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Farewell to HOPE

Jan 2nd 2019 and it is downpour raining. not a drizzle or a rain shower but, downpour raining. On top of the torrential rainfall the temperature is dropping and nearing freezing. It is a safe bet that no artists will be painting at the HOPE Outdoor Gallery today, the final day of it being open to the public. UNLESS they are a severely under dressed New Yorker who wont give up the last paint day because of rain and freezing temperatures. I have an umbrella and another pair of socks in the car, ill be fine. It is around 1-2pm. Mimosa Joe flew out this morning, Will Teran flew out an hour or so ago, and now I am left to my own devices without my NY companions by my side. Below is a short video of the final driveby

Beautiful isnt it? Dandelion umbrella that I borrowed from a past roommate over my head I park the car and walk into the park avoiding as much of the small swimming pool sized puddles, rivers of mud cascading down the wall sides, and make the trek back up to the location we painted at yesterday on the 3rd level

Final collab with Jomau

Finished painting by Miles Starkey and a splash of Grito above him

Upon arrival there were no active artists at the park however there was one guy picking stuff up off of the ground at one of the lower levels. I had thought perhaps he was picking up trash or collecting something as I do with spray paint caps found on the ground at the park. Once I made it up the hill to him we spoke briefly. His name was Oakley and he was collecting chunks of the wall to create into sculptures. It is important to remember that the walls here have been painted over hundreds if not thousands of times and throughout the years these layers of expression accumulate to such depth this man can rip it off of the walls with his bare hands like a gigantic graffiti covered banana peel. No feat for the weak. If you take time to read back into my blogs about Austin and specifically HOPE you will come across a mention of the artist Jesse (there may be a picture too). Jesse had a similar style of creating sculpture from the excess layers of the walls. He lived on the land there was no set place to lay his head every night. Jesse spent most of his days over a span of 5 years at the park collecting loose layers of the wall and sculpting them into usually small objects that he would then sell at park to help him buy food for himself and the others in his tribe. He was a good person and someone I looked forward to seeing during my paint-cations in Austin. The most important piece of artwork I ever bought in Austin is a sculpture that Jesse made from the walls. He sliced a thick chunk down to the shape of Texas that could fit in the palm of my hand. That sculpture is now mounted properly to the wall of my bedroom among 4 other works of art that are all time stamps to important moments of my life. I did not see Jesse at the park yesterday.. or Wade.. I had a beer ready for them. If anyone happens to read this and somehow or another cross pathes with Jesse or Wade let them know I wish them well and I hope to see them on the road again

Goodbye forever to one of the most inspiring places on Earth. Thank you for your time.

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