Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Marietta Chalkfest 2015 - part 2, and more ...

This is a continuation of my post on the Marietta Chalkfest, see part one here.  There was a great variety of chalk art, such as Bill McCaffrey's chalk drawing.  Bill was a battalion artist in Vietnam, but now does temporary street paintings.  The theme this year was "Pariotic" but previously he had also drawn himself as a Santa.

I remember Cynthia Kostylo of Carlsbad, California, because at the 2013 Chalkfest she drew a stunning portrait of Ray Charles.  Below are the picture I took then, plus her drawing for this year - a Norman Rockwell painting.  In addition there are two other beautiful women's faces, in the center and bottom right, courtesy C. Kostylo.  (Click collage to enlarge.)

Walking along the street, other artworks, created by Mariettans, were shown on the walls.  A small boy was doing his chalk sign on a pick-up truck.

I did not get all the artists' names but below, on bottom right, is Beth Shistle's group of children singing.  Beth had drawn the owl in 2014, shown in part one of this post.

I wished I had a ladder because the drawings look so much better from up high.  Below are the drawings of Lee Mobley, second on the right, Willie Zin, middle on the left, I am not sure who drew the beautiful aircraft with the ice blue background.  Eduin Rosell drew the aircraft with green background and Hector Diaz is shown, bottom on the right.

Paulette Frontanes drew a memorial picture, on the right below.  Cathy Gallatin-Brown says that she loves the beauty of temporal performing art and for the chalkfest this year she drew a portrait of Marine Lance Corporal Skip Wells as a tribute.   Skip Wells, 21 years old of Marietta, GA, was one of five service members killed by a lone shooter on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  On the bottom right is a picture of artist Cathy Gallatin-Brown with Cathy Wells, Skip's mother.  Skip was an only child.

There can be many drawings made from a patriotic theme such as historic figures, flags, monuments, aircraft and militaristic subjects.  But firearms can be included, I guess, as shown in the drawing by David Lepore below.  David, from West Palm Beach, Florida, has a flooring business but also takes part in street paintings - he prefers to draw heroes and villains.

I just found out that Nate Baranowski (shown in part one of this post) was awarded the People's Choice Award in the Marietta Chalkfest of 2015.  Jill, his wife, assisted him for the chalk painting "Migrant Mother" - see them below.

This had been another great festival with talented street chalk painters.

Since part two was short, I'll talk about something completely different.  A while back a couple of overseas bloggers sent emails to me wondering why there is so much violence in this country right now (about 3 times more than any other western country.)  They also thought that abortions were totally illegal in the USA.  My blog is not a political or religious blog and I don't often talk on these subjects but since they asked me I'll try to answer them with what I learned and observed since coming into the US in the 1960s.  From my various readings it seems that violence has deep roots in this country from way back, not just in our time.  Trying to learn about the holiday of Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of November, I realized that most of it is myth and propaganda.  On a site I read "The first day of thanksgiving took place in 1637 amidst the war against the Pequot (branch of the Mohawk people.)  700 men, women, and children of the Pequot tribe were gathered for their annual green corn dance on what is now Groton, Connecticut.  Dutch and English mercenaries surrounded the camp and proceeded to shoot, stab, butcher and burn alive all 700 people.  The next day the Massachusetts Bay Colony held a feast in celebration and the governor declared "a day of Thanksgiving."  Now the American Indians celebrate the day as a National Day of Mourning - read about it here.

In several women diaries, from the mid 1840s, who rode on the overland trail in wagons from the east of the USA to Oregon and California, they described how the American settlers were so scared of the American Indians that they would shoot them on sight.  After a while of course the Indians fought back, but the American western movies depict also a myth as more Indians were killed by American settlers than settlers were killed by Indians.  As the wagons drove on the Indian lands, they also shot the buffaloes, used the grass for their animals leaving the area arid, and also took the Indian land they liked.  These were painful books to read. Below is the Oregon Train painted by William Henry Jackson, American 1843-1942.

