“!” SPOUT is a local, progressive, arts-focused magazine, meant to inspire fearless imagination and a fluid exchange of fresh ideas. With diverse submissions— ranging from photography, poetry, and journalistic stories, to sculpture and paintings—there truly is something for everyone in this alternative publication. SPOUT is inclusive, welcoming anyone who wants to play a part in its evolution. Similarly, this magzine is forward-thinking and shamelessly opens itself to any thoughts and ideas that are based in creativity and compassion. Just like a water spout, we want art to pour from you; to course in your veins. There’s no need to swallow expression. Scream, shout, let it out! SPOUT! Keep your eye out for weekly SPOUT spoken word gatherings, coming soon. Also, check us out online, spoutmag.com
VOLUME I: MOVEMENT
Dear Readers, It’s time that Chattanooga has a publication that represents its uniqueness. I’m talking about this town’s alternative, artstyfartsy, incredibly beautiful and fierce individualism. I’m talking about the movers and shakers who reside in its limits, who continue to delve into imagination and think outside the norm. I’ve created SPOUT, not only because I decided to finally take life by the reins and fearlessly pursue my passions head on, but because I think Chattanooga wants it. And more importantly, Chattanooga needs it. Though I may be a bit naïve in this endeavor, I’m determined to help expose the city’s relatively unrecognized talents and give faith to those who have too often be told “you can’t”. I’ve reached out to everyone I can think of to contribute to this magazine—from the locally famous, to the homeless, members of the LGBTQ community, and various ethnic groups. Why? Because inclusion is vital in building a strong and authentic community. Truth is, we all have a story. We all have purpose. And no one should ever feel insignificant or inadequate. I’m not defining anyone by a title in these pages, because no single word has the ability to wholly define a human being. It is impossible for one standalone description to encompass the complexity of each and every one of us. I hope this magazine grips your soul and moves you in unimaginable ways. I hope it serves as a metaphor for equality. I hope its paintings, designs, photos and words inspire open-mindedness and reflection. I hope it radiates within you. I hope you find a piece of yourself and who you want to be in every page. The theme of this issue? Movement. Peace and love, Liv
Vol.1 Artists and Contributors: *Note from Liv: Please check out spoutmag.com for these artists’ bios and additional work from other artists. Also follow our Instagram, @ spout_magazine. Though some of the names listed in orange may not be featured artists, they have given time to help guide me and make this magazine possible. Without the support and encouragement of every artist I reached out to, this project would not have come to fruition. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being vulnerable and allowing me to share your art.
Sybil Baker Hollie Berry Katie Brobst Michael Brooks Jr. + Designer Kayla Cloonan Aaron Cowan “Seaux Chill” Gynesis Chrysalis Alea Coble Jack Currey Matthew Dutton Eva Fournier Myles Freeman Maura Friedman “Genesis the Greykid” + Mentor Olivia Harlow (Liv) + Editor and Founder Tara Harris Dallas Jones Elizabeth Lawrensen Caleb Ludwick + Mentor Graham LePage Simon Lillard John McLeod Ann Marie Miller Tony Mraz Jacob Nagele Alex Ogle Kyle Puttkammer Paul Rustand Savannah Jaye Thomas Mike Salter Ben Schnell + Web Guru “SEVEN” Bonnie Scoggins John Somerville Nicole Song Vaughn Stegall John Stoehr Lillie Stubsten Savannah Jaye Thomas Laura Jane Walker Jillian Walther “LoneHawk” Whitlock Lauren Wolfford Chris Woodhull + Mentor
"In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.” -Edward G. Bulwer Lytton
CONTENT PREVIEW VOL. 1 MOVEMENT Featured Artist: Aaron Cowan Animated Opinion: Atrophy of Western Culture Q+A: Seven Questions with Seven Opinion: Feminism in the South Music spreads, featuring lyrics from Dalahäst John McLeod’s Artistic Athleticism Chattanooga Comix Co-Op Q & A: Tara Harris, ARRO How do we love like God? Case Study on Chattanooga’s Racism Featured Artist: Alea Coble “Dark Arts” Existensial Meaning Unplugging Fom Technology Featured Artist: Maura Friedman Cambodian Collection Why We Create Quotes Artist Directory
