“Bird, As a Weapon”

Medium: Acrylic on Canvas
Size: 24″ x 12″
Year: 2019

I grew up near here. Technically in this city, though a bit removed from this scene. It’s a very industrial coastline, and one I’ve mostly avoided throughout my adult life until this day. Folks come here from the hectic city to unwind on the beach, or deal drugs, or eat at hip restaurants, or mumble incoherent profanities at anyone within earshot. It’s decidedly urban, and at times urbane, at other times profane. It takes all kinds. Welcome to the beach.

I’d found this perch overlooking this beach bike/pedestrian path. Occasional walkers, joggers and bikers formed an infrequent stream of traffic on otherwise quiet day. But the real action came from the Birds. Not the ones in the air, the ones on this path, being ridden by folks of all feathers and stripes zipping from here to there. Those things are everywhere nowadays.

Right behind me, separated by a wall of plexiglass, were the well-to-do afficionados of a beach front craft brewery. I like beer. Standing in the humid sun, sweat beading down my face, lost in the minutae of industry in this painting. That thin plexiglass may as well have been a mile wide barrier of concrete and steel. I wish it had been. I tried not to look back at it, and all those cold beers being swished around.

At one point there was a commotion on the nearby pier just out of frame and to the left. Cop cars came driving down the bike path. Dozens of them gathered from all directions. I still don’t know what happened out there. Later that day I saw a news report that a woman was killed in this city, beaten by a scooter.  We… people that is… we can be monsters.

I don’t have any moral to this story. It’s just how the day unfolded as I went to revisit and paint this stretch of coast that I mostly only remember from childhood.

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