Sunday, October 6, 2013

Monuments of the World

I just can't stop. When my best friends moved into a new home, I knew I had to make something special for them.  I was trying to think of something that would reflect our homeland. Cities usually have something that represents them - Des Moines has arching bridges over the river and the capitol, New York has skyscrapers, Paris has the Eiffel tower. What does Guthrie Center have? BAM!
Guthrie  Center has a water tower. It's nothing spectacular, not huge, but it is the first think you see coming into our little city.  So I wanted to create something ironic using stencils, spray paint, and canvas. I called it "Monuments of the World." 

I made two copies, one for both of my friends, and they are now both featured prominently on their fireplace mantel. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Art Student: Stenciling

One of my favorite parts about my job is that I can sneak into visual arts workshop and actually make art myself.  I often think I might have been more successful if I had stuck with visual art then with performing arts, but alas, I've found myself in a life where I can immerse myself in both!

The art workshop's current project is stenciling and spray paint. I'm in love with stenciling!  I started out with inspiration from Des Moines Juice's recent cover.  It Involved this picture: 
(c) DSM Juice

Anyway, I walking home at night, I go through an intersection where there are about 8 different sets of stoplights. I don't know why, but I find that beautiful in the dark. The changing colors, it's like Christmas time.  So I decided to make these stenciled feet march down a street with stop lights.  This is what happened: 

But I wasn't pleased so I started in with some different stencil ideas. The first episode of Portlandia inspired me. Put a bird on it! 

And it ended up on my board! Enhancing the birds eye perspective.

I tried another idea too, though I didn't use it on my board. This is a sharp-edged Keith Hahring inspired stencil: 

And here is my work with the other kids. Sometimes I get kind of competitive with them. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Defy the Day

We see between the place to be
Confiding in the lines on either side
Believing we are what we dream
And sighing when we find the lie.
They pray that strayers remain
Not knowing they hoard there lows
In safe sad space where their ways
go away like an unarmed foe

We defy the day and go. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Hen. . . a Zine

I've had a hard time getting the attention and admiration I long for regularly through this zine i created last week. I have thus decided to share it with the interwebs.

The Hen

She wants a boyfriend.
Who shall she choose? 

She found someone! 

They made babies! 

The End!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The hour of the beach is sacred.

Every Sunday morning, I would wake up the boys around 7:30 or 8.  "L'heure de la plage est sacrée," I would say to them.  Yawning, stretching, we put on our clothes and migrated towards the front door. Jacob would feed the poultry, while Adrien would push the motorcycle out the front door of the living room. 

Moto, Jacob, Adrien

The haze of the swamp fell over our house and the city, keeping it cooler than usual.  In my daze, I straddled the motorcycle, waiting for the boys to keep up with me. I would sit forward, almost on the gas tank, leaving room for them to join me on the motorcycle.  The suspension coils pushed to their limits, I let off the clutch, gave the bike some gas, and and the three of us rode off to the beach. 
Moto soaks in the view while we frolic. 

We sped by statues representing old Vudon stories, and what seemed like the entire city of Ouidah on their Sunday run.  “Yovo,” the would yell at me, or “Teacher!” as we beat them to the beach.  

January brings cold mornings. Adrien, Jacob
We would park on an old foundation, probably a former buvette or boutique. The boys would dismount as I dropped to the lowest gear and plowed through the sand, mounting the cement slab.  Leaving our sandals behind with the bike, we jumped off the platform and into the sandy wonderland.

We would walk if we had energy, chasing sand crabs, racing, rough housing, and dancing in the waves. If we were tired, we would just sit in the sand, admiring the spectacle of fishermen pushing their boats out to sea.  A careful game with the waves, they stood there at the shore, watching the water, finding the perfect time to push forward.  Anxiously climbing over the waves to get out to calm waters. 

The beach wasn’t beautiful in the traditional sense – you had to watch for broken glass, piles of trash, and the occasional piece of drifted styrofoam or wood.   The arch of the Gate of No-Return, the monument to slaves gone away, prominently marked the beach. It was surrounded by a collection of derelict buildings - a hotel once glamorous with windows punched out and soot stained floors.  

Sometimes tradition wins over beauty, or tradition becomes beautiful. The beach was our church - our Sunday morning place for quiet time, reflection, conversation, with whatever spirits might surround us.  

Monday, July 29, 2013


I wrote this in the early spring. It's all about Iowa's love affair with spring. Spring's an asshole. 

Spring teases, 
60 now 46. 

He pulls out.
He spits in my face
Icy white flakes that tickle my nose
Silly pressing my forbidden space. 

I let go of my place
and say
I hope spring loses
so he may.

Drip drop he dicks again
odors of creme coco 
rotting leafs
fertile dirt

Shards of dreams touch 
my tips in drawing of
melting snow. 
Spring wins again. 

I thought he would stray
at the first kiss. 
Listening, my self service
served nothing but favor. 

He thought he would stay at first kiss,
but inaugural doubts by the other led him away. 

He pulls out.  Cries. Walks away. 
Drip drop tears fall in his muddy path. 

Spring has his way. 

The revolution is never over. . . It just changes. . .

It's been over a year since I last posted to this blog. A lot has changed, and now I am seeking out my muse again, to share with the public little insignificant pieces of my life. Yeah, I turned 30, and I'm having a bit of a crisis.

I'm no longer in Benin, but rather the exotic city of Des Moines, Iowa.

One of Raygun's best sellers. 
I am still working in the arts. I am still trying to show people that they deserve art, and that the arts can be a catalyst for person and social change. When I'm not doing that, I'm enjoying the wildly cultural city (no joke, it's incredible), spending time with childhood friends, and thinking about the half decade I spent in Africa.

My new organization is ArtForceIowa, and we work with youth who have been court involved. Many of these stories will be at the center of my revolutionized revolutionme blog.  I also hope to share my artwork, poetry, and stories, many of which go deep, are quite dark, and I haven't had the confidence to share up till now (Read: Deep Dark Secrets!).

John Mark Feilmeyer