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Thomas Martin Photo & Paint

For the love of dog

Category Archives: |W0RDS

“Nobody ever takes a photograph
of something they want to forget.”

– Syd Parrish –

A recent trip to the One Hour Photo at Walgreens recently lead me to Re-visit one of my Favorite Movies: One Hour Photo, written and directed by Mark Romanek and starring Robin Williams as Syd Parrish. The film, with its hyper-real cinematography actually pays homage to photographers by naming many of the characters after them. Check them out on Wikipedia.  Examples include:

 

 

 

 
1.  unwanted plant: a plant, especially a wild plant, growing where it is not wanted
2. unwanted plants: weeds in general ( often used before a noun ) “weed control”
3. plant growing in water: a plant that grows in water, especially seaweed
 
VERB 
1. weed·ed – past and past participle
2. weed·ing – present participle
3. weeds – 3rd person present singular
 
Content above provided by
Encarta® World English Dictionary[North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

The May/June American Photo Magazine  reported on JR, a guerilla street artist/self proclaimed “photograffeur”.

JR enlarged his photos to huge proportions and created large scale installations by illegally pasting them onto buildings in: LA, Paris, Israel, Palestine, and the slums of India, Africa, and Brazil.  He especially gained noteriety during the riots in Paris and also by getting arrested in Shanghai.

I believe my May 7th post/photo, Children Underground,  to be a part of JR’s newest project INSIDE OUT, a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity (portraits) into pieces of artistic work (huge posters).

 

To participate:

Upload a portrait

Donate $20

Receive a 90 x 135 cm. poster

Paste it for the world to see:

Wait for it . . .
Wait for it . . .

 In Sao Paulo I stepped off the plane and into a taxi. On the highway my first thought (aside from trying to convert Kilometers/Horas to Miles/Hour) was the vast number of motorcycles. All single cylinder: Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda. All ridden recklessly by what I could only describe as dusty silhouettes. Anonymous, the riders band together as if the were infantry fighting a war on classicism. These silhouettes are the moto-boys.  Brazil’s “E” Class.

If we were talking about Mercedes, this would be a good thing but we are not. We are talking about a people forgotten. Think Jeep Cherokee… these are people too. Brazil’s much delineated class structure, like a gas tank bottoms out at ”E”. The anonymous. Those willing to risk their lives to take your package 40 miles, in fifteen minutes, for forty cents.

The motorcycles I saw, splitting lanes, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, and showing a complete disregard for their own life and limb are ridden by the “Moto-boys.” A good Moto-boy can earn up to $1200 USD per month. A good wage for the “E” class. They are often referred to a sort of scourge…organ donors, cock roaches. Ask a Brazilian, they will tell you and laugh it off dispassionately.

The motorcycles themselves are owned by “Corporate Brazil,” and the “boys” are as well owned by all of Brazil. “You can’t do business in Brazil without the Moto-boy,” I was told by one shop owner at 8 AM one beautiful morning over a pot of French Press Brazilian coffee. “One” had already died at 6:30. AM. The day had just begun and a life had already ended. In the morning you can hear their single cylinder motorcycles wind through their gears, as if racing motor-cross, before your alarm even sounds.

By midday, a taxi driver warned me not to hang  my arm out the window for fear the moto-boy will clip you with you with their handlebars (or the police will fine you) as they split the lanes betwixt-and -between fearful motorists.  It is in fact against Sao Paulo law to ride like this, but the motorcycle police do the same, and break the same laws just not with as much skill or urgency.  They too fear the moto-boy. Brazil fears the Moto-boy.

They beep incessantly as if creating a buzz as would a swarm of bees. Motorists listen. Nobody wants to kill a moto-boy. I met a taxi driver who had been in an accident with a moto-boy. His cab was damaged and off the road for a month. The driver couldn’t sleep for three nights. When he could sleep he had recurring nightmares. Another motorist told me what to do if you do hit a moto-boy: Stay in your car, dont say anything, and wait for the police. “They think they own the road, and if your car is damaged, it is not their fault.”

By midday an average of two or more moto-boys have already died along with an even greater number of pedestrians hit by moto-boys. During my ten days in Sao Paulo, I saw thousands of moto-boys, three deaths, and was myself struck in the street by a moto-boy not wanting to come to a complete stop, thereby having to put is foot down and waste time. Time is money.

The problem is a matter of fact, and its taken for granted. The moto-boys also stand to lose in this game of “Chicken”.  And when they do, its usually with their life. When a Moto-boy crashes, the others circle their motorcycles around them to protect their fallen comrade from further injury although they are often already dead. To avoid these circles further impedes Sao Paulo traffic as does the ambulance who races to scrape the moto-boy off the expressway.

By ten o’clock that same night, while out on the town and looking for a place in town to stop and have a drink, my friend and I noticed many moto-bikes parked meticulously in front of one establishment which we assumed to be a “biker bar”. Although the crowd was not unruly I passed on the opportunity to go inside, only later to learn that they were parked adjacent to the local drogeria (drugstore) waiting for their opportunity to make a delivery, perhaps risking their lives because someone might have a headache or might need a condom.

The moto-boy in my opinion is neither a nuisance nor a necessary evil, but an epidemic that needs a cure.

Elifas: Writer, Artist, Publisher, and Brazil’s most famous  Graphic Designer, celebrated with Thomas the launch of Elifas’ new company: Fabula

Elifas gave Thomas a copy of one of his books and inscribed it for Tom’s birthday. He told Elifas, through an interpreter, that he was going to loan it to Montserrat  College of Art’s “bibloteca” because the students would love it.

Elifas was so moved and honored that he also signed a copy for the college. He is a wonderful man and artist…  Brazil’s equivelant to Walt Disney. In November of 2009, he was named a “Count” and awarded The Order of Cultural Merit by Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva.

Later that night Thomas was also  fortunate enough to meet the former Minister of Human Rights Brazil at a restaurant in Sao Paulo, Vienna.

“I photograph what I can not paint, and paint what I can not photograph.”
~ Man Ray

  Imagine you are me
  I always lose my keys
  and lock myself out
  of my house…
 
  Imagine you are him
  always finding keys
  yet still locked out
  of someone else’s house.