PRHBTN 2019: More Murals to Decorate Lexington

Once again, John and Jessica Winters and their PRHBTN organization has brought some amazing art into Lexington.  October and the first part of November saw four more unique artists into the city to colorize more walls in the city.

This year we got visits from Venezuelan artist Koz Dos,  New Yorker Elle, SNUB23 from Great Britain and Alexandrea Pangburn from the Denver area.  Each of them brought their own unique styles to add to the beauty of the city.

Detail of Koz Dos mural
KOZ DOS

The first one to get started was Koz Dos.  Born in 1986 in Caracas, Venezuela, he is a graffiti artist who made his first steps in the Caracas hood. Since then, he has become famous for his photorealistic and colorful portraits of people and frames, art, using geometric patterns.

 

Koz Dos was hard at it in his first couple of days, painting 5 stories up.

The Koz Dos mural was painted on the side of the large LexPark garage in downtown Lexington off of Short Street.  Originally, it was the home of a large HOW & NOSM mural (see my post about the 2014 PRHBTN murals to see the HOW & NOSM mural) that had lots of weather damage.  These artists come into this knowing that there is always the possibility that their art may disappear due to weather, new ownership of buildings, etc.  Such was this case.  But, it opened the wall for the massive and colorful work that Koz Dos laid upon it.  He used the nearly sixty foot wall to create a unique and crafty piece of art with a number of colorful characters on it.  Following are a few shots from beginning to complete.  Note, this is a difficult piece to get a complete photo of without wires getting in the way.    You can see more about Koz Doz on his Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/koz.dos/

First Day of work for Koz Dos
Detail of a polar bear on top of the Koz Dos mural

I am a big fan of herons, cranes and flamingos.  In this instance, I am not exactly sure what kind of bird he used, but it looks like some sort of heron.  I love his use of the birds.

Fish and herons on the Koz Dos mural
Detail of Fish on Koz Dos mural
This is the best shot I could get of the finished mural, the day it was completed. It is beautiful.
Alexandrea Pangburn

While Koz Dos was hard at work, a couple of miles away Alexandrea Pangburn was getting started on her piece near 8th Street and Jefferson.  Based in Golden, CO, Alexandrea specializes in animal portraits using acrylic paint, ink, watercolors and gouache on a variety of surfaces – from canvas to wood and bricks.

First day view of Alexandrea Pangburn mural
Detail of Day 1 of Pangburn mural

When I visited her work on her first day, I saw what looked like a paint by number painting and really couldn’t see what was going to come from it. After seeing the completed piece, I can see everything.  I did get to meet her and she is extremely friendly and personable.  Unfortunately, I never got by to see her actually working on it.  Visit and follow Alexandrea Pangburn on her Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/alexandrea_pang/

Detail of the Pangburn mural. Such a cute fox
This is the finished mural from Alexandrea Pangburn
This fox visited our neighborhood just a few days before the Pangburn mural was painted.
Another shot of the local fox

Just a few days later she had finished.  You can see the completed mural above. I was so delighted to see this foxy photo.  Ironically, just a few days earlier I was fortunate enough to capture some shots of a fox who had visited our neighborhood after being displaced from its nearby den due to home/apartment construction.  So, this mural had special meaning to me and I absolutely love it!

Street Artist in ELLE takes a moment to chat
ELLE

Next to roll into Lexington is Brooklyn, New York artist ELLE.  (See her website at http://ellestreetart.com/).   Over the years I have met many street artists through PRHBTN and others.  Most of them are rough cut, though personable, souls.  They all have that gypsy-like nature about them.  But not ELLE.  For lack of a better way to describe her after meeting and talking with her is that she is an exotically beautiful bad-ass artist.  She actually looks more like she belongs on a TV commercial.   According to her Website BIO:

ELLE considers her paintings to be poetry. She creates stories by collaging disparate images: powerful females, flora and fauna, classical paintings juxtaposed with pop-culture and high fashion imagery, revealing purposefully designed messages to the world.