But the American colonists and missionaries did more to destroy native cultures than gun did.  In California the American Indians were forced to go into Catholic missions, where they were held prisoner - in fact the Christian missions were coercive religious, force labor camps.  As many as 100,000 Indians perished there from disease, malnutrition, enslavement and murder.  A growing number of scholars have come to view this as mass genocide of California Indians. 

Not to forget the Trail of Tears - President Andrew Jackson's murderous removal of the Indians to Oklahoma where thousands died along the route.  Later there were killing of pro-slavery people against those who wanted to free the slaves.  There is a list of violence in the US, from the 1800s till now and it is a long list.  If you are interested look here.The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was founded in 1866 and by 1870 they were in every Southern US state - they are still active today.  At its peak in 1920, the Klan had 4 million members.  They advocate white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration and are considered a right-wing extremist and Protestant Christian terrorist organization.

As you can see violence has been pervasive in American culture since its colonial past.  They love their guns and if you have a firearm you tend to use it.  Many people here don't like civilized discussions about politics and religion - it is mostly "hate" of the "other."  They do not like to engage in talking about these subjects at all.  There is also the problem with fear - I remember several years ago, a couple of Korean tourists were lost, no far from here.  They knocked at a door to ask directions and the owner of the house came with his gun and shot them as he was afraid of them.   That does not apply to every person here, but still to a large number as you can see from any statistic - gun death is as common as car crashes and there are more guns here than people (357,000,000.)  Domestic violence kills an average of three women each day by their husband, partner, etc.  Children are also victims.  From 1979 to 2013, 119,079 children and teens have been killed by gun violence.  That is more child and youth deaths in America than American battle deaths in World War I (53,402) or in Vietnam (47,434) or in the Korean War (33,739) or in the Iraq War (3,517.)  It looks like guns are the solution to every problem.  But people here do not like to talk about this national penchant for violence.  It is fine to watch violent movies on TV or in theatres, or in video games, or to watch someone being shot in the news, but if a singer has a dress malfunction at a Super Bowl game and her breast is exposed - people are outraged.  Below Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson before wardrobe malfuntion at Super Bowl 2011 - courtesy USA Today.

Abortion in the USA has been legal since 1973.  However a group of white extreme Christian fundamentalists (usually far-right Republicans) would like to change the law and ban all abortions; although a 2012 survey found that 77% of Jewish Republican voters think that abortions should be legal and the percentage of Americans who are "pro-choice" is the highest in the last 7 years.  The radical Christian fundamentalists are a small minority - but very vocal, and they vote en masse.  The media keeps reporting on them and not on the majority of mainstream Christians (as they are afraid of Christian backlash.)  According to a recent Pew data, a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.  Since 1977 some extreme member of "pro-life" movements have began attacking clinics and personnel.  Doctor and staff have been killed with an additional 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arson attacks and other illegal acts against abortion clinics.  They also try to de-fund Planned Parenthood even though only 3% (out of the nearly 10.6 million total services they provide) has to do with abortion and is not paid by the government.  Many citizens are against this gun violence but not much is done - the members of the US Congress are voted in but it looks like they are appointed - voters could chose other congressmen if they so wished.  Below is the US Congress, courtesy Wikipedia.

Most mainstream Christians are against this violence, but they rest silent.  I remember a co-worker told me that his son worked for a major TV news network (Fox News.) They had been told, at the time, that all newsmen/women in the business should never use the term "Christian terrorist" as it would hurt the networks' ratings.  This was during the Balkan wars.  In the summer of 1995, from July 11 through 13, 1995, the Christian Orthodox Serbs killed 8,373 Bosnian Muslims.  During this war there were over 38,200 civilian Muslim casualties.  But the Serbs were always referred to (at least in the USA) as "ethnic" Serbs, never Christian Orthodox.  The same happened after the Colorado shooting at a Planned Parenthood office, on 27 November 2015, where a Christian extremist killed 3.  Major TV networks made a pact not to call the murderer a Christian extremist (even though his ex-wife said he was a fervent evangelical Christian and admired the Christian terrorist anti-abortion organization "Army of God") but a "deranged" "lone wolf" person.  The media also said the American public only believes religious extremists are from other countries - usually Muslim (there has been a record number of anti-Muslim hate attacks this year.)  Below is the killing field in Srebrenica - courtesy France 24.

