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Running Off The Wall ~

Welcome to the layered life of the founders who are running off the wall. It’s a look at the web that is woven on behalf of the growth and well being of these artists.


This week on the west coast:


Monday Avery (number one son) and I took Zach (number two artist) on a tour of the Valley, he was driving to gain skills for his impending driver’s education test. On the drive we stopped to get a TB test from the free clinic at Columbus Middle School, set up by a supporter who knew we needed them for our teaching work this next school year. At the site, Zach got apprehended by the helpful woman and she signed him and his sister up for free physicals. She also suggested we come back and do murals at the school. Everyone seems to think we are super funded and come with gallons of paint and a crew to beautify the world. I seem to think it too but here’s the reminder – we don’t unless we are supported elsewhere for the time and supplies it takes to make an impact.


Volunteerism happens with people who make their living elsewhere and volunteer outside that realm – we are the structure to which that volunteer would come, and we need support for the structure.


Tuesday came time for Zach’s driving test, for which I was a little nervous and hoping that all my “ducks were in a row” knowing that my personal infrastructure is compromised with our underfundedness. Turns out the left turn signal light was out and the guy “was a jerk anyway” says Zach masking his disappointment in me for missing a duck. That night Connor (number one filmmaker) and I toured LA for a gallery space with his friend – the two of them as gung-ho to make a difference as two guys who have a dream of a great life ahead of them are. These 20 year-olds have vision and wisdom that 50 year-olds forget they have themselves. Sitting in the back seat, present to their scheming and planning for their game-changing show I was reminded of Entourage meets Silicon Valley. One does not dare laugh at their enthusiasm and repeat conversations of “that guy totally thought we were fools, he brought his price from $7000 to $2000 in a heartbeat when I looked at him like he was full of shit. I’m gonna offer $500 up front and $500 after and that’s final.” I would be pretending if I said I knew how “deals were made” better than these young ones can do. Connor, like a few I have in my midst, has a father who is older than my own (I count his years even though he is not alive here on earth). This kid is like a colleague, friend, and cohort. I automatically and immediately felt a kinship with him that belies age. Unlike the 50 something who denounced his support for us because I posted a Topless Tuesday photo of myself on facebook with the intention to bring this activity to Off The Wall’s west coast. Seriously. By him, I am deemed to be having a “mid-life crisis” because I went to college and did the “right thing” for too long and he can’t support that. And he is entitled to his view.


Wednesday had us out by 8 ish to pick up two new lovely darling interns who date and live in the same building in the Valley. These are 20 year-olds up at 8:30 am. Avery and I had to pass our TB test before meeting the Recs and Parks people at the skatepark. We want permanent walls at all the parks in the U.S. so kids who are creative in a big-hand-skills way have a place to express and be heard. It fits, we just have to do it. Not unlike needing to go to the Neighborhood Council meetings… you just have to do it. Which I did this evening… but not until I took the little interns back. They did some work and napped on the couch for an hour or so. Jazira, (number one intern) decided she would create filmed bios of each of our artists as her summer project which is exactly the perfect plan and something dynamic for us. In the midst of the day, Avery and I had to go get fingerprinted in Burbank. While we were gone, they were napping. Later still an older artist came over for a sit-down “what am I doing with my life” conversation. She does a lot of good and a lot of art and needed to hear that she is completely sane. Her mother died when she was young, I told her I am here for her. We do feel insane sometimes don’t we and listening to her reminded me of the times I wanted mentoring only to get love and attention – which is what I think I was looking for instead of sage advice. Jey, our budding chef came over that night to make parsnip-potato-like yum with smoked gouda, arugula pesto and veggies : the supplies we bought on my food stamps. We ate at 11 pm.


Thursday brought five artists over to paint a food truck. They literally brought a food truck. Okay a food trailer but still. They haven’t finished yet. It’s Saturday. They don’t want mentoring though so I’m just providing the space. In the meantime, Jacob (number one photographer kid) challenged me to “when are we doing that podcast you said we were doing?” So we got out the iphone that my brother so vehemently told me the Simpson’s use to record voices on and began our first podcast. We posted it and everything. It was cool and I couldn’t have done it if I didn’t have those podcasters out there trying their hand at it before me. We call it Just Saying Words… because that is the phrase I use before any time that I may sound like I am giving advice or scrutinizing something, I find it pulls the weight of the words to a neutral space where they, the listener, can choose to hear it how ever they need to hear it. That night I reminded a kid to go to summer school, which he will begin on Monday. I also helped another do his FAFSA. Had a scary talk this day with my mortgage company to whom I owe a lot of money and will fall into foreclosure for real if I do not find a revenue stream that supports us.


Friday we vetted a wall at the Join the Band business. Photographed our Great Street for the citywide competition. Went to Home Depot. Hauled ten panels of plywood to the park and posted up to paint. Came home to the same houseful as the night before. Kept looking for my daughter’s cat who seems to want to stay out a lot (taking after her mother) and ended the night falling asleep at the computer while updating the website.


Some may wonder what I do all day. This is really just a fraction and Paulie is busy doing his part as well with equal pull into the world of working artist. More to come. And we found Isis again, that roamy cat.