I made a little bit of progress on this today after taking 4 days off. Starting from the left I straightened out a bunch of signs and began fleshing out the people.
I finished the first pass on this 11"x17" drawing today. I laid out all the people with signs and then filled the gaps with people holding up their fists. The next step, after a few tweaks, will either be putting the messages on the signs or adding details to the protesters and making them all unique. Right now they all look like bald white men. When I'm done inking this, and if I'm happy with the results, I'll get to work penciling the 18"x24" version.
As I work towards an 18"x24" size drawing of my "protesters" piece I'm doing smaller versions as art studies. What I've been doing so far has been drawing the people holding up blank signs then I'll go and write something in them after. Because I'm going to have so many different people with signs I thought I should figure out what they're gonna say so I started writing & laying them out. Almost everything I wrote is something I've read on social media and on people's actual signs relating to George Floyds murder, police brutality protests and the Black Lives Matter movement.
I drew this and inked it today. It's a little bigger that 4"x5". The plan is to draw a big one (18"x24") with a bunch of protesters in face mask holding up signs and fists. I got a good idea of how I want them to look but still need to figure out what pens/markers to ink it with. I mainly used a Copic Sketch on this for the varying line widths but it's too big for the small details like fingers & hair. I'm gonna try a Sharpie next and see if I like it better, then maybe a Micron Graphic 1 and other sizes.
I did my stretches & workout at home, cooked dinner (chicken & mushrooms,) went for a 3.3 mile walk in the neighborhood, came home, ate left overs and made microwave-s'mores. The only thing that would have made today better would be if they arrested all the cops who murdered Breonna Taylor (only one has been fired)
Here are a couple sketches I drew over the weekend. Their inspired by the people in the pictures below. They're screenshots from videos I took during a march from San Jose's city hall to the police station a few weeks ago. I wanna draw a bunch of protesters wearing masks & holding up signs like I've been seeing downtown.
Last night I found out that HBO was streaming the Watchmen series for free this weekend and I binged thru all 9 hour-long episodes today. From what I understand, HBO is doing this for Juneteenth to highlight "Black experiences, voices and storytellers." The show is sort-of a sequel to the 80s comic book, not the 2009 movie. This series deals with racism and has superheroes and police wearing masks to hide their identities. The series opens with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre which was a real event that I never knew about until this tv series premiered.
I started sketching what will most likely be my next ink drawing. It's a large scale (18"x24") version of the "protesters" drawing I made a couple days ago. It's hard to see in the pic but it's people wearing masks holding up signs & closed fists. Next, I'm gonna draw darker lines with more details and maybe sketch another version with smaller people so I can fit more of them onto the page.
Yesterday, after uploading my "protesters" drawing to Instagram, my friend Catrina let me know that Works/San Jose, a local non-profit art gallery, had a call-for-art and that my drawing fit the theme. I looked into it and found out it's for a memorial exhibition for George Floyd, Breona Taylor, and the countless other black people who lost their lives due to racism.
From the Works website: "Rather than issue corporate statements, Works seeks to amplify creative voices calling for justice. We ask artists to thoughtfully respond with work for a community exhibition respecting those who have faced the ultimate deadly disrespect."
My drawing fit the bill so I submitted it last night. This morning Works/San Jose posted my drawing on their Instagram page.
The show is online only, since we're still dealing with Covid, and officially goes live June 19th (Juneteenth) 2020.
I drew this with a white China marker in my black sketchbook this afternoon. It was inspired by the protesters outside of San Jose city hall who've been demonstrating against police violence, racism & transphobia during the Covid-19 pandemic. I might draw a larger version with a lot more people holding signs.
Between protesting downtown last weekend, getting tested for Coronavirus on Wednesday, and DJing the event yesterday, I've decided to stay home for the next couple weeks just incase I caught a case of the cooties and to avoid spreading it. I understand there's a 2 week incubation period where it's possible to be infected but not test positive so I'm gonna do my best to be a good boy for the time being. This coming week is also the start of the next phase of reopenings since the shutdown and I'm gonna stay clear from dining at any bars or restaurants. I'm seeing headlines of recent spikes on Covid-19 cases in states that reopened earlier than California. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping a second wave doesn't hit San Jose or the bay area.
