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.


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!