Most people see art through the lens of their life, applying their worldly knowledge to understand or “get” works of art. For me the two are inseparable; I experience the world as art before it becomes daily living. Not art as in its history, but the recognition of potential and beauty in the day-to-day minutiae. There are beauties, if so fetishized, in the unimportant details— clouds and shadows, word choice, a brushstroke, saw marks, posture—that go unnoticed by most. Of course these details cannot demand attention; we would get nothing done admiring things like the imprint of the dog’s tail in the blanket of dust on the hardwood floor, revealed when you moved that couch to the northern wall. To admire the trails on the edges of this dust formed by the dog’s paws and the ball as it was clawed back out from underneath the couch is a waste of time—for most. It is only once it is photographed, preserved and set into it’s proper context (a gallery) that we may pay it attention as an elevated piece of “art.” The viewer may not even recognize this for what it actually is at first—This is where art’s possibilities for “breaking” reality get really interesting to me: situations that make you double take, that grip your attention tightly for a few fleeting moments due to its perplexing nature, before you ‘solve’ the piece and everything makes sense again. This suspension of reality, this bewilderment, is breathtakingly exciting. It brings you out of your routine surroundings and forced to question your environment, your senses; am I dreaming right now? It’s like stumbling on a sidewalk that’s subtly uneven due to underground roots—woah, what’s happening? I love it when art shatters people’s expectations and disrupts their reality, changes the way they look at the world. And the fact that it holds that power is awe-inspiring. The power to collapse the rut of routine and mundanity is through art. It gives absolute freedom in every aspect; anything and everything is fair game, if framed in the right context. The expression, the passion, thought & action, and the tertiary spaces between them allow limitless permutations. And when inspiration strikes, it’s like a car crash. Time compresses and collapses, stretches and snaps; there is chaos in freedom, and the process becomes whittling everything down to a fine point, until all that’s left is everything the piece isn’t, so we may witness the truth of what is left.
“Shatter” Aaron Cowan Illustration
"In Stride" Hollie Berry Oil on panel 24x15â€?
â€œThis year I was selected to be the featured artist for the Iroquois Steeplechase, a horse race outside of Nashville. I had already made a number of paintings that were quite a bit more literal, like freeze frames of the action, but I felt like sports photographers had that angle covered. I wanted to branch out and make something that felt more like standing by the track, watching the masses of horseflesh thunder by. This piece was created by combining two consecutive frames of a burst shot centered on the same horse, which I layered and erased until I had the effect I wanted. This was a new challenge for me, since in some places I actually ended up painting two figures at once, like in the cheek of the horse on the left, where the blue and yellow of the jockey behind shows through the horse's head and tints his coat. This painting turned out to be one of the most dynamic in the series and I look forward to creating more in this direction.â€?
“Owl” Nicole Song Acrylic on canvas 30x40”
“Reflection, May 2015” Savannah Jaye Thomas Photograph
“May Your Arrows Fly Straight and Your Aim Be True” Aaron Cowan Oil on wood, copper, arrow 15x11"
“Texting 12:20:34” “Glass” Untitled John Somerville Photographs
“Hourglass” Jack Currey
“Meniscus” Your heart’s been misplaced. It’s seeped out the semi-permeable Membrane of your skin. You didn’t notice at the time for it was his fingers what brought out the Blood and life of you. Each time he traced your body down, you began losing yourself; Displaced your happiness into his hands. That you’d not know cheer without him. An invasion which came with a Pen into you to a(mend) The constitution written on that ancient scroll, Leather bound tome, of your soul. Now you depend. You’re in the deep end, lost and alone. The forty story diving board you fell from is so far out of reach that you’d Never dare try. Or so he lies. He gives you his saving arm and life giving breath, Because you forgot How to swim. Or so he lies. He’s keeping you under ball and chain, hand cuffed, straight jacketed And tongue tied. Time and time again you’ve tried to breathe without his automated, iron Grip, mechanical crutch. The portcullis gate up to the heights of where you once stood, hidden in his grasp, kept in his clutch. Damn the demon. Become a thief, damn yourself in order to be free, so that way you live a life you deem worthy. Swarthy, sick, teetering, tiptoe, totalitarian relationships are done. Your opus has become one with your soul, you’ve won. Wake up and breathe your own breath. Own life. Own love. Own death. No one owns your soul but you.
