Thursday, February 22, 2007

The diva tag was supposed to look like this, a pair of disembodied eyes floating in the wind.

I was going for a Chesire Cat kind of effect. For some reason the tags wanted to all float upside down. I rotated the picture above. Still, I am quite pleased with the latest round of tags. I think I will go back to multiple images with different orientations.

This tag is right right under the Manhattan Bridge. I feel a little sad about dumbo. It used to be gritty and sometimes even a little scary with beautiful little bursts of creativity. It has been transformed into a sleek clean neighborhood so quickly, I think it might have lost some of its soul. There are still traces around the edges, but they are faint.

Here is another view of the dumbo tag

Down by the East River, the morning light really kicked in. It had snowed the day before leaving no traces other than some brilliant post snow light.

This image shows the effect I was trying for, though it's pretty blurry.

This tag was a victim of the wind, which tore it and plastered it against the parking sign, upside down (naturally).

I also managed to find a pole with some kind of metal clamp and wires attached to it. The tag got all tangled up in it.

I can't imagine why all that hardware is attached to a parking sign, but with the after snow light, I got this image

After I took this picture I looked up and a plane was flying overhead lit up the same way as the tag. It was truly some fine light.

I am working on an installation which I hope to finish in the next week. I will post pictures here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

December light is my favorite. From certain angles it fringes out into the colors of the spectrum. At a distance it glints off of metal making everything look as if it were made of liquid silver. It is really beautiful light but very hard to capture. It moves quickly, sometimes changing while I am framing an image. Here is some December light from a few years ago.

On the first day of December one of my favorite things happened; the subway riders were color coordinated. It is common knowledge that New Yorkers prefer to wear black more than any other color, but they do show flights of fancy. At times it seems that some subliminal message was sent through the city and everyone shows up wearing the same color. This day was dark and rainy. As I walked down the subway corridor, I noticed several people wearing bright pink as if to counter the gloom. On the a train there was a momentary coordination of bright color. A chic woman held onto the pole wearing a yellow jacket and a dark brown almost black skirt. Behind her, leaning against the door was a man wearing an orange polo shirt. I was at the opposite door with a kelly green tote bag with brown flowers that nearly matched the chic woman's skirt. Sitting next to me was a woman whose black handbag was adorned with pink hearts and metallic pink straps, she was also wearing black sneeakers with pink stripes. Towards the end of the car, a young man wore a grey jacket with shocking pink and orange accents on one sleeve and green and orange accents on the other. Seated near him was a woman wearing a turquoise t-shirt which complimented the green sleeve accents. Everyone else on the car was thoughtfully wearing neutral tones. When the subway car is so well coordinated, I feel I should compliment my fellow riders. Other times, when one person's color clashes with the rest, I wish I could move the offending person. "Please," I would say, "Could you just trade places with that woman across from you, your lavender does not match the jewel tones around you." But I restrain myself. No one likes a control freak especially on the morning subway.

Soon I will post the pictures from my latest tag...

Friday, February 16, 2007

I found a small aluminum ladder which added two feet to my height. I planned on hanging the tag on the higher rung of the crosswalk sign. I created a square tag with red pictures. I imagined it fluttering delicately between the rungs like a jewel. The reality was a bit harsher

There is more to get tangled with on the upper rung.

Here the tag is trapped on top of the walk sign, barely visible. I like the colors of the picture so I posted it.

This tag was in Williamsburg. Note the gritty edge to the walk signal and the deliciously pretentious "We Are Our Own Art History" sticker.

And here is a closeup without the art history.

I am very fond of the sticker on the top.

Here are some others:

These tags stayed up longer, but I had to get them away from the crosswalk signs. The solution appeared immediately; the street signs are on poles with a long line of holes. I could thread my tags through there and they could fly free. But the fall had slipped into the holiday season. There were so many commitments and so many decorations on the street, I decided to wait for the next round.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

I tried to make the tags a little less ephemeral. I added a little metal ring hoping it would be harder for people to tear the them down. I went out on an early Friday morning. There were people everywhere, going to work, looking for after-hours clubs. At any given time of the day, someone in New York City is awake and busy. Usually, they are too busy to show interest in what I am doing, which is fine with me.

It was a dark day again. I tried to photograph the tags that morning.

I hung this one near a friend's house hoping he would see it.

Then it started to rain.

When I came back on Sunday, those tags were gone. In fact, this round had lasted fewer days than the original set. One had been torn down, its little metal ring left hanging from the post. But others had been carefully seperated from their wires. I wondered who would take them. Were they very tall? Maybe I am too short. I suppose city employees could have taken them down, but why leave the string behind? Why didn't they also take down the tacky fliers? It would be nice if people took them because they liked them. However I feared it was more of an idle gesture, perhaps random Saturday night behavior while waiting to catch a cab. I imagined a tag shoved into a trendy messenger bag, maybe one with a seatbelt clasp on the shoulder strap. There it would lie, crumpled and forgotten.

Some lasted a little longer:

I was suprised to find this tag at Astor Place had not been taken.

This tag on Bowery got tangled in one of those metal bands with the bar codes.

The light was so beautiful that day, clear bright October light, just beginning to shift to a lower angle with slightly more shadow. Things were gleaming in the light, colors were popping.

This tag was near Rivington Street

It was fun, but I clearly had to become taller.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The idea came to me while I was looking for a way to make slides out of my digital images. The inkjet film I used made horrible slides, but the images were sort of fun. Then I had the idea of hanging these transparent tags around in the city. The crosswalk signs seemed to be ideal spots. They were accessable and people look at them often. I went out late one Saturday night in the early autumn. It had been a while since I had been out at 5am, waiting for the subway on an empty platform, walking in the quiet streets. A block from the first place I hung a tag, a huge white SUV was parked, humming with muffled hip hop. I felt elation when that first tag fluttered in the wind. I felt a connection with the city that had been missing for years. I moved through Soho as the day grew lighter. It was a cloudy morning when I finished. A couple kissed goodbye as the woman got in a cab. I wondered if he would ever call her.

This was my first tag.

Then I wanted to hang one near a building on Wooster St. that is covered in street art. But there weren't any crosswalk signs. So I hung the tag on the building gate.

This tag disappeared pretty quickly.

Some other tags:

Focusing on the small tags made me realize that the city's background is composed of layers of images. The tags become another layer.

I placed a tag near the wonderful building on Spring and Elizabeth where so many artists post their work. Someone hung a cardboard tag next to mine and for a few days they danced together.

Then they both disappeared. In fact, after about five days, all the tags vanished at once. It was as if someone had found one and then hunted down all the others.

There was a tag that remained. The wind had blown it up against the sign and I guess it was too much work to pull down.

This one stayed for months, it's images slowly fading. And then one day it was gone too.