I did some protesting last week and I'm DJing a wedding reception this Saturday so I went in to get tested for the Coronavirus this morning. I was told to stay home till I receive the results which can take 24-48 hours. I hate waiting on results like this and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the results come up negative.
As I get closer to finishing my Eyes & Mouths drawing I want to start doing more art to reflect what's currently happening with the Black Lives Matter movement. At the beginning of the Covid shelter-in-place order I found it really difficult to create anything new. I worked on inking old sketches and finishing projects already in progress. Eventually I started feeling "creative" again by drawing on small cards, before inking my larger pieces, to warm up. Over the last week and a half I've been preoccupied by the George Floyd/police brutality protests happening in my city and around the US but now I want to get creative and show my support.
This morning I and a bunch of volunteers helped paint a boarded up window in downtown San Jose. It was organized by the arts non-profit Local Color. I didn't do much besides fill ins. Local artist & sign painter, Ben Henderson did the lettering. It was fun being out there working with everyone and hanging with friends.
I laid some ink down on my Eyes & Mouths piece today. I want to remember what's happening now with the Black Lives Matter movement so I changed one of the pupils from an egg shape (I think I drew it around Easter) to a rising black fist. There are other icons on here, like a tooth for when I got a root canal and a roll of toilet paper (pictured below) for when it was sold out at stores due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
I decided to go last minute to the NAACP "die-in" at San Jose city hall today. I designed a BLACK LIVES MATTER graphic and rushed to transfer it onto an old canvas I recently painted black. I only had time to draw the outlines before I hit the road. There was a ton of people outside city hall when I arrived and a bunch more kept coming. I couldn't hear what was being said over the PA but when it was time to do the die-in, most people took a knee or sat down. I don't think there was enough room for everyone to lay down flat. While everyone was down it was really quiet. I took a video and you mostly hear the sound of the crosswalk signal and the construction across the street. It didn't last long, maybe 5-10 minutes? I thought we were gonna lay down for two hours. Afterwards I met with my cousin and her husband who just arrived then we were off on a march heading towards 1st street and taking a right. I didn't know the march was on the agenda or where we were going. I found out we were heading to the police station right before we arrived. I was nervous since I arrived downtown but now I was a little scared. I've been arrested twice (story for another day) and I don't even like driving near there. When we got close we could see police on the overpass ahead. The crowd turned down another street and soon we were there. We took a knee, chanted, and as a group said Happy Birthday for Breonna Taylor, outside the police station. We weren't there long. The crowd turned around and we headed back the way we came. When we got back to Santa Clara street my cousin & her husband went home and I went to Pizza Flora to grab a beer. I finished it then walked back to city hall. On the way there I saw a guy wearing one of my black & blue SAN JOSE t-shirts. I saw him again later outside of city hall, he said he had to wear it out today and I told him he made my day.
In the two videos below, the top one was during the "die-in" at city hall, the bottom one is everyone taking a knee outside the San Jose police station. Everything was peaceful the whole time I was there and I really hope it statyed that way.
There's not much for me to report on. I stayed in yesterday and today, cleaned, did some errands and worked out. All things I've put off the last few days. Tomorrow (Friday) there is an NAACP-hosted "Die-In" outide of San Jose City Hall from 4-6PM which I might attend.
A die-in, according to the Wikipedia article, "is a form of protest in which participants simulate being dead... protesters simply lie down on the ground and pretend to be dead, sometimes covering themselves with signs or banners. The point of a die-in is to disrupt the flow of people on a street or sidewalk to grab the attention of passersby."
Friday's die-in is to raise awareness & protest the murder of Breonna Taylor who was shot to death by Louisville police who entered her apartment in plain clothes with a "no-knock warrant" on March 13, 2020. The police were looking for a drug dealer who they didn't realize was already in custody. There was gunfire between Breonna's boyfriend Kenneth Walker and the police. The police shot Breonna 8 times and killed her. Afterwards, her boyfriend Kenneth was charged with attempted murder but the charges were later dropped. Breonna's birthday was June 5th, she would have turned 27 on Friday.