“I was photographing a series of bike races atop Bokor Mountain, outside of Kampot in Cambodia, when this boy with cerebral palsy, rode passed. It was during a children’s short race, in which the kids rode bicycles around a small loop several times. While not quite in the very back, but definitely not in the front, this boy’s face was lit with joy. Circling the course with his tongue flopping out, outfitted in starpatterned elbow and knee pads and a mohawk helmet, he just seemed to be having so much fun out there. He inspired me; he really did. He may be ‘disabled’, but he’s actually very able, you know? These individuals who have so many obstacles ‘against’ them are immensely talented, so determined, and so full of life. This boy—just like many others who carry a ‘disabled’ label—doesn’t let any hardship or preconception stand in his way of doing what he loves. I think that speak volumes to what life is all about: finding strength and joy within ourselves, to face the deep fear of being our truest self. And to never give up. Don’t dare.”
“Eastern to Western” Anne Marie Miller Screenshot of an animated GIF
Atrophy of Western Culture By Ann Marie Miller There is a history of humans constantly trying to ascribe teleology in daily life. Technology and spirituality both can be found centered around progress and development; the next big device, faster processing, or a higher consciousness reached in an afterlife through religious practice. Though, whether we can measure social and material turning points as true “progress”, is debatable and concerning due to technologies relationship with capitalism and religious ideology. Today, many roles in mediums experience a point of no return or “break boundary”. McLuhan describes this concept as “the reversal of the overheated medium”. When the printing press came out, images were used to convey information to viewers and consumers. Today the ability to create and distribute media has become so accessible that the viewer themselves have the ability to publish media to the world. Authorship is at a high. The creation and exhaustion of new methods of information sharing are happening at a more frequent pace due to hyperactive development. The time to reflect and moralize behavior as a society is decreasing, cultivating a culture that doesn’t look back. Pictorial communication, specifically, has become an extension to our verbal language. Images are loaded with empathy and symbolism based off of referential material. But with this shift we see the western culture of innovation and progress, through modern devices, actually taking on an oral, tribal like form of information sharing. For example, in social media, oral culture relays information by word of mouth, contrasting to the press and publication process in media we have been familiar with for centuries. Up until now, we can find this reversal in Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of peer to peer information sharing. We can observe an
apparent role shift in the medium, but perhaps not a teleological progression, since this form of sharing has been a prominent behavior found in human nature for centuries in cultures outside of the western world. Though we may observe a shift in the way we communicate presently, this is nothing unseen in human behavior historically. When we forget about these shifts in history, it b ecomes easy to believe in an illusion of moving forward. When the western world creates new innovations: cell phones, laptops, fiber optics, etc., the only thing that can be empirically gathered is that information is moving faster. The idea of progress is continually engraved into our system through advertisement. In a commercial for credit card “chip technology”, a narrator states “the world keeps getting smarter”, in an effort to sell the idea of a safer and more advanced technology to protect consumer’s money. In the commercial, Visa’s loaded statement seems very natural and trustworthy, but lacks any kind of philosophical backbone. Products will come and go. Newer models and faster and clearer ways to communicate will develop, but the unclear illusion and question of moving forward may always be the downfall in our claimed spiritual development or teleological future. What is a “smarter world”? What does moving around materials in other ways to communicate the same information and exhibit the same timeless behavior humans have rehashed for thousands of years really have to do with buying a new credit card or updating an iOS on a phone? The relationship between new technology and our intrinsic need to experience human development collectively may appear to correlate, but as long as we occupy our same bodies and have the same material needs, there really just might not be a difference.