ELLE Working on her mural
Detail of ELLE mural

ELLE’s giant mural is located on the side of a building off of Church Street near Mill Street in downtown Lexington.  This work is just as exotic and colorful as she is.  I got there after she had already knocked out some of the first part of the work, which features three women’s faces collaged into each other.

An onlooker admires the work of ELLE as it sits in progress
Detail of ELLE painting

The element of surprise was the key to this beautiful mural.  And, this one was not without controversy as she added some “hidden” political commentary onto the mural, which, was painted over on the day after she completed it.  Though I do have a photo of the controversial content, I am choosing not to post it here.  But, I do want to note, that this is not unusual for graffiti artists.  In your face controversy follows them…  thus the name PRHBTN for Lexington’s now world famous art organization.  Following are more shots of her amazing work.

ELLE at Work
Detail of her nearly complete mural
This is a full-length shot of ELLE’s mural
Another view of ELLE’s mural
SNUB23

The final mural in Lexington was done by Brighton, UK artist SNUB23.  Like the others above, he has become a world-renown street artist and graphic artist for smaller projects.   His PRHBTN project is probably one of the more unique pieces and certainly very detailed on many levels. On his website BIO, the definition of his work style is as colorful as he is:

Coming into being in the 1990s, SNUB is the alter ego of a graphic designer, inspired by the fictional robot Hammerstein.

SNUB Logo
SNUB23 with his friend and helper

I got to speak to him a few times during his big project and he is as friendly as can be.  Many graffiti artists prefer to not be photographed, and I totally adhere to their requests.  Not so with SNUB, who was delighted to have his photo taken along with his female friend with her striking orange hair.

Though, as you can see on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/snub23/, much of his work looks more like it comes from the comic book world. However, the work he did in Lexington is quite complex and was absolutely time consuming.  I watched as he used various size templates to create a visual illusion of 3D blocks of different sizes.  Quite the amazing work.

SNUB23 working on his wall.
SNUB23 used templates to make each block
SNUB’s friend works on a section
SNUB23 works on each cube separately.
Finished Corner view
Side view. When looked at in light it appears in 3D due to his detailed shadowing
More SNUB23

You can visit SNUB23 at his website at https://www.snub23.com/

Have you checked out my books?

John Winters, the founder and fearless leader of PRHBTN shows off his Less Beaten Paths books.

I write about back roads travel and quirky, unique sites along the way.  I have published three books so far, and am working on Book 4 now, which will be all about murals, graffiti art and wall art from all over the U.S. and Canada.  I have photos of nearly 2500 different works.  And, yes, I will have a unique chapter just on PRHBTN in Lexington!!!  You can see PRHBTN founder John Winters on the left with HIS copies of my books.

ORDER YOUR BOOKS TODAY!

Happy Holidays from Sumofalm

As the 2019 Holidays are upon us, its a good time to think about that unique gift.  My books are great fun for travelers.  Every place in my books was personally visited by me and these are my unique stories of these places.  All photography is also mine.  You can grab your copies of any of my books at Amazon in print or Kindle versions at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0784XVGSW

My newest book is also available at the fun gift shops at Carhenge in Nebraska, Paradise Point Marketplace in Scottsville, Kentucky, Bowlin’s The Thing in Arizona and the famed Uranus Fudge Factory on Route 66 in Missouri.

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P is for People – #atozchallenge

I am enriched by people. They inspire me, they teach me, they bring me joy.

I have often been told that I have never met a stranger. And it’s true. I am unabashed around people. Whether it’s joking with a person in line at a grocery store or interacting with the person at a table next to me in a restaurant, I always feel comfortable.

Having a huge elephant ear with friend Robert Phinney in Dayton, WA
Got to meet Nelson Campbell, Director of the well know documentary Plant Pure Nation, in Louisville, KY

The same goes with my travels. I have been blessed to have met hundreds of unique individuals from all walks of life.

The diversity of people enriches us.

Unlike my other posts in this series, I am stretching far beyond the boundaries of back roads in America. This post will take the reader to Japan, the Philippines, Canada and beyond. As a tour guide in Flagstaff I got to interact with 100s of nameless tourists from all over the world. Working in Japan in the late 1980s, I met more unique folks from the far corners of the earth.

