Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Over the years, I have enjoyed documenting experiences by painting my own renditions of various local activities. Recently viewed at a HARC Cooperative Pop-Up show on Franklin Street, the painting — Citizens — is the last in a series of nine paintings of various Moral Mondays protests in the spring of 2013 in Raleigh. The paintings were based on photographs by my friend Dave Otto. The subject of this painting is the crowd of people standing outside the General Assembly building waiting for the arrested demonstrators to be transported by bus to jail. Reverand William Barber, leader of the Moral Mondays movement, is in the foreground to the right speaking to a woman who is a pastor of a church. Also recognizable is a faithful friend of Barber’s who acts as a personal assistant and bodyguard. It interested me how he never strayed far from Barber in any of the photos Otto took, although he rarely shows up on media videos. This particular painting was my most ambitious because of its size, complexity, and number of people portrayed. It took about two weeks to create the underpainting. But then, I decided that adding color on top would make it less effective, not more, so I quit and called it finished.
This second painting — Inmate Transfer — is in color and portrays the bus used to transport protestors from the General Assembly building to a detention center for processing. From the posture of the numerous local police, sheriffs, and state troopers portrayed as well, one would think they were preparing for an armed insurrection. However, the interaction of police and protestors throughout the transfer, and following spring, continued to be peaceful and well mannered. As each inmate transfer bus pulled away from the General Assembly building, it was greeted by cheers of encouragement for the arrested protestors by the spectators on the street.