Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Melrose, 1987

It was one of those incredibly hot summer days, the heavy wet air
clinging to everything like a blanket of steam.
There wasn't a wisp of breeze to be had, and it felt like that strange kind of weather that could swing from sauna to green skies and tornadoes at any moment.
The farmhouse was a crumbling old place on the edge of town, filled with old yellowed wallpaper and cracked plaster walls, the echos of all the people who lived there bouncing, filling you with a sense of place that once held something vital.
My pals were living there for the summer, doing restoration on some strange and crumbling cement scuplture folk art park, one of many renters to move in and out over the years.
The place was mostly empty, had that feeling that nobody lived there, that they were just camping out for a few days and moving on, leaving the place to the ghosts once again.
Or for the next bunch of rootless people to use it and move on.
Small towns in central Wisconsin are filled with old houses slowly crumbling away with no family there to care for it and no people moving in and gentrifying the neighborhood.
Eventually they just burn or fall in on themselves and somebody
puts up an ugly two story ranch, or the basement fills up with rotten wood, scrub trees and weeds.
I wonder if that house is even there anymore.
I know almost all my tribe from those days have moved on from my life, leaving a love for doing art to become computer geeks, jesus freak school teachers or seamstresses or stockbrokers and project managers.
Very few of my artmob kept doing art. It's a shame too, because for a time, we had some seriously good scultptors, painters, potters and printers doing something magical.
My tribe tends to be musical these days, and I still have people around me doing fine things, but that group in Oshkosh in the mid 1980's was sure an amazing bunch.
Shot with a large format camera on my favorite old film, Tri X using the available light.

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"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." Ralph Waldo Emerson