SEVEn : 7 7 questions with "seven" Photos and story by Olivia Harlow
Legendary street arrtist, Eric Finley, a.k.a."The Artist Seven", is responsible for a large number of Chattanooga's vibrant street art. Credited for helping implement the now existing street art scene, Seven hopes to expand interest and influence the movement, by continuing to create compelling work around the city.
1: How did you get started with the arts? A: I’ve been an artist my entire life, really. It started with watching Space Giant characters on TV, and I got into doing murals when I went to school in ATL.
2: What is your relationship with Chattanooga? A: I moved to Atlanta after high school and stayed for 10 years, thinking I would never come back. I actually got kicked out of the art institute there. Too busy doing graffiti and partying. I came back home for a little bit, but then went back to Atlanta. Life was very ebb and flow. I graduated from a different art school in 2002 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts. Right when I got done, my mom passed away. I was going through a lot, struggling to finish school and figure out what to do with my life. I was in a weird place, kinda in a limbo. I came back to Chattanooga for a month in 2003, but everything reminded me of my mother and I was having a hard time with that. I moved to Miami Florida, which didn’t work out, moved to Ft. Lauderdale for a year, and that didn’t work out either. Eventually I came back to Chattanooga officially in 2004. Since then, I’ve been stationed here… Chattanooga is a lot different than it used to be 10 years ago. I mean it’s still, to me, in a time warp. I’ve lived in other major cities and have gotten used to that pace. I evolved into that, so coming back from those places, it’s like culture shock to me... it’s so much more culturally diverse elsewhere. Being from here, going there, and coming back…it’s hard. But at the same time, I see things finally improving and people trying to pick up the flow. So yea, it’s improving, and I have a different outlook on it these days... It’s a big fish small pond scenario, and I’m trying to make the most of it.
3: What was your first step in bringing more street art to Chattanooga? What is your memory of the first mural you created here? A: It was Mother’s Day, and I went by Central Avenue...I’ve painted several murals in that spot, but that was the first public wall that I took it upon myself to commandeer as part of my initiative to bring street art to Chattanooga. At this time, there was pretty much nothing on the streets: no murals, no art, no nothing.
When I came back, that wasn’t the first time I started painting. I already tried to introduce graffiti to Chattanooga, in a smaller way. But people had noticed. I didn’t realize that until I came back. While I was teaching as a professional middle school teacher, I decided I wanted to find a place that I could paint legally and people could see my work. ...So, the wall on Central Avenue...It was just a blank wall right across from the gas station, and I would pass it all the time. I always thought, “Man that would be such a great wall to throw a piece on! I gotta get that wall!” To most people, it’s just a wall in the middle of nothing, but for me, it was week after week of me passing this wall and thinking ,“How am I gonna do this; how am I gonna paint this wall without being arrested?” [Laughs] Mother’s Day came around, and because my mom had passed away, I was feeling like doing a mural for my mother. It was a Sunday, broad daylight, in the morning. I just figured I’d take my paint and pretend I had permission to do it. So I grabbed all my stuff and drove up to the wall on Central. All I was going to paint was a simple rose with a yellow background and a little statement at the bottom… I started painting and got half way through with it when the cops showed up. I just said, “Aw, ya know I’m just painting this mural.” They asked, “You got permission to be doing that?” And I was like, “Oh yea yea ,yea the owner said I could be here.” And they said, “Oh really? Because the owner just called me and told me that someone was painting on their property and to come check it out!” He was about to arrest me. I was trying to explain to them, “I’m just doing this mural for my mom. It’s not no gang graffiti or anything like that, it’s Mother’s Day!” I started crying, you know. So he calls the owner over and I gave her my sob story... I pulled out the drawing and was like, “This is what I’m painting. It’s for my mom.” And she ended up letting me go ahead and do it. So, anyways, I finished up the mural. It stayed there for years, and everybody loved it!