The FBI has reported that most of the terrorists' incidents in the last ten years have been perpetrated by white right-wing extremists, extremist Christians and "pro-life" members.  The Justice Dept reported that since 9/11 there has been an average of 377 attacks per year from these groups.  Sister Joan Chittister, a Catholic nun, has exposed the hypocrisy of the Republican White Christian extremists - she said "I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that makes you pro-life.  In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed.  And why would I think that you don't?  Because you don't want any tax money to go there.  That's not pro-life.  That's pro-birth ...."  When I was in Nice, France, several years ago, I saw a "pro-life" rally.  I was surprised because everyone was wearing the same pink tee-shirt - it just did not look like a regular French protest.  When digging a bit I found out that it had been organized and paid for, in France, by wealthy US abortion protesters.  Why is the public here not stopping these Christian fundamentalist extremists and all the gun violence?  I think they are cowed and apathetic - hoping if will go away.  They stay silent, just giving their "thoughts and prayers" afterwards to the victims' families.  I don't think it will improve in the near future.

Some of my readers might be upset by these observations, but they are intended to my overseas readers who do not understand the political, the violence and the religious climate here.  I researched it all and am not making it up.  The USA is a great country, but as in other countries, it has its problems.  We cannot always look at it through rose colored glasses and refuse to talk about it.

It is more peaceful to look at nature.  Several mornings ago, I saw this little yellow flower (a small sunflower?) growing from our roof gutter.  I guess it could grow because my husband (unstable on his feet since his Alzheimer disease) has not been able to climb on the roof.

Then two days ago, just about 10 feet from the driveway, we saw this superb hawk.  I did not have my camera and went back into the house to get it.  The bird had not moved and I was able to take several pictures.

Addendum:  After reading some comment I would like to re-emphasize that I was not criticizing the USA - I was answering some friends who asked me why there was so much violence now, social and religious.  I researched it and found out that violence has been in the culture for a long time.  I am not commenting on what is good, bad, or in between in the USA - that was not my subject - the history of social and religious violence was.  Last year, there were 16,000 criminal homicides in the US.  This is three times the number of lives lost in the entire Iraq war; 300 each week, more than 40 every day.  Facts are facts. Below is a graph showing violence in the US against other rich countries.


Elephant's Child said...

Such a mixed post.
I am full of admiration for the skill and effort put into creating the ephemeral beauty of the chalk art.
Sadly our record in Australia towards the indigenous population isn't good either. We have (for which I am thankful) far less fondness for guns - but still two women die at the hands of their partner/ex partner each week.
As you say, we all have our faults, and ignoring them does not make them go away.
Thank you for yet another scrupulously researched, thought provoking post.

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful post! MLK's quote is fantastic, he was so right. Love the street art, lots of great talent there. Have a good Christmas, hugs, Valerie

rhymeswithplague said...

I love the chalkfest photos at the beginning and the nature photos at the end, but the part in-between not so much. If our country is such a horrible place why do so many people want to come here? I mean besides the ones who want to behead us or blow us to bits with bombs, of course. Would you prefer living in, say, Syria or Iraq? Your information may be factual, but it is also definitely extremely one-sided. For example, how many KKK rallies do you see on an average weekday in Marietta?

Here is a "fact" that is just wrong: Skip Wells's mother's name is Cathy, not Nancy. She was Cathy Trapanese when she played in Sprayberry High School's "Band of Gold" with my own children back in the 1980s.

Mae Travels said...

Your historical overview of American violence at the root of national culture is very interesting and I'm impressed by all your research on the topic. I'm sure most Americans don't know as much history as you do!

best... mae

DJan said...

The chalk art is beautiful. Those first planes look like they are coming out of the ground behind them. And what you say about violence in this country is all true. I know that the only place I can find peace and beauty is away from the TV and out in nature. Sending you blessings of the season, VB, and hope you have a wonderful holiday.

donna baker said...

Man's inhumanity to man is global I think. "Every single one of us has the devil inside," the song says. My husband and children are Choctaw/Chickasaw and the indian's were treated horribly. In Oklahoma, indian children were sent to indian schools and were punished for anything related to their culture. Brainwashed. General Sheraton was quoted, "the only good indian is a dead indian." But, this goes on around the world, and usually in the name of religion. You did a good job of researching this. We own many guns, hunting and handguns, but don't carry them. There is a lot of gun violence in the US and I for one, don't want to be the one without one if criminals or people that break in and steal for a living come into my home. It happens daily where I live. Hopefully, the Christian right wingers who want to make everyone believe and live like them will practice what they preach and concentrate on themselves.

Magic Love Crow said...

Your posts are amazing my friend! Those chalk artists are breath taking! Wow! Thank you for all the history you share! So much information! Amazing hawk pictures! We have one here too and the ravens keep going after it, to keep it away.

Magic Love Crow said...

Sending out hugs to your hubby! I am sorry about him having Alzheimer's!

David said...

Vagabonde, The chalk art is indeed amazing! As for the history lesson, that massacre is fact but there is no consensus that it led to the first Thanksgiving which was a few years earlier and did include Native Peoples as guests.

Unfortunately, history around the world is full of conquest and slaughter and our poor treatment of the American Indians falls into that category. It's no excuse but none of the major world powers are exempt from violence when it comes to reviewing their historical conquests...including Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Scandinavian countries.

As for gun violence in the USA...there is way too much of it, no doubt. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Fear of gang and drug violence plus current panic over terrorist activities just make it worse. I am in favor of background checks for all gun buyers, (including purveyors of domestic violence), and we must do something about mental health treatment and care.

I agree with you... Terrorism is terrorism, no matter what group, country or religious affiliation is tied to it! The press reports what gets them ratings, the "popular news". We hear about sex changes, what someone wore to a premier, a celebrity marriage breakup, etc., instead of what's really happening in the USA or in the world. It drives me crazy...

You could have triggered an avalanche of comments (and attacks) if the title of this post wasn't the Marietta Chalkfest...

Vagabonde said...

Rhymeswithplague - Thank you for your comment. First, I appreciate your correcting me on Ms. Wells’ first name. I changed it on the post. Second I never said that the US was a horrible place – I was talking about violence. I don’t think it is one sided to report that 16,000 people were killed in criminal homicides last year - it is just a sad fact.
As for so many people wanting to come here - I looked at maps showing how immigrants to the US have changed, in the 1960s immigrants were mostly from Europe and Canada – Germany, the UK, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, etc. In the map for 2013 the number of immigrants from Europe is so small that it is not shown on the map but instead people from south-east Asia, and Latin America – that is a dramatic change, and some are going back home. According to a Pew Research “More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession…Net Loss of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014.”

There is about 8 million US citizens living abroad and MoneyTalk reported: "It’s a growing trend. A record 3,415 individuals gave up their American citizenship or terminated their long-term U.S. residency in 2014, according to the International Tax Blog. That’s 15 times more than in 2008. So far this year, 3,221 Americans have renounced their U.S. citizenship. The United States has the highest fees in the world to renounce citizenship, according to Forbes, and that fee was raised by 422 percent in 2014. Bidding farewell to Uncle Sam now costs a whopping $2,350, up from $450. Forbes said the fee is 20 times the average renunciation fee in other high-income countries.” It is a slow process and there is a long back-log, like for the dual Canadian-US citizens who are renouncing their US citizenship. Most US citizens leaving the country have money and are educated. Most immigrants coming into the country now are poor and not well educated – it is another sad fact.
I am happy that I don’t see KKK rallies in Marietta weekly, but I did see some on TV – lately in support of the Confederate Flag - and I see these flags in several houses around here.

