The San Jose Series

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This series of drawings was inspired by the rich history found here, in Alta California’s first civil settlement, and the color with which it radiates with all its unique experiences.  San Jose gets a bad rapt for being beige or “Tan Jose”.  I don’t think that’s fair when all I see is texture and variety.

San Jose’s architecture creates a brilliant timeline.  The stages of San Jose’s infancy can be found in its Missions, Queen Anne’s and historic Downtown.  San Jose’s adolescence can be experienced in its Victorians, its art deco hotel, its theaters and its grand cinema houses.  Today, San Jose’s innovation and tech inspiration can be seen through the modern era of architecture.  With its high rises, San Jose’s all grown up.

I love bright colors.  It’s really the only thing I could think to add that would improve these spaces.  I think beige high rises can be really stunning.  This color really represents the experiences we cast on to the space.  I thought that was a really conceptual thought and would miss people.  To my surprise, it’s clear to the audience and provokes them to find their own experiences here.  Through this color, I can create allure for a place or building you might have ignored before in San Jose’s skyline.

I choose two perspectives – the most recognizable view and the one I have as a short person looking up.  This is how we see buildings up close, if you ever look up from your phone.

I used to daydream when I had a normal job in construction and real estate.  I couldn’t understand what sold the architect’s design from the gray watercolors I was seeing in blueprint packages.  I really struggled with why this and not that.  But if I could follow the lines and see it in the skyline under a setting sun, I could really anticipate a Community’s either outrage or acceptance of project.  Without seeing this, there’s no way to know how residence nearby experience a structure once its built.

Furthermore, I was having a space out moment before and through a Public Art Meeting at City Hall.  I was taking sunset pictures over the Rotunda and Tower.  City Hall is a place that really inspires me, because it’s where I can focus my agenda and achieve real results.  In the meeting, I could see my old desk – counting the windows up and across.  I thought for a moment about if I could do then what I wanted to with these elevation drawings, what would that look like?  Plus, I hate all my photos usually, but I had the most brilliant ones that day.  I could believe I found that moment in time.  Then, someone I highly respect asked me if I ever drew for myself.  I hadn’t been.  But lightning struck me as I used chicken wire over a homemade light box.

Since then, I’ve upgraded the lightboard – it’s bigger than my TV.  It’s also prettier without the chicken wire on a flat surface.  It’s an expression of what I’d like to see San Jose actually do, connect its color to its experiences.  We can display our culture, our heritage and our present through public art, especially mural art.  If one feels San Jose this way, with an injection of life throughout the connective tissue of our transportation corridors and struggling walking districts, we can create real change and get rid of that awful knickname.

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