clover Leaf Egg  and Twelve Panel Egg

The Clover Leaf Egg was gifted to Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna by Tsar Nicholas II in 1902. It is considered too fragile to travel and is one of the few Imperial Eggs to have never left Russia.

The Twelve Panel egg was gifted to Barbara (Varvara) Kelch-Bazanova in 1899 by her husband Alexander Kelch. It is the only non-Imperial Egg I painted.

 

Twelve Monograms Egg

The Twelve Monograms egg – Also called the Alexander III Portrait Egg – was gifted to the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna in 1896 by her son Tsar Nicholas II.

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Renaissance Egg

The Renaissance Egg was gifted to Empress Maria Fyodorovna in 1894 by her husband Tsar Alexander III. It was the last egg he would gift her.

 

 

 

All my portfolio pics were shot by the wonderful Randal Alan Smith. You should consider him for you Bay Area art and product photography needs. http://randalalansmith.com/

Urban Camo Seed Bombs Part 1.5 by Kasey Smith

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This is what the Corona Cap looks like after eleven days outside; including four days of rain. All detail has dissolved away and the bottle cap has physically split in two – the top of the cap separating from, and sliding off, the bottom.  Can poppy seed sprouting be far behind?

Urban Camo Seed Bombs Part 1 by Kasey Smith

A little backstory on this project…

Between working, sleeping, and socializing I split my time pretty evenly between Oakland and San Francisco. Given that most of that time is spent in SOMA (where I work) or Fruitvale  (where I live) I have a passing familiarity with urban blight and the underutilization of green space. The specific issues – and by “issues” I mean observable symptoms not their underlying causes – in each area differ immensely. In San Francisco, urban space is a cage – the grid-like layout of it’s streets and the box-like architecture of it’s buildings marching up and down hills like prison bars or long teeth. With buildings pressed up against the sidewalk and one another there’s a dearth of front yardage, a dearth of tree wells and a general dearth of visually accessible greenery. However, this series is not about that specific set of urban issues. Sorry San Francisco, this series is very much about Oakland’s relationship to space.

In Oakland, urban space is simultaneously expansive and isolated. Lacking the motivation to grow upwards, everything spreads and languishes in uninspired apathy. Houses are cushioned by yards, businesses are cushioned by parking lots, and the streets are cushioned by tree wells. Which is not to say that any of it counts as well utilized space. Sure, there’s a great feel of openness and breathability to Oakland; but the cost of maintaining that open, urban space expands exponentially with the size of the space in question. If relatively wealthy San Francisco cannot properly landscape a tree well how do you expect relatively impoverished Oakland to properly maintain an empty lot, a small park, or the yard of a foreclosed home? How does a neighborhood who’s tax base (or political clout) doesn’t support adequate litter removal contain residents/landlords financially capable of landscaping their yards and tree wells en masse? Realistically, these things aren’t happening because Oakland is huge and sprawling and economically disadvantaged. “City coffers fall apart; the tax base cannot hold; Mere neglect is loosed upon public space.” 

So how did I get from Oakland-has-lots-of-underutilized-open-space to the concept of the Urban Camo Seed Bomb? And what is an Urban Camo Seed Bomb anyway? Simple; when walking through my neighborhood I see more litter than plant-life and that wasted opportunity makes me sad. To combat this under-utilization of green space I’ve made a series of seed bombs painted to look like common trash – the idea being that my “trash” will blend in with the actual trash, dissolve in the rain, and eventually sprout flowers. So how are the Urban Camo Seed bombs constructed? The seeds I used are from the California Poppy and were chosen due to their relatively easy germination, their suitability for the region, their showy blossoms, and their status as the official California state flower. The seed bombs themselves are made from recycled paper, water, and flour that’s either pressed into moulds or flattened between bricks and painted using non-toxic water colors. Below are two of the dozen or so completed Urban Camo Seed Bombs. These are the Fancy Pants Art Portfolio shots.

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And these are the Placed In The Urban Environment shots – specifically an abandoned tree well on San Leandro Street in Oakland. I walk by this spot every day and love the bottle cap mosaics. So much Heineken and Corona but not a single, solitary scrap of greenery! If successful, this project should help change that (although hopefully not so much that the mosaics no longer show).

 In hindsight that shade of blue is off.

In hindsight that shade of blue is off.

 One of these is not like the others.

One of these is not like the others.

And how has this little experiment gone? Within 48 hours both bottle caps were gone. Within an additional 24 hours the Corona cap came back but was severally mangled – it’s paint smudged and it’s body crushed. Within another 24 hours it had disappeared again only to reappear once more the following day. At this point I can only conclude that my neighbors are playing tricks on me.

LESSONS LEARNED 1) Bottle caps need to be pressed into the soil both as camo and as protection from the wind. The Corona cap was pressed into the soil whereas the Heineken cap was not – I’m wondering if this had something to do with their differing fates. 2) Pick more secluded spots. If people see an art they will take it. While a certain amount of Seed Bomb FAIL has been factored into this project it would be nice if not ALL of them disappeared. 3) My neighbors are either the best or worst people ever. Keep a close eye on them…

 Sad and mangled - after it's first disappearance.

Sad and mangled - after it's first disappearance.