…but it may be one of my best.
See, a while ago I declared myself KING of Key West. Officially, I declared it in the column I wrote for Miko Losic's now-defunct Key West City Paper. And it snowballed from there. It turns out that the rules of being "something" in the Conch Republic are as follows…
"If the position is unclaimed or undone and you want it, it's yours."
Many "the Kings" were there. KING was up for grabs.
Incidentally, at the same time I owned a studio-gallery called Bananas (A Sanctuary For Martianing Monkeys), four houses West and over from Ernie's place on Whitehead. As a painter, a symbol I use to mark much of my work is the "heart with a pair angel wings in front of a right-side up, five-point star." I call it my brand. Well, I had been writing KING of KW on all my art. After it was officially announced, as a happily full-time KW painting artist and former graffiti artist, soon after I began hand-painting my brand on non-controversial surfaces such as the back of street signs, electrical boxes, nooks and crannies and what all. All over the place. And underneath each one I wrote…
"LOVE is KING"
"KING is LOVE"
"LOVE 4 eva!"
…you get the idea. This went on for some years without notice. And I was always upfront about it, mostly because I was clear with everyone I was doing good and working hard to beautify unnoticed and otherwise unloved surfaces. Sometimes on private property, but always to the betterment or increase of aesthetic worth (and fiscal value) of everything I painted on. Usually, I did it in the day, in front of all to watch and see. Like a good fairy.
This past December I was in NYC when I was summoned to appear in court on charges of criminal mischief after being stopped by police while painting one of my brands (with the word "LOVE") across the street from the police station on Truman. So I returned to KW, and after showing Judge Fowler, the state prosecutor, and the court clerks all what I was painting and that I was meticulous, and good-spirited, charges were dismissed. Thankfully, in good Key West humor, they were impressed and tickled.
So here a photo of my latest work. It can be found at the corner of Fleming and Margaret, at the laundromat next to Monsoon Cafe. It is a Change Machine.
When I first began doing laundry here, I first thought this weathered old machine was surely out-of-service. It honestly appeared to have had been through more than its fair share of storms and hurricanes. But it worked! Anyhow, after a few visits the dear thing was speaking to me, and deserved some love. Afterall, it was continuing to dutifully serve us all on the island as a valued member of the community. (And how many machines with any history around here can make that claim?!) So I began illustrating it's most lovely points, and painting in the letters, and one thing led to another, and voila! A new piece was born.
And the piece is called Change is Beautiful.