Met the Seattle Smile Guy along the way. Didn’t want money… just wanted smiles
Motorbike Quartet in Cebu, Philippines
Street Person – Cebu

First off, there are the “random people.” The people I have photographed on the streets while traveling. Here are a few, including some from the Philippines during my trips there in 2007. From the loneliness of street people, to the unique shots I would see from the car as I drive by in some small town, these people add color.

 

Siesta Time – Cebu
Belly Rubbing – Carbon Market – Cebu
Street Person – Toronto
Walking by the Art – Toronto
Relaxing – Weatherford, Texas
Standing – Antlers, Oklahoma
Old Man – Paducah, Kentucky
Sleeping on a Bench – Lexington, Kentucky
Street Person – Dallas, Texas
Meditation – San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona
Hanging with Ukranians at Fat Smitty’s in Discovery Bay, WA
Sumoflam and Antsy McClain

For years, I have worked and often traveled with singer/songwriter Antsy McClain to many parts of this country. I have been blessed to meet many wonderful musicians, some very well known, others not so well known. Many I have gotten to know well…not as musicians, but as people.

Many of the musicians I have met are genuine.  They are such neat people…not pretentious at all.  It is nice to talk to them about life.  One of them, Bobby Cochran, who played guitar for Antsy for a few years, was also the lead guitarist for the band Steppenwolf in the 1970s.  I saw him as a fan back in 1975 and never imagined I would be traveling on the road with him talking religion, politics and life.

Hanging with guitarist Bobby Cochran in Bardstown, KY in 2011
Sumoflam and world renown guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, c.g.b.
Sumoflam and GUITARIST EXTRAORDINAIRE Edgar Cruz from Oklahoma
One of my favorite people – multitalented musician Bruce Wandmayer, from Santa Cruz, CA
Hanging with my Aussie mate, multiinstrumentalist Pauly Zarb.
Have become good friends with the lovely former country rock singer Patti Hall, who now sells real estate in Phoenix
Sumoflam and guitarist Michael Kelsey from Indiana – he is one of my favorite guitarists and musicians. He is also a fabulous person.
“Crafty” Jack Burger from Lethbridge, Alberta

Another Antsy fan I met in Lethbridge, Alberta. Crafty Jack is a carpenter and master luthier. I spent two days with he and his sweet wife “Little Debbie” back in 2008. He taught me and my son about guitar making and took us on a nice adventure to Vulcan, Alberta to learn about Star Trek. Also, while in Lethbridge we enjoyed a dinner with him and Debbie in a converted water tower.  What a trip! Our visit with him was out of this world!

I have spent time with Crafty and Debbie in California and also on a cruise to Cancun.  We strolled the historic site of Tulum in Mexico together.  So blessed to know these great folks.

Sumoflam at the USS Enterprise Monument (with Crafty Jack) in Vulcan, Alberta (2007)
One of many Flamingoheads

Along the way I have become close friends with many Antsy fans. These “Flamingoheads,” as they are called, are also a diverse and lovely flock of folks. Some have become lifelong friends.

A couple of these Flamingoheads took great care of me on a visit to California in 2015. “Christmas Carla” and “Princess Ione” provided housing, touring and transportation for nearly a week. I got to know them, not as fans of Antsy, but as the real people they are with their unique life stories.

Enjoying the ride in California with “Christmas Carla” (she was born on Christmas day.
Ione (L) and Carla (R)…kissin cuzzins!!
BBQ Pitmaster Oliver Zuder showing off his trophy at the Oshawa Ribfest in 2008 in Ontario

My travels across Canada and the US have led me to others. Take, for instance, Oliver Zuder, a BBQ pit master from Ontario. I met him at Camp 31 BBQ in Paris, Ontario in 2013 and we became friends soon. I went to BBQ competitions to watch him and his brother Davor make people smile with satisfaction.

In the past couple of years, Oliver has started a new BBQ business called Uncle Sam’s BBQ, also in Ontario.   We keep in contact and my mouth waters every time I think of him.