Vicki Lane said...

An excellent, well-researched post, Vagabonde. As some of your other commenters have mentioned, many countries, especially those who ever had colonies, have violent pasts. But the US seems especially violent and intolerant these days. I'm sure there are many causes -- I hope there will be answers. I think that those of us who love our country shouldn't be blind to her past faults but should work to correct her current prpoblems.
Your hawk photos are wonderful. And blessings to you as a caregiver for you husband, Alzheimer's is such a cruel disease...

Nadezda said...

Vagabonde, I liked your photos of chalk fest, the second collage is pretty, especially the portrait if a girl with green eyes. The hawk is such tranquil and isn't afraid of people - beauty!
Have a nice week!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

A terrorist is a terrorist, no matter their religion or ethnicity. People are going out buying guns who never would have thought of doing so if it was not ramped up by the media and their constant news featuring politicians trying to get the spotlight through fear. It all makes me feel sick to my stomach thinking of where we are headed. Don't these people know that the gun they have has more chance of being used against them or their loved one. A loaded gun in your home is more likely to lead to heartbreak rather than saving your life. Gun and God seems to be what it is all about in this nation, or so the NRA preaches.

Jeanie said...

So much meat in this post and the last -- with all the fabulous chalkfest art. As you know, our Greg works in chalk and could hold his own with these folks. I love to see what others are doing.

Your post is well researched and really drives homes some very key points about today's society. It breaks my heart to see such things happening in our world and especially in our country. One feels rather helpless. And don't get me started on political candidates! If I could emigrate to Canada right now, I would seriously consider it.

The hawk, the flower in the gutter -- beautiful. To see the real beauty of nature amid all the sadness and grief in the world does make one take a breath and give thanks.

Thérèse said...

Très impressionnant! Et comme je suis contente pour le prix attribué à Nate Baranowski, j'aurais voté pour lui seulement en regardant les photos que tu as prises.
Pour ce qui est de tes vues sur la violence, le rapport des américains envers les armes, l'avortement, les indiens etc... je te comprends d'autant que nous avons eu et avons la même vision des choses que toi. Pas grand chose à rajouter sur un sujet bien épineux. Nos amis américains nous aiment pour notre franc parler... Le fait de vivre à cheval sur deux ou plusieurs cultures étend notre compréhension même si avec l'âge beaucoup de choses commencent à nous échapper.
La France a son lot de problèmes qui va grandissant, c'est un autre sujet bien vaste et la liberté d'expression se rétrécie, nous n'avons malheureusement pas ici "the first amendment"!

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

I can barely write on a straight line with chalk, so I'm amazed at what those artists can do! The second part of your post was very interesting because you stated facts without juging, letting us form our opinions.

Kittie Howard said...

Amazing post, Vagabond. At first glance, it looked like the airplane was real an not chalk. Really enjoyed your photos. About your researched violence in the U. S.: I hear you. A terrorist is a terrorist. Period.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Nadezda said...

A merry Christmas, dear Vagabonde!
I wish you and your family good health, much joy and happiness!

Carola Bartz said...

Vagabonde, this is an excellent post! You did a lot of thorough research and are stating the sad facts. I do experience the US as a country of contrasts and extremes, and the violence makes me crinch as does the often high level of intolerance. On the other hand I have met some of the most wonderful people here. As in every country, there is good and bad. But as you said - a terrorist is a terrorist, no matter what. Period. I honestly cannot see how anyone can see any kind of criticism of the USA in this post.

The chalk paintings are fascinating. I love the "Migrant Mother" - I have long admired the original photograph by Dorothea Lange.

Kay said...

Wow! That chalkfest is absolutely breathtaking. I wish I could see it in person, but since I can't, I thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Sadly, there is a lot of American history that people either can't/won't accept or don't know about. My son gave me a book called Lies My Teacher Told Me. There was a lot that did surprise me. My mother once told me that history is written by victors. There's a lot of truth in that. I am hopeful though that many more Americans are also trying to get to the truth and right wrongs of the past.

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