Showing posts from 2020


Los Angeles is not all cars and the glitter of Hollywood. Likewise, you don’t find the true LA in districts like Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Malibu or Pacific Palisades. The already wealthy and famous live apart in enclaves.
The real LA is in the working districts of Melrose, Korea Town, the Miracle Mile and Downtown. Walking through them you have time to absorb the real city, street life and its people. Here lives aspirations on steroids.
They fill the air and have a sound. The waiters who want to be actors. The retail clerks who want to be stand up comics. The garment district worker who wants to start a fashion line. The business person in the food ally pitching a deal.
Alter egos dance off each other, reflect on glass windows and seemingly splash off the sides of walls and buildings. Bright bold marks bounce everywhere. Some marks and aspirations wait for a long time, others start to fade but resist. No one here wants to say goodbye to them. Not here. Not in LA.
David Young 


William Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances.” 
He surely imagined a stage more dramatic than the entrance to a grocery store. Most are bland with little fanfare, simply moving people in to do their shopping. Not for glamorous things, but just the necessity of life.
A backstage of life for sure. Still drama of everyday life exists in the coming and going of people. All with their stories to tell and families to feed.
David Young


George Gershwin composed “Rhapsody in Blue” while riding on a train between New York and Boston…
The chill of an early morning Boston caused me to pull my coat tight as I walked into South Station. The station looked like a half circle inside cast in northeast (NE) gray. A couple of coffee stands and an eatery were busy. Travelers getting their nourishment before boarding the train. I looked forward to traveling to New York.
A giant electronic leaderboard flashed the status of departures and arrivals. Just beyond the gates sat the Acela and Northeast Regional Trains. The Acela with its noble nose and the Northeast Regional with a square working face. 
I sat with my coffee looking out in awe at them. Maybe just a usual sight to people in the NE. As a westerner, it was special for me. They were like gleaming keys to the NE. Stallions that would take me through the best and worst along the tracks arriving in the gleaming place called New York. They were magic, each with their own persona…


The coffee shop was filled with people on their phones. Me too, I read all the latest on the new iPhone 12. Faster they said, better camera than my trusty iPhone X. Yes, It seemed my phone took more pictures than my camera in recent times. Still the experience left something missing, but I was’t sure what. 
Maybe the phone is just too easy, too immediate. There were other things too, the phone proved difficult to hold for me when taking a photo. Most importantly though, it let in all the rest of the world. All those news updates, emails waiting, advertisements and applications lurked in the background. Some even popped up as notifications when I tried to take the photo. 
My thoughts turned to how different using a camera was. How it could silence the rest of the world allowing a more compete experience with what you saw. How you could create your own world with it. A world only limited by your creativity. How wandering became something different, more thoughtful and fulfilling.


I spotted it from a distance, just a field of debris, but it drew me. Even far away, I could see random patterns chance had created. It had been tossed there near a simple brick building, but did not belong to it. Closer, I noticed markings on the stones strewn in between the tossed wood. The different colors making parts stand out. The building they came from a mystery, not visible in the area. Why were these still useful and beautiful things now debris. What would happen to them?

The debris existed someplace between usefulness and the dump, purgatory of sorts. It remained here in limbo for nature, man and fate to decide what will be done with it. Too valuable to give up on, but no longer of value enough to do something with. The debris like evidence of some misdeed removed from where the event happened.

It did not move or change. It was just there. There was an undefined art about it. The way it was scattered, the color muted by elements and the imagined story behind it all.
I only …


Just an empty parking lot now. Once beautiful things were made here.
Some thought they were real. Even owners began to believe.
Things get old though, Machinery and all.
Too easy for silk flowers To be made far away.
First the employees go. Then the machinery left, then the building.
Only stray parts left now And swirls on the parking lot from employee’s cars once there.


