Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shellless Release

Jirst Bluefin's biggest problem is being ignored. Kacela Middleton is the one person in the world who is never ignored. Jirst is about to discover that sometimes it's better to be ignored for no reason than it is to be ignored for nothing at all.

Get your copy of Shellless today!


Chapter Four:
Four, Five, Four, Five

Second day of share week. I’ve been thinking about that since I woke up. I look around the floor of my room. Maybe there is something here I can share. One sock, a plastic dinosaur and a pair of underwear.

I could share the one sock. Tell how horrible this sock feels to be missing the other sock. Where is that other sock? I could have worn them again. Oh well, I’ll get a clean one.

I could share the underwear. Put them on the plastic dinosaur. Nope, they’re too big.

I could share my poem. How did it go again? It’s a dark park, don’t bark. Something like that. It’s stupid anyhow. Share week is stupid.

Back at my desk, I check my pencil. It’s still cracked but not broken. I’m glad it didn’t break overnight. I want to be there when it breaks. I was afraid that someone might have used it after I left school yesterday. Like the janitor might have wanted to write a letter to his Aunt Jenny. He would be right in the middle of sweeping Ms. Forget-my-names floor, see my pencil on my desk, grab some of my paper and start writing.

Dear Aunt Jenny,

How are you and Uncle Joe? Things here at Cracked Pencil Elementary School are going well. I’m just finishing sweeping ~~~~~~~ Snap!

He gently places the two halves of my pencil back on my desk, crumples Aunt Jenny’s letter into a ball and tosses it into the trash. Now my pencil is broken and Aunt Jenny gets no mail.

That’s OK. I’m not really a big fan of Aunt Jenny. Her perfume stings my nose and neither her or Uncle Joe wave to me when I walk around the park.

Ms. Forget-my-name is taking attendance. Brittany Aberdeen, James Beckman, Ali Donaldson. . . there, see that? She skipped me. I’m Jirst Bluefin the First. I should come right between James Beckman and Ali Donaldson. I’m even ignored alphabetically.

Next thing we are going to do is math. I cross my arms, stretch my legs and fall deep into my chair. If I’m going to have to listen to a bunch of numbers I might as well get comfortable.

I tap my left hand against my pants pocket. The coins in my pocket click together. I hope it’s all still in there. Sounds right. Four quarters, five dimes, four nickels and five pennies. I tap it again. Four, five, four, five. That will buy my lunch today.

Usually, I pack my own lunch. I make a really good peanut butter and banana sandwich. Except for the banana. Most days we don’t have any bananas in my house. I ask my mom to buy some and she says, “That’s nice dear.” But she never buys any. So I use peanut butter and pretend the rest.

Today is different because I’m buying lunch. I don’t get to buy school lunch very often because it takes me a long time to save enough money. Sometimes I find coins that fell back in the couch. It’s a good place to look. Another second good place to look is around the washer and dryer.

When I finally have enough coins, like I do today, four, five, four, five, I don’t pack myself a lunch. I pack my pocket. Four, five, four, five.

By now I have tapped my pocket one hundred and forty fives times. I tapped it every minute through all of math, every minute through science and every minute during the spelling test. Five more taps and we go to lunch. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. . . Come on, come on. The last minute always takes the longest. Tap.

“Line up for lunch, class,” says Ms. Forget-my-name.

We walk single file toward the lunchroom. I’m last. What are they serving? If I was first in line, I could already see. We enter the cafetorium. I breathe deep. Smells like old French fries and soggy table rags. I’m so hungry. I hope it’s pizza. Nope, pizza is Friday. Always Friday. I could have waited till Friday. Bought pizza. Nope, I couldn’t wait.

Other classes are already in the cafetorium. They are walking off the lunch line carrying trays. I think they have chicken nuggets. I love chicken nuggets. I think it is. Yes, it is. Best lunch ever!

It’s my turn. The lunch lady with the plastic bag on her head hands me a yellow, Styrofoam tray. It feels spongy. I love that feeling. Five compartments. Six chicken nuggets. A spot for the French fries. Corn pieces in the middle. A place to hold my carton of chocolate milk and a sugar cookie. No, wait. Two sugar cookies! I bet she only meant to give me one but I got two. This might be the best lunch ever.

Time to pay. I need money. I tap my pocket. Nothing. No sound. No click. Where’s my money? Oh, wait. Wrong pocket. Other pocket. Tap. Click. Sounds right. I shove my hand I into my pocket and grab the coins.

“Four, five, four, five,” I tell the lunch lady.

She takes my money. “$1.75. Next!”

“Hi, Jirst.”

It’s Kacelia. She’s behind me. She’s buying lunch too. Chicken nuggets. She said hi to me. Nobody says hi to me. What should I do? I guess say hi back.


“What are you doing?” Tanisha asks Kacelia.

“Saying hi to Jirst,” says Kacelia.

“Who?” asks Tanisha.

“Jirst.” She jingles her fingers at me. “Hi, Jirst,” she says again.

I want to jingle my fingers too but I’m holding my tray. Chicken nuggets. I don’t want to drop my tray. I won’t jingle. Just speak.


“Why are you saying hi to him?” asks Tanisha.

“Why not?”

Tanisha rolls her eyes. Kacelia jingles her fingers at me again and walks to her seat. I jingle back only this time I’m not thinking about my tray. The milk carton is too heavy. The yellow tray snaps in half. Six chicken nuggets, corn pieces and two sugar cookies hit the floor. I save the milk. The rest is gone. Look at the floor. That’s my lunch. Four, five, four, five. Gone.