Davor Zuder and some smokin’ ribs at Oshawa Rib Fest in Ontario in 2008

Crisscrossing the country I have met and chatted with cafe owners and shop owners. Their colorful stories enrich.

Carrie Fields, owner – Tightwad Cafe in Tightwad, MO
Tonya Floyd, current owner of the Wigwam Drive-in in Ravenna, KY
Sumoflam with Nancy Starvaggi Schaffer, showing off the AMAZING homemade sausage and pasta from Mama Santa’s Restaurant in Cleveland, OH
Donating on of my “MARDUP” license plates at Carhenge. I wonder if it is hanging on the wall…

I have also had my brushes with celebrities in my travels. As a tour guide in Arizona in 1983, I once met Alice Cooper in a restaurant parking lot in Sedona. We talked Golf and politics for 30 minutes. No selfies, no autographs. Just two people chatting.  On another occasion, I was attending a solar conference in Kobe, Japan in 1991. At lunch I sat with some other non-Japanese from Norway. We chatted a while and then I was introduced to Morten Harket, who I immediately recognized as the lead vocalist for the group A-ha (Take on Me). He happened to be a huge advocate of solar energy. We talked about many things. No pictures or autographs. Just enriching conversation.

David with Nadia Comanci – spent three days with her as her personal guide in Kyushu

One of my fond memories was being on the road for three days in Kyushu, Japan as the personal guide and interpreter for Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci. I spent hours listening to her harrowing escape from the Communist regime in Romania. Though a national hero, she was also a prisoner to dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu. Fascinating stuff.

 

Sumoflam and Swamp People’s Troy Landry…one of the friendliest and most personable guys you’ll ever meet (Troy that is…)
Sumoflam with Troy Landry – 4 years after saying I would meet this guy

Back in August 2010 I watched the first episode of the TV show Swamp People. Already an avid traveler and travel writer, I became fascinated with the show, which featured Gator hunters in Louisiana. One of them, Troy Landry, was quite a character. I told my wife “one day I am gonna track him down and meet him.” In 2015 I did just that. I visited his bait shop and crawfishing facility in Pierre Part, LA. He happened to be there buying loads and loads of crawfish from fishermen. We talked and chatted for 30 minutes or more while he worked. Friendly and outgoing, and totally good natured, he told stories of Gator hunting, told me about the crawfishing business and the let me “choot him” in a selfie.

Hanging with Danielle Colby from American Pickers at Antique Archeaology in 2012

On another roadtrip, this time into Iowa, I visited the small town of LeClaire, on the Mississippi River. This was the home to Antique Archaeology, the Antique shop made famous by the hit TV Show American Pickers. While there in that hot July afternoon, I was told that Danielle Colby, one of the cast members, was around and was always happy to meet fans. She is the tattooed friendly gal that works with the pickers on the show. During my visit, I learned that she had her own business creating unique clothing and had a shop across the street. I went over there and we chatted about her work, her roller derby hobby and her work as a burlesque dancer. She welcomed a selfie too.

Under one of Clyde’s massive creations…his 12 foot tall dragon
Clyde Wynia, the creator of Jurustic Park and the artist behind all of the work

Not so famous, but just as unique, was my opportunity to meet 80 year old Clyde Wynia, the creative mind behind the amazing Jurustic Park in Marshfield, WI. This former attorney turned his welding passion into a unique menagerie of metal creations, including giant dragons and small spiders. He gave me a personal tour and told some amazing stories.

Clyde tells stories of his various pieces of art

I also can’t forget to mention my encounter with “the one and only JFK,” James Frank Kotera, the Twine Ball Man of Lake Nebagamon, WI. (See full story and video HERE.)

Sumoflam with JFK, “Mr. Twine Ball” and “Junior” – August 2007

My travels have also led me to chance meetings with individuals with similar interests. And social media, especially Facebook, has extended that opportunity.

