Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finished this over the weekend. A very good man who owns a bodega down the street from me just recently opened up a small cafe/restaurant across the street from his market. It’s called Dekum Street Cafe, located right on the northeast corner of Dekum St and MLK Blvd. The mural faces east, over a shitty parking lot. An incredible amount of folks driving by and in the neighborhood came and talked to me about it, learning the history of this man named Dekum from Germany in the 1800s who contributed a lot to the city of Portland. Shit, the street they live on is named after him and it seems not a single person ever heard of him. Frankly, I don’t care much for him, but I thought he had an interesting twist to his life… an entrepreneur who created banks, businesses, and other such investments in this city, watched all of this go virtually awry due to an economic panic. I think the story resonates a lot with today’s current threats and crisis. The man was very homesick and longed to hear the songbirds of Germany. He was a proud member of the German Songbird Society, and brought these birds to Portland. I see the mural as a sort of ambiguous reflection on the event… on one hand, these birds he revered are assisting in putting back together old Dekum’s collapsing life… or, these birds are dismantling such a system that falters under bad socio-economic systems. Choose your own adventure. I also thought it’d be interesting to show the sketch I made in the cafe a few days before I painted the mural, and how it transformed a bit to become more interactive with the building itself.