From the WCCO CBS Minnesota article:
I hope they get what's coming to them and soon. I fear that if there are any not-guilty verdicts we'll see bigger & bloodier riots than the L.A./Rodney King verdict in 1992
I don't know if this is true, I could be totally wrong, but it feels like the protests in San Jose have become less violent. This afternoon I went to downtown to attend a press conference held by the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP & local community organizations outside of City Hall. It was to address the killing of George Floyd, police brutality, racism, and to get people (us) to go out and make a difference. There were quite a few speakers, all with important messages, but the one that stuck with me the most was the lady who read out a long list of names of black people who were unjustly murdered. She asked the everyone to say "Say Their Name" after she read each one from her phone. I was getting choked up repeating,listening and watching her scroll thru pages on her phone. There are way too many names on that list. It's ridiculous. After the conference I stayed around for a little while before going back home. Tonight, after being off social media for a couple hours I logged back on and saw video of protesters getting tear gassed by police in Seattle. Fucking brutal.
This morning I saw a post on Instagram to meet up at city hall and help clean up downtown San Jose. I grabbed my work gloves, rubber gloves, mask, hat and couple large garbage bags headed out after lunch. This was my first time going downtown since the protesting started and I was a little nervous driving in. When I drove by Santa Clara Street, between 4th & 6th, I expected it to look like warzone but it didn't. It was clean. It didn't look like anything out of the ordinary happened there. After parking a block away I DM'd the person who originally made the post, because I didn't see anyone cleaning, or any groups besides protesters (holding up signs or fists,) so I decided to walk around till I heard back. I hung out were the protesters were for a little bit before cruising down Santa Clara street and making a left on 1st street. I snapped some pics along the way: protest signs on storefronts, graffiti over murals (which bummed me out,) artwork on the windows at Local Color & the boards covering up Good Karma Cafe, and the peaceful protesters in front of city hall and the food & drinks that were provided to them (that made me happy.) On my way out I drove past the protesters, fist up and out the window, trying to honk my horn to the "No Justice, No Peace" chant. I sounded like shit. Later on, I finally heard back from the clean up guy. I guess they were told to leave by police once the protesters arrived.
I couldn't get myself to draw today. Besides reading news all day, all I did was post a message on Instagram to anyone going out protesting or demonstrating. Basically asking them to please be safe and not make things worse. Things have gotten crazier. San Jose is one of the many cities now under a citywide curfew. The curfew is in effect from 8:30 PM to 5:00 AM, starting tonight, for the next 7 days, or until further notice.
With all the chaos that's been happening in my city, and around the US, I've just been trying to focus my energy on finishing this piece. That's not to say that I haven't put thought into current events. (George Floyd's murder protests) What I'm reading and seeing online has been weighing down on me, stirring up all sorts of feelings and I've been processing that while working on this drawing these past couple days.
Friday started off great. I met up with my buddy, Jon, at Lake Cunningham and we went on a (socially-distant) walk around the park. After one lap Jon split and I stayed to do one more then ran into another friend, Adam, who was getting off work at the park. He drove up to show me he was rocking my San Jose shirt. That made my day! I didn't realize I was wearing my San Jose shirt till afterwards. On the way out of the park I snapped a picture of this awesome hand-drawn found-dog flyer posted near the entrance. When I got home I showered, ate lunch, did some crossword puzzles, and started drawing. It was an awesome day up until that point. Soon after, I heard about protesters downtown and on the 101 holding up traffic. They were protesting in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police. Soon I was seeing friends videos on Instagram of people smashing car windows, police firing tear gas & rubber bullets, crowds throwing objects at the police, a trash bin on fire in the middle of the street, a car running over people, people looting a Starbucks, a cop getting knocked out. This shit is crazy and there are protests/demonstrations/riots happening in multiple cities across the US. I wonder if this is going to continue through the weekend and what will happen in its wake.