canneryrow

Quote

“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flop houses.”                      Cannery Row, John Steinbeck 1945

Artist Statement

Steinbeck has been one of my favorite authors since college.  Cannery Row is one of my favorite books that I pick up over and over.  It is such a great size to carry around in a back pocket.  It follows a class of misfits that has always seemed to ring particularly true to me.  I love the sense of water in this book, the collecting along the tide pools.  I initially was certain that I would paint the image of Doc padding over for his nightly beer – that is one image that has always remained with me.  Along with his enduring image of the beer milkshake.  I can’t help but wish that Doc was around now to taste the different beers that are proliferating.  Or maybe that would be a little too fancy for him.  I ended up trying to paint the sense of place that Steinbeck is such a master of creating.  Hidden among the colors are his “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,” or viewed another way, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men.” Being homeless by choice.  Waking up and thinking about a plan for the day.  Maybe food, maybe beer.  I’ve had those days and weeks and even months, but not years.  Today’s homelessness is  much more of a struggle and much less adopted by hometowns, even if the outer picture is beautiful.  Steinbeck has Monterey, I have the Rockies.  Sense of place is amazing in most of Steinbeck’s works, but this one is the gem.                       February 2014

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