Portrait and landscape photographer Derek Ace (photo by Jeff Dostalek)
Derek Ace self portrait

On a trip to Wyoming in 2013, I stopped at a place called Hell’s Half Acre. A unique geological formation, it was a must see photo stop for me. I struck up a conversation with a young hot shot photographer named Derek Ace, from Madison, WI. We hit it off and I got his contact info. Derek and I have been Facebook friends ever since and I have been enlightened and enriched by his amazing photography, especially his desert works and his off the chain shots of abandoned buildings, rusted cars and sundry other forgotten treasures left behind.  See his Rural Ruins page for some great photos.

Author, travel writer, lecturer and musician Tui Snider of Azle, TX
Sumoflam and Tui Snider, June 2014

As an avid blogger of quirky things, I had a chance virtual encounter via the web of Texas Travel blogger Tui Snider. We exchanged notes about offbeat and quirky places in Texas and soon became good Facebook friends. On a subsequent trip to Texas in 2013, I finally met this amazing individual and her husband Larry at their gothic-accented home in Azle. Besides quirky things, Tui is also fascinated by the paranormal and has also become quite the expert on cemetery gravestone symbolism. She has published numerous books and articles. I count her as a dear friend.

Sumoflam with Shelly Cumbie in front of the historic Denton County Courthouse for a tour of the “Ghosts of Denton”
Writer, Radio Host, Sacred and Mysterious Site Traveler Teal Gray

Through Tui I have met ghost tour guide Shelly Cumbie in Denton, TX, who has provided many fascinating stories. I have also become a virtual friend of writer, blogger and podcaster Teal Gray.

Teal has actually done a live podcast interview with me on her internationally syndicated podcast.  She also recently write an article about my travel blogging and photography for the Dallas Entertainment Journal (see the link here)

Teal Gray Worldwide

The podcast can be heard in its entirety here:

Even my local staycation trips have led me to fascinating new friends, such as local bird and nature photographers and enthusiasts.  See some great photos by the members of the Jacobson Park Photographers Group which I started on Facebook. (see the site)

Photographing Wildlife with some of the Jacobson Park Photographers

I have also had the opportunity to meet local chefs that have been on Food Network competitions such as Cutthroat Kitchen or Guy’s Grocery Games. Ranada Riley, co-owner of the Lexington Diner, was one of these. Her “amazing” hairdo and unique cooking style have made her a local celebrity. But there is so much more to her beyond the cooking, whether it be her faith, her love for life or her diverse lifestyle. Meeting her in person and then following her life through social media has been a great adventure.

Ranada Riley, owner of the Lexington Diner in Lexington has been on television Food Network Competitions such as Guy’s Grocery Games and Cutthroat Kitchen

What more can I say? People bring me great joy and it is so fun to meet new folks every week!

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Carhenge: One of America’s Premier “Car Art” Sites

DSC_7745In late May of this year I finally had an opportunity to hit one of my “Bucket List” sites – Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska. This “Car Art” site (see my post on Car Art from last August) ranks up there with the other well known sites, Cadillac Ranch, in Amarillo, Texas and the former “Spindle” (Cars on a Spike) by Dustin Shuler that was displayed at Cermak Plaza in Berwyn, Illinois until May 2008.

Sumoflam at Carhenge in Alliance, NE
Sumoflam at Carhenge in Alliance, NE in May 2014
Sumoflam at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas in August 2013
Sumoflam at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas in August 2013
Sumoflam at Spindle in May 2007  (subsequently torn down in May 2008)
Sumoflam at Spindle in Berwyn, IL in May 2007 (subsequently torn down in May 2008)

Unlike Cadillac Ranch, which is set up on a farm in Amarillo, Carhenge is actually owned by the city of Alliance, Nebraska and is touted as one of their main tourist attractions.

Glowing sun on Carhenge, in Alliance, NE
Glowing sun on Carhenge, in Alliance, NE

My trip to Carhenge was on the the next to last leg of my return trip home from Montana (see the full day’s post HERE). I pushed hard to get here from Cody, Wyoming via Douglas (the Jackalope Capital of the World) and then finished the day off with a two hour drive along Nebraska Route 2 over the Sandhills to get to Grand Island for the night.

Welcome to Carhenge
Welcome to Carhenge
This way to Carhenge
This way to Carhenge

This unique piece of Car Art is the brainchild of Jim Reinders who completed the work in time to dedicate it on the June 1987 Summer Solstice. Reinders conceived it in 1987 to be a memorial to his father. While living in England, he studied the structure of Stonehenge, which helped him to copy the structure’s shape, proportions, and size.

Jim Reinders, creator of Carhenge, signs canvas prints (borrowed from Friends of Carhenge Facebook Page)
Jim Reinders, creator of Carhenge, signs canvas prints (borrowed from Friends of Carhenge Facebook Page)

There are other automobile sculptures that have been added to the the area around Carhenge and the additional name of Car Art Reserve was added for these.

Panorama View of Carhenge
Panorama View of Carhenge

Carhenge consists of 38 automobiles arranged in a circle measuring about 95 ft in diameter. Some are held upright in pits trunk end down, and arches have been formed by welding automobiles atop the supporting models. The heelstone is a 1962 Cadillac. Three cars were buried at Carhenge. Their “gravestone” is a car that reads: “Here lie three bones of foreign cars. They served our purpose while Detroit slept. Now Detroit is awake and America’s great!”

Old Cadillac at Carhenge
Old Cadillac at Carhenge

After the long drive from Cody, I arrived at Carhenge around 6 PM CST as the sun made its way down.  There were many nice shadows cast.  I dropped in to the small Visitor’s Center and saw that they needed a license plate donation (chuckle)…I pulled out one of my old MARDUP license plates, signed the back and donated it to Alliance employee Beau at the Carhenge Gift Shop.

Carhenge Gift Shop
Carhenge Gift Shop
Donating MARDUP License Plate to Beau Neville at Carhenge
Donating MARDUP License Plate to Carhenge Gift Shop staffer Beau

I also had fun trying out a new app while at Carhenge…my 360 Panorama App…here is what I got….

[panoembed pano=”Bt68hU” width=”600″ height=”300″]

Makes you feel like you’re there doesn’t it?

As I noted above, the actual Stonehenge like circle has 38 cars.  I tried to capture a few of them in some of the photos below:

Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska
Wide view of Carhenge
Wide view of Carhenge
You are Loved at Carhenge
You are Loved at Carhenge

Ironically, cars are not the only feature at Carhenge.  There are a couple of cool sculptures made from car parts.  Of course, my readers know I love scrap metal art.

Spawning Salmon
Spawning Salmon by Canadian artist Geoff Sandhurst.

One of the first sculptures to be added to the Car Art Reserve is a sculpture of a spawning salmon created by 29 year-old Canadian Geoff Sandhurst.

Spawning Salmon with Carhenge in background
Spawning Salmon with Carhenge in background
Sumoflam and Salmon
Sumoflam and Salmon

Then there is a fifteen foot metal dinosaur that overlooks Carhenge

A 15 foot dinosaur overlooks Carhenge
A 15 foot dinosaur overlooks Carhenge
Dinosaur Head with sharp teeth
Dinosaur Head with sharp teeth
In the belly of the beast!
In the belly of the beast!

Reinders created a second set as part of the Car Reserve called “Ford Seasons.” It is comprised only of Fords and was inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Season. It was meant to suggest the Nebraska landscape’s seasonal changes as wheat is planted, grows, is harvested, and then the field lies barren during a windy winter.

Ford Seasons - part of the Car Art Reserve
Ford Seasons – part of the Car Art Reserve

And finally, a few more scenes from Carhenge as the sun went down and I had to be on my way….

Sun shines through like a star in Carhenge
Sun shines through like a star in Carhenge
Carhenge as seen from the Gift Shop. The colorful bench is also made from car parts
Carhenge as seen from the Gift Shop. The colorful bench is also made from car parts
Buried Car at Carhenge
Buried Car at Carhenge
Buried cars at Carhenge
Buried cars at Carhenge

In closing….visit Alliance and Carhenge if you make it to western Nebraska.  Well worth the visit!!

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