Get your copy of Shellless today!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Daily Critter

For the student/teacher show opening this week at the Halle Art Center in Apex, NC, I'm creating a Critter Distribution Box. It's like a newspaper box only it distributed Critters. 25 cents weekdays, $1.00 Sundays.

Here are some photos of it in the works...


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Failed Interactive Project

The idea worked inside my head. I'd make some art that interacted with real animals. I had several ideas but thought I would start out with an "easy" one. One with a domestic, "controllable" animal.

I decided on a cardboard wildebeest being attacked by a cat. Sort of make it look like a scene from the African plains. Only thing, the cat wouldn't participate at all despite the fresh tuna placed on the wooden perch.

You win this time cat... I have other ideas that will include hungrier animals...

For interactive projects that actually did work, visit the Zonkey Street website!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Diverge & Return. Halle Cultural Arts Center
April 26-May 29, 2010:
Apex, NC

The Balloon Garden Project

The Balloon Garden is an interactive project I'm working on for the upcoming Apex Reunion Exhibit at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex, NC.

The garden will be made up of about twenty helium filled balloons. Inside each balloon will be a dollar bill.

Beside the garden will be a pair of scissors, tacks and a sign that reads:

The Balloon Garden
Each balloon contains a dollar. You may:
Pop a balloon and take a dollar
Cut the string and set a balloon free
Or walk away.

For more interactive, collaborative and public art projects, visit Zonkey Street!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Signables at Jordan Hall Arts Center Gallery

Exhibition opens Thu Apr 1; closes Fri Apr 30

Artist’s Reception: Fri Apr 30 6-8 p.m.

interactive art

Signables: The artist spends all that time creating a piece of art. The work is finally ready to exhibit. It's positioned properly on the walls of the gallery. Next to it hangs several markers...

My Signables have taken many forms and there are still many variations of this concept I'd like to explore. The concept is easy. Create art and then let people write on it. The writing then becomes part of the art.

At Jordan Hall Arts Center, I created pieces that resembled coloring book pages. Again, I hung markers. It will be interesting to see the results at the reception after a month of writing.

for more public, collaborative and interactive art ideas, see the Zonkey Street website!

interactive art


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Love for Haiti Art Auction

Come Out for a Spectacular Night of Art, Music, Dessert
and an Outpouring of Love for the People of Haiti.

The Love for Haiti Art Auction will be held
Saturday, April 24
Doors open at 7:00
Auction starts at 8:30.

at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in downtown Apex.

Auctioneer: J.C. Knowles
Judge: M. Blair Ligon
Live Musical Performances!

and a chance to get your very own Zonkey!!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Nominate Me for the SECCA People's Biennial?

If you know of people in North Carolina (like me!) who are making great "art" outside the gallery and museum world, please email SECCA at: and send along photos of the work you're recommending.

click here for more info-->

you can steal some photos right off the Zonkey Street Website at-->

If any work you have recommended is selected you will be credited for your contribution (See, it's not just about me... you get credited! good for you!).

The people chosen for the exhibition will receive a national showcase for their creative talents, and two free copies of the catalogue that is being produced for the show.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Billboard Project

street art billboard
Encouraging artists everywhere to make public, collaborative and interactive art!

Late last Summer while driving to the beach I started noticing the billboards on the side of i-40. I said to myself, "Self, wouldn't it be cool to paint one of those billboards."
Just for fun, I called a billboard company and asked, "How much?"

$1,400.00 ... For only 1 month... OK, so there went that idea.

Then, last autumn, a grant offer from United Artists came in the mail. I left it on my desk at work. I probably would have thrown it out but Ms. Koefler said, "You could use that for your billboard."

So I applied and you know how much they gave me? Guess... ;)

So all excited like, I contacted the billboard company. But you know what? They weren't too responsive. I received a few emails back telling me how I could run a stinky little poster over on Capitol Blvd. They said they would send me a contract but they never even asked for my address. I guess I was too small a fish.

So I did what everyone should do.. I took another trip to the beach. This time I paid attention to the billboard company names... One stood out above all the others...

Admiral Outdoor Advertising!!!

I contacted Regina Simpson, at Admiral Outdoor Advertising, the best billboard company ever. She quoted me the same price as the stinky, never to be named company.. Only Regina Simpson, at Admiral Outdoor Advertising, the best billboard company ever, said she would run my billboard for... A year!

So if you are driving down i-40 to the beach this summer and you are going through Duplin County, near mile marker 373 ....

Meanwhile: Check out the website: encouraging artists everywhere to make public, collaborative and interactive art!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Zonkey Street Website Goes Live!

The Purpose of Zonkey Street

The purpose of Zonkey Street is to encourage artists everywhere to make Zonkey Art.

What is Zonkey Art?

Zonkey Art is any art that is public, collaborative and interactive.

Public: Art can be for everybody, not limited to a few people who enter the doors of a gallery. Zonkey art is accessible to anyone.

Collaborative: An artist doesn't have to work alone. Art can be created in pairs, or by small teams or even in large groups.

Interactive: Art doesn't have to be static. Anyone who comes in contact with Zonkey art should be able to add, subtract, move, share, comment, give, take, build, destroy, help, arrange or interact in some way.

Art for Everyone
By Anyone

How Can I Get Involved?

First, visit and take a look at the projects listed on the right side of the page. You might want to get together a group of friends and make your own version of one of these projects. Or you might use the projects as an inspirational springboard and create your own Zonkey Art.

Next, follow us on Facebook: The Art of Zonkey Street. Post photos, videos and new clips of your projects.