There is another city, away from the glitz on its rough edges. A place where railroads cross, trucks run and work is done.
Here you will find the pieces that make the city work, build buildings, fuel engines and factories. Some are vital and humming, others forgotten scraps. All supported by a legion of workers, the keepers of the city.
Once in a while you may find an artist or inventor working in humble surroundings with big dreams. Most often though, there are just workers whose dreams are measured by long days, a paycheck and being a part of these special places. They are proud of what they do, not afraid to wear worn gloves and dirt on collars.
If you wander these rough edges with your camera, rewards abound. You find colors and beauty only forged by the wear of time. You realize life is not always the well ordered place you are used to. Special skill are needed in the rough edges to live and work there.
The initial risk and trepidation you feel going to these rough edges soon disappe…


Some say windows are the eyes of the city. Whether you are looking out or passing by them, there is always a bit of mystery. Things left unsaid and unseen. An incompleteness that draws you, wanting more of the story and what you see. Maybe like the times we are in, they defy a complete description. They are just reflections.




I shut the blades On the day.
Too long, two confusing It wore on me.
Still life was out there Waiting for me.
Always a chance To save the day.
Light showed through Beckoning me up again.
Not I, I said I will not shut the blades On the day.


They're all just scraps and leavings from your work. Sometimes reference pieces, even blotting paper. All discarded Into the trash.
Once in a while you glance down and look at them, they speak back their own story. Strokes of your being, maybe practices, maybe preparation, maybe adjustments to your final performance and movements.
They have something to stay. Marks your hand and mind made. Free of final critique and comment. Existing on their own free of world bounds. Practices before perfection.
They surprise at time, rising to art in their own right. When viewed by others, you might receive the comment “nice work.” You grin and grimace, but nod your head. Not knowing quite what to say. So you hold them out and remind yourself they are your marks. They do mean something. They are part of you.
David Young


Charlotte like many cities has been described as a “beautiful set of gems thrust into the ground.” A wonder to behold from a distance but difficult to grasp up close. When you walk around some cities it can feel like that. There are the usual things, a sports stadium, a couple of large museums and big hotels. Most of the legacy buildings have been torn down to make room for the towering gems. On the ground, it's difficult to touch the gems and feel any humanism. They are too shiny, too perfect and without personality.
This can change with the courage of civic leaders. If you add some transportation, vision and young entrepreurs a city new can emerge. The city can take on new personality and richness. In Charlotte, risks were taken to extend the Blue Line light rail into the once industrial east side. Here you often found abandoned industrial buildings and ghost malls which once served workers.
This afforded the potential of new dense living and expansion of a fledging art communit…


If the city were an artist, the walls would be its canvas. We pass walls everyday. They are dividers, modes of protection from the outside and foundational parts of a building. 
They are also so much more. Some bear the marks of a torn down building, the scrapes and colors of a city always in motion, a piece of art drawn by the patina of time, or statements either artistic or political. They are a message place for an urban tribe to mark on, in language only known to them. Walls are a rambling combination of all these left like an ancient cave dwellers attempt at recording history.

In the sometimes swirling chaos of the city, a wall can be a reflection of peace. Stopping us long enough to pause and look. Sometimes art, sometimes thought provoking, and sometimes just a statement or guide directing our wandering. Interest is always found there, to be interpreted and enjoyed. 
David Young


"Horse Still Roam"
The other day, I found myself searching through my art studio for an old pan of watercolor paints. Maybe I longed for the gentle nature of them. Especially in these difficult times. The muted colors and lack of harsh lines. How with a brush you could blend them together on cold press paper, enjoying them becoming one. There is a special art in them, born out of their imperfection.
There’s something pure and simple about working with watercolors. Often you can use just one brush that is easily cleaned with water between colors. A drop of paint on the tip can be spread in any direction toward the boundary of your subject.
Watercolors are the oldest form of painting. Cave dwellers used ochre and charcoal mixed with water to make images on their walls. They too tried to interpret the world they lived in. Artists from Paul Cezanne to O”Keefe found their initial expressions and inspiration using watercolors.
Life seems so unbounded right now. You hope to make sense …


The South is crisscrossed with small roads. Much more so than in the West where I am from. Each one beckons you. Eventually, curiosity and the explorer in you turns your car onto them. Some are beautiful like Clarence Promise Road, Whiskey Run and the Road to Tradesville. 
You are drawn to others just by their unique name. Such is the short Brickyard Road. This unassuming road runs to the backdoor of Fort Mill SC. When you first drive it, there is nothing that shouts out at you in the way of wonderment. There are a few things that catch your eye, a lovely forest stretch, an old abandoned dirt side road, a hint at a structure here and there.
There’s enough to entice your curiosity. So back home I did some research. Brickyard Road it turns out is full of Native American, early settler and industry lore. Long before the first settlers, this road bed and the remains of the original Nations Ford Road (which crosses it) were used by traders. The latter road leading to the best spot to cros…


