This is a long, sideways ramble, inspired originally when an older image popped up in the ubiquitous side project. That inspiration, the image itself that could come from Google Maps.
Think about it, Google now owns visual records such as that simple shot.
The artist, previously, I’ve captured images of his work, murals close to one of San Antonio’s missions, and I was enthused to meet the artist himself. Humble guy with a bad arm. Good eye, good advice. Aquarius, as I recall.
San Antonio is known for the Alamo, a shrine to freedom throughout the world, and especially what is now Western America.
The slogan everyone’s heard is, “Remember the Alamo!” However, the real cry was “Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad!” That’s only recorded in older histories, not more than a footnote in more modern texts. There are older, historically accurate maps that show Mexico stretching from its current location all the way to Seattle and Wyoming. Best ye remember what that Alamo cry stands for.
Then, too, there’s the War of Northern Aggression, as it was referred to, and still is, in Spanish-language history texts.
I warned this was long and sideways.
That artist, proud of his heritage that itself is montage of culture, languages and lands, he had kind but firm words as there was one painting I found entirely evocative. The painting was evocative because, early that very day, I’d passed a place that could very well have been the setting for the image. Then, too, I’m familiar with the idea of being homeless in pursuit of one’s dream. Or lacking in skills required to cope and keep a roof overhead.
However, that’s only part of the equations, as this is a Two-Meat Tuesday kind of entry.
The Malt House:
I encountered the work of a second artist, a San Antonio native who lost part of his arm while serving our country in Vietnam. Vietnam War. Should date and age him. In his work, I’ve mentioned this before, but in his work, there was an image of The Malt House, as it was circa 1970. Almost 40 years later, the place looks the same. Identical. Same sign, same image, almost the same prices, and probably some of the same employees.
This artist, though, he didn’t think he had “arrived,” or succeeded until he had a national showing in his old home town of San Antonio. What captured my attention, completely, was that image of the Malt House, one of those pen and pencil compositions with shades of gray, and yet, just enough color to properly evoke the grainy nature of inner-city, just a few blocks west of the downtown jail. Bail Bonds and old political posters.
Both artists have “problem” arms, and yet, both artists are strongly “hispanic,” and I use that word with reverence for cult and culture, and both artists are – by my standards – hugely successful.
One has national material, whereas his inspiration is clearly local. The other has mural work on the scale of, well, facing one of the oldest parishes in North America.
I was going to tie all this together, I had a destination in mind. Phone rang. I forgot where it was going. It means something.
Omnia Explorate, Meliore Retinete