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Plein air painting of gas storage tanks, 1 of 2.
I made this piece and its companion during the summer of 2013 - the site is not far from my studio and the light was great, but I had to set up in the parking lot of an off-track betting place. The OTB stands alone on the block, and the parking lot is immense. It appears as though there were once other entities that existed but now the expanse of lots makes it unclear exactly where OTB's property begins and ends. The space is so huge that on some weekends a temporary rodeo ring is set up. Standing out alone all day on this desert of parched and broken blacktop, turned periwinkle blue from years of salt corrosion and sun exposure, I never really felt safe. All the spots I'd ever painted, no matter what neighborhood, I never felt unsafe. By the projects or in "sketchy" neighborhoods, people were always friendly and would usually just stop and admire the work or ask why the hell I was making paintings of highways. OTB lot was a different beast. It was a mecca of drifters worshiping a warped and vague god. Taped together vehicles heaped with scraps of the past would pull up and the pilgrims would pause and give me a scrambled stare. Often they'd come on foot from the spectral industrial landscape which blotted into the distance in almost every direction. Sometimes they'd want to inspect me closer and to talk. The bizarre inquiries and my guarded answers were out of earshot or security camera range - lost in a sea of dust, weeds and microplastic. After 4 days of strange talk and convoluted commission offers I was glad to be done with the works. Back to the safety of the highway underpasses...
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