I’ve written about Chester, SC before. A picturesque town on a hill at the doorstep between the Piedmont and Low Country to the south. It’s a town frozen in time with colorful buildings dating back to the mid 1800’s. Then the town had great promise as a transportation, commerce and industrial center fueled by textile mills. The storefronts filled with merchants and shops.
Roland Hill, a wealthy business man from Greensboro NC, must have sensed the promise of the town when he built a Theater in 1913 to both show movies and be a focal point for local plays. Fittingly he named it Dreamland. He said it would stand for a 100 years and be a focal point for the community culture.
The theater changed hands and names several times, but still stands today. However, much like the rest of Chester is now unoccupied. Still the images of theater goers of long past remain painted on the sides of the building in the alley near where the actors used to enter the stage area. Some locals have said the plac…


“Show me a Mall, and I’m Happy.”   Julie Roberts
Malls are always fun. Ever changing, always different on each spin around. Even the same looks different. You want to go there. The experience though can be both rewarding and disappointing. 

Sometimes you feel empty after  a visit, thinking there must be more to life. Others times you are elated by the purchases, the people and the sights. Beyond the fancy merchandise and glittering store fronts there is a different mall, an artful one. It’s all part of the Mall Spin that never ends.
David Young


During the shutdown, my thoughts often drifted to times before the virus. Travels, dining out, gatherings, shopping and just being out without fears. The world seemed like an oyster then. A place where you could achieve anything you wish or go anywhere just because you had the desire. A world you could chase after with zeal.
Now that things are opening up again, the same temptations are starting to emerge. Still there are things I learned from the pandemic experience. You become more in touch with your mortality. You begin to feel there may be other ways to live than you have in the past. Most of all, you realize there are things you still need to learn about yourself and opportunities for personal growth you overlooked in the past. 
I want the “new normal” to be different. Spending more time developing friends, understanding myself, growing spiritually and becoming more peaceful. I will still embrace the oyster of the world we are blessed with, but want to devote more time to the parts…

SP - 10

Art is everywhere if you just open yourself to it. Even in a bland concrete parking garage on the wall behind space 10, you may find a masterpiece. Often it’s an incomplete one, just an image of numbers and marks or something else that makes you pause. Later it can spring to life when you think of another image you once photographed or drew in a fanciful flight of imagination. All found and made on a normal day parked in a dull garage…




Every person’s handwriting has always been unique, a signature of their soul. This is changing. Handwriting is becoming like the digital age, uniform blocks of letters printed, not scripted.
So when you find a collection of old letters, the beauty of the writing causes pause. An art form on their own. Most of the time, the letters record ordinary happenings, a train ride, a wedding, school, a relative or maybe a new love. It doesn’t matter, there is beauty in the writing. We write and strive all our lives to become the unique beautiful person our writing promises.
You wish you could see the person, ask them about their lives, watch them write. You can’t of course, but you can add your own hand, a clipping or photo to paint in their lives, to imagine different happenings. All in honor of the art that flowed in ordinary letters from their hands….
David Young


You find objects and things when you wander. Some remind you of the scene you see and feel. Others are just art by themselves. ASSEMBLAGES are attempts to put these found objects together and make them art.
The roots of this art are as ancient as the pile of rocks in the desert or the cubist constructions of Picasso. They can take the form of almost anything including idle collages, simple groupings of objects and sayings, to  just objects in their own right. They all share a sense of impermanence, like a sand sculpture on a beach. A new perspective drawn by the artist, but not there for long.
Assemblages are uniformly hard to photograph. Perhaps the reason is as Marcel Duchamp (The Bicycle Wheel) said. He felt a work of art was not complete without the presence of the viewer. It is only the viewer who can generate the energy of imagining reflected by the art piece.
Good photographs or not, I will always take pleasure in viewing how objects I find look and how they might fit together. It…