Love to Oakland

I want to take a second to throw some love to everyone in Oakland. If you haven’t heard about The Ghost Ship, and what happened on Saturday night/Sunday morning–there was a massive fire at a place called The Ghost Ship.

An artist commune, the building was an old warehouse used by artists to work and celebrate art. I’ve read a number of articles over the past few days–most concentrate on all the building violations. This morning I read a piece for the Village Voice that way by far my favorite. (Click on Village Voice to read the article.)

Before I go into the thick of it–here is a photo of the interior of The Ghost Ship:

CCT-GHOSTSHIP-1204

I’m post the image because I want people to really look at what it was–an not sit around making assumptions about what it *must* have been.

I consider myself an artists. As you know, I write. I’ve had poems published, I’m working really hard to have a novel put into publication–but I also paint, am an avid fan of photography, and I still write music from time to time. These parts of me–parts of my artists–I don’t broadcast. My life has limited spare time–most of which I pour into words.

That said, I’ve been to many places like The Ghost Ship. I’ve sat on their floors, hung out with their artist, conspired and contributed. There is nothing more subjective than art–which makes it a difficult path to walk. One day everyone may love you, and the next they want nothing to do with you. I’ve spent a better part of this year being rejected over and over–so much so I now flinch when my email rings. This is a fact.

Will I stop? No. Because this is who I am. Please stop asking artists to quit because it’s hard. They know it’s hard. We know it’s hard–but it’s who we are. It’s important.

Once we stop grieving, because we need time to do that–people lost their lives. This is a tragedy. But we need to make changes. Just like The Village Voice states–the only way to prevent another instance like The Ghost Ship in Oakland is to support local art.

This new administration will not be friendly to the arts. Like I said, art is a very subjective world–I have a hard time believing a group of people who are actively trying to remove things like Social Security under the guise of *Saving Money* (we–the public–pay for that by the way–the government doesn’t. So whose money are they trying to save…?) I very much doubt they will reach out to the art community to give them the money the need in order to be artists.

Art isn’t free. It takes time, money, effort–talent. It’s a hard road. So when you meet an artist–don’t ask them to give you their work for free. Don’t say things like, “My kid could do that,” or “I could have done that.” Because you didn’t–they did it–and most likely, you couldn’t in the first place. Pay them for their work. Encourage your community to help and support art.

I’m sending much love and respect to every single last one of you in Oakland.

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