I never told you how this story played out and so now is as good a time as any. A few weeks back, I had posted on how some unknown visitor(s?) had been altering my outdoor studio at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. For a least two years previously, I had been storing my river found art materials at this site. People who stumbled upon this spot often mark their presence by changing how I left it in some way. Folks might rifle through the junk or take or destroy the Styrofoam figures I might leave behind. I don’t mind this…in fact, I encourage the interaction. On site, it’s easy to make the connection that all these poor materials I use came from the river. I still think of my outdoor studio as a shared laboratory for this exercise in creativity. It’s an acknowledgement that all this junk is out there and that something else positive might come from it. For several weekends, my latest visitor has been building a wooden driftwood structure over my spot to the point where it usurps my ability to continue working there. So, I made a few changes that I thought would benefit both of us. I modified the structure so that I could stand within my site. I also opened up the space more which I thought also encouraged additions. I was curious to see how my visitor would react and here are the pictures.
It appears that my “improvements” weren’t appreciated because I arrived one day to find it all laying on the ground. All the nylon line and strong knots that were holding things together were cut with a knife. Stuff was scattered and the big polystyrene figure I had left there was destroyed again. Here’s how I discovered my Styrofoam man.
He had been sitting in a fork of a nearby tree. I think my visitor picked him up and threw him across the site…again! At this point, I’m feeling pretty bummed out. I left this figure as I found it. My visitor also left me some additional trash behind as is his custom and I gathered it together again to create this “portrait”.
I thought the “Big Red” with the “Big Blue” was an interesting touch. In our area, those are the home colors of rival universities. Another giant Styrofoam cup joined the group and I have my suspicions that the cigar packaging is from the same individual as well? I think this is what saddens me the most that all this convenient store trash would be walked to this site and simply thrown on the ground. As much trash that appears here from upriver, I’m shocked by how much park garbage originates from the nearby towns. And yes, there are trash cans available everywhere. I sat by my site for a while and pondered the situation. I wondered why with all the space and driftwood available in the park that this spot became so important to my visitor? Feeling like this individual more than likely doesn’t play well with others…I decided to walk away from this site for a few weeks or months before returning. So far, I haven’t been back to my old spot under the willows.
The day felt shot, but I didn’t want to leave things that way and so I went for an extra long walk. After all, I have the rest of the park to potentially explore.! Along the way, I spotted these two guys attempting to fish by the wall of the dam. They didn’t appear to be having any luck and so I left them with these fishy images by the side of a trail they would pass by.
I used river smoothed coal I gathered on site and improvised these three fish on the sand. Peppering the silica granules black is coal dust. The white dots are pulverized mussel shells.
Thus far, it has been an atypical and sometimes unsettling summer at the Falls of the Ohio. All the early season rains and subsequent high water have disrupted the usually hot, humid, and lazy routine found here during this time of year. In an odd way, it doesn’t feel like summer has truly arrived for us yet. We have a few more months for this to happen before the leaves start turning colors. To close, here is one more coal-fish image in a slightly larger context. Have a great weekend!