4: You said you feel that people become attached to your work but that you also paint over it regularly. Have you ever had anyone lash out at you for covering up previous art? A: Actually the people in the community became really attached to that first mural. Two or three years later, I was looking to do another mural. I started
painting over it, and some dude ran up to me all angry, freaking out, screaming ,“What are you doing, what are you doing?” I tried calming him down. “I painted this. I’m going to paint something new now. It’s gonna look good, I promise!” That was a cool little episode.
sively graffiti artists, but when you do other art, still with those street credentials, you are a street artist.
5: How did you get to where you are now, as a well-known, paid, and full-time muralist?
7: Do you feel that street art is a movement? How would you describe this type of art on a global scale, AND WHAT is your influence here locally? What role do you strive to play?
A: I kept painting that wall, and people started to notice. “Seven’s back!” I started getting work from it. People would roll up on me and ask me to paint this or that, and it turned into jobs. I started to notice a pattern: Every time I painted in public, I’d get a job from it.
A: The movement is universal. Everywhere else in the world, it’s huge! I mean, huge! It’s mainstream—so accepted and so well promoted. So I’m trying to give Chattanooga just a small taste of that and open them up to it. I just do it, because it’s my passion.
This was all while I was still teaching, so I was really just doing this for fun. It was like a side project. It was like a Batman life: teacher by day, graffiti artist by night, playing this double role or whatever. I just kept that going to feed my own creative hunger, and because there was nothing here like that. And I was slowly trying to build a scene and draw attention to what is happening around the world.
6: Do you feel that the word “graffiti” carries negative connotation? A: It typically implies that the art is illegal. Real graffiti writing is a cultural thing, but it has a negative title to society. We call it ‘graffiti writing.’ Graffiti was a term given by the media to describe what we were doing, but it carries negative meaning to the public, which is why people call is “street art” more these days. Graffiti does still exist, and some people consider themselves exclu-
Some of those spots I first painted for free, just so I could have a safe space to do artwork. It was a combination of chance and looking for legal ways to make art. I really wanted to push beyond just writing my name in graffiti style. A lot of people thought that’s all I did, but I wanted to show people I am a multifaceted artist. It happened subconsciously, but with intent. I can’t describe the movement itself, but I can describe what I’ve witnessed within the movement. And that is an evolution of graffiti becoming a worldwide artistic renaissance in my opinion! I don’t’ want to just be a bystander or just a spectator of it. I saw it pick up momentum in the last 10 years and have been amazed at where it’s gone. I want to be a part of that. I want people to be able to reflect on something I do ; something I make. That’s really my intent in the whole thing—to be involved and make a noticeable mark. It’s not my movement, it’s beyond just me. But the movement is me.
American South: Home of the next Feminist Uprising By Lillie Stubsten Disclaimer: The opinion stories written in SPOUT do not necessarily represent SPOUT’s opinions as a whole. As we are a progressive, openminded publication, all ideas are welcome.
When you hear the term “feminist activist”, what sort of person is pictured? What does a “feminist activist” look like to you? Where are they from? Perhaps we see a Gloria Steinem type: tall, smartly dressed, college educated, an all-around New York woman through and through. Or perhaps we see a San Fran punk: buzzed hair, combat boots and the phrase “My body, My fucking rules” written on her T-shirt. It’s time to ask ourselves, who is missing from this picture? When we attempt to conceptualize feminism and the women’s movement, the image in our brains is not that of a southern woman. It is not that of a dirt poor, Appalachian woman. It is not that of an inner city black woman. It is not that of a Christian woman. All in all, our idea of what a feminist “looks like” is certainly not that of a Chattanoogan woman. This perception of what feminism looks like has to change. The south—and in particular, Chattanooga—is, in my opinion, the home front for the next leg of our country’s radical feminist movement. “Solidarