|High Desert Babe wheels past Thomas' Love Train mural - July 2011|
That Railyard caboose has just sat there overlooking things from its well-trafficked perch through the last several decades. She can generally look pretty worn down, especially when aspiring young artists markup the red car-walls with tags and immature scribbles. In the fall of 2010 however, the caboose looked glorious. Artist Chip Thomas (aka Jetsonorama) was commissioned to put up a wheat paste mural of playing children, and the transformation of old railway relic to contemporary art chic was jarring. I loved to ride by there and marvel at how glue paper and ink could have such a bold effect on that forever-dusty corner setting.
All this imaginating and curiosity got me reading about the artist, Chip Thomas - and whoa - could not have envisioned what an impossibly badass guy this dude is. Grew up in New York, heavily influenced by the nascent hip-hop and graffiti scene (now more developed and categorized as street art). He now works as a practicing physician with Indian Health Services on the Navajo Nation and in his spare time dreams up and pastes these transfixing images that mirror the people and lands themselves. An extended body of work that he and visiting artists and his pasting team (calling themselves No Reservations Required) pulled together in 2012 they call the Painted Desert Project. The images themselves are ordinary, but their size and setting somehow become extraordinary when viewing. I love what this guy does.
All work by Chip Thomas
More images at the artist's site, speakingloudandsayingnothing.blogspot.com
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