Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympics: week one


Never seen anything like this. Mobs that cover half the downtown core with families, sports fans, party people in flag capes and all manner of street performer the city can muster.

The vibrant energy saturates the streets. Ziplines over robson square squeal every few minutes drawing cheers from the mob, cops in bright yellow vests punctuate the view as they scan for trouble makers.

Opening night protest featured tons of native dance and a hockey game complete with goals and a scoreboard in the middle of the crowd. The next morning a few dozen anarchists made asses of themselves breaking windows before being pummeled to the pavement by pissed off cops as the crowd shouted shame, since then spirits of protest quieted down around the heavily patrolled party areas

elsewhere the voices of dissent are more audible. On Hastings a small tent city has congealed in an empty lot, colorful banners and tribal drums resonating distress signals of our cities forgotten peoples, swept under the rug by the multinational corporate pavilions that have occupied every other open space downtown with gleaming white tents glimmering with projected images drawing the people in with promise of shiny things

The skytrain system is running at max capacity attempting to hasten the bottlenecked crowds that regularly flood the system. The people are herded with sheep gates and bullhorns through corridors lined with homogenous advertisements telling them what to buy next as they clutch their flags and overpriced souveneirs.

It's an ideal city for a young artist, as the downtown population temporarily doubles and pours into the streets a myriad of potential drawing subjects mills about just waiting to be drawn. There's just not enough hours in the day and not enough energy in my body to keep up with it.

Tonight I remained in to work on a fresh painting after spending the afternoon listening to homeless rant their life tales at me as I sketched their tent city. Made some cash over the past week doing portraits for a few coins each, usually a 5er from a dad for drawing two or three of his kids. I'm surprised I haven't seen any other sketchers, I would have guessed that the local artists would have hopped on this opportunity but perhaps they're too crowd-weary to deal with the masses. Not that I blame them, I can only take an hour or so of the mob before retreating to some peace.

This has been fantastic practice though, I'm starting to get the hang of eye flipping and using memory skills to continue a face after the subject has moved. Need to start adding in more torso next, too many floating heads in these sketches, but I've needed practice on faces for awhile.

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