Category: Mural

The Old Burke’s Garden Virginia Post Office

The Old Burke’s Garden Virginia Post Office

Following the very wiggly VA 623, will drop you into the upland valley of Burke’s Garden, Virginia. When there, something about it feels like you’re in a place cut off from the rest of the world.

The local whitepages:

My travels brought me to Burke’s Garden because of a photo I’d seen online of an old post office with a Pepsi ghost ad on the side. I was surprised to see what nice shape the mural is in. By the looks of things, that Pepsi ad is pretty well cared for.

I gingerly stepped up onto the front stoop to take a look inside. My chances of either falling through the step or being stung by bees seemed to be about 50-50. It made me chuckle to myself to think that if I was really lucky, maybe I’d be able to pull off both.

The sign above the door reads: “Burkes Garden, Va – God’s Land”

 

Just Passing Through – Small Town, West Virginia

Just Passing Through – Small Town, West Virginia

Rhodell, West Virginia – a place I’d never heard of prior to standing in front of the alternating colors of the post office’s awning. Why would I have? It isn’t a pass-through on a way to a bigger town. It isn’t famous for anything. No, it’s just a little tucked away place where normal people live their lives.

Normal people, doing normal things.

While I was taking a photo, a young woman came out of the house to receive a little boy getting off of the school bus. When the bus pulled up, a young man also came out of the house to see that same little boy off the bus.

Instantaneously, I’d made a judgment as to why two young adults were home in the middle of the afternoon based on the realities of my own existence.

But – maybe one was a stay at home parent and maybe the other had time off work. Or maybe one was on vacation, on sick leave, worked nights, cared for a sick relative, or it was their regular day off. Maybe one of them hadn’t started their shift yet. After all, I myself was there in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. The reasons two parents were home in the middle of the day, during what you’d call 9-5 work hours were myriad.

And yet… based on what I’d passed on my way through that burned out and vacant town, I assumed something else. At least one of them might be out of work.

Out of work. That was a real possibility. Where would they work, anyway? Where are the jobs in that little pocket of the world? Of course, I have no idea what the truth of their lives is. I was just some opinionated asshole passing through town, making assumptions.

Later that evening I wrote some notes in my travel journal about what I’d seen throughout the day. “Poverty isn’t a tourist attraction, and yet I feel as if I cannot tear my eyes away.” I feel this so strongly.

Seeing poverty firsthand leaves me with a sense of helplessness. There is a chaos that stirs inside of me and it’s like I just want to “fix” everything, help everyone, give them a place to work… and I can’t.

I look at my life and my surroundings and become desensitized to them. This place where I live becomes reality. Everyone, everywhere lives in this comfort, right? Wrong. And in the wide arc of my own life from childhood to now, I should know this. But, how quickly we forget when lulled by our own good fortune.

Rhodell, West Virginia
2000 census
The median income for a household in the town was $17,143, and the median income for a family was $19,167. Males had a median income of $17,750 versus $18,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $7,582.
– Source: Wikipedia

2016 Kenny Scharf Bronx, NY Public Art Mural

2016 Kenny Scharf Bronx, NY Public Art Mural

On my way out to Pennsylvania on Sunday, I made a pitstop to finally see the Kenny Scharf Bronx, NY art wall that decorates the Third Avenue side of Krinos Foods.

kenny scharf mural in the brox on Krinos food with triumph bonneville

I’d seen glimpses of the artwork in passing on dozens of trips across the Cross Bronx Expressway. And during each of them I said to myself I have to get down there and check it out!

Scharf’s iconography is unmistakable. Full of color, movement, and always an air of joyfulness – his pieces exude a good time.

My first awareness of Scharf’s artwork came from a cassette tape I bought in the late 80’s – The B-52’s Bouncing Off the Satellites, which featured his artwork on the cover.

B-52s Cover - Bouncing off the Satellites - Kenny Scharf Artwork

Once you become aware of an artists signature-style, their visual language becomes burned into your memory.

As was the case when I saw the 1996 Fiz N’ Zip Swatch collaboration when I was collecting Swatch watches the mid-2000’s. I had to have this watch. It was a direct link to that cassette cover I looked at a million times when I was a kid. This visual language was one I understood.

And here I am in my mid-40’s now, still following threads that tie me back to that cassette tape. It is a testament to the longevity of Kenny Scharf’s career and his ability to make images that stay with people.

Visit the Krinos Food Mural

Public art seems to be a fickle beast. You never know how long something will remain on display. And as a sad fact of city-life, how long a piece will remain unmarred by tagging. So, time can be of the essence if you want to check something out in its intended form.

Early on Sunday morning was a great time to stop in. With few people around, I was able to park and walk around freely without having to wait for cars or foot traffic to snap some pictures.

If you’re in the neighborhood, it’s worth a stop. Here are a few snaps:

kenny scharf mural in the bronx on the side of Krinos food
kenny scharf mural in the bronx on the side of Krinos food
kenny scharf mural in the bronx on the side of Krinos food
kenny scharf mural in the bronx on the side of Krinos food - tree and flowers
kenny scharf mural on the side of Krinos food - dinosaur
kenny scharf mural on the side of Krinos food - fish

Kenny Scharf Bronx, NY Mural

Krinos Foods
1750 Bathgate Ave
Bronx, NY 10457

Two Barn Murals Around Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Two Barn Murals Around Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

When I woke up in Wilkes-Barre, my plan for the day was to swing by Williamsport to see if I could find the repaired Whispering Giant, Woapalanne. Then I would turn my wheels south to make my way to Fredericksburg, Virginia for the night, where I was volunteering to staff the 2017 Void Rally.

Though my ride south had something of a focus I did manage to stop and do some sightseeing along the way. Thanks to the triumphant return of Wendyvee to the helm of Roadside Wonders, I’d pinned a lovely fading rooster mural by Wayne Fettro to my map.

It must’ve been quite a looker when the paint was fresh. Even in its aging state, it was lovely to me.

Bridge Valley Rd, Columbia, PA – Google Maps

There are a few interesting murals around the Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania area. Miraculously, I restrained myself from gobbling up everything and instead kept heading south…. but, I did see one more since it was on the way.

This mural looked freshly painted. It replaced a Fettro “Harvest Time in the 1920s” mural. While lovely in its own right, a quick turn around the internet says not everyone was happy to see the former Fettro mural go away.

Time marches on. Keep taking pictures and writing down memories, friends.

680 Cloverleaf Rd – Elizabethtown, PA – Google Maps