Common Pollen


Common Pollen street mural detail, photo by Eoban Binder

On August 4, a dozen volunteers living in the Prospect Hill neighborhood helped paint  Common Pollen. It was quite the process, and in 90 degree heat! We started around 9am, first power washing and sweeping the street, which dried quickly in the hot sun. Then we began measuring, and painting. We finished about 3pm, and I have to say–everything went pretty much according to plan. Who knew it would work out so well?

One of my favorite things about this project is that it’s underfoot (under tires, really), and nobody has to store it, or take care of it: a free-range artwork.

A few people have expressed interest in how this mural ties in with the rest of my work. “Pollen”–as metaphor–has long been of interest to me, probably going back to Cross Pollination, my 2004 exhibit with poet Jennifer Frank. Around 2010 I began working with bee and honeycomb imagery, and by 2011 I was keeping bees and marveling at “bee bread,” the delicious teensy patties of fermented pollen made by bees–stored in the hive as a protein source.

More recently, working on the Common Pollen proposal inspired me to begin a series of paintings based on Helianthus annuus pollen, with a little I-Ching play thrown in.

And then of course there is gardening, which both inspires my studio work, and offers a blessed distraction from it, too. Sometimes it’s good to set down the paintbrush and go out to be in the green world.

Special thanks to these folks… David Ondrik (photographer and paint-spray-machine-tinkerer), who made a short video with time lapse photos taken over the course of the day by Jaclyn Ray. Eoban Binder (grant administrator and paint sprayer extraordinaire) created a Flickr page with some of his photos and others that were shot by Jessika Griffin (ever-so-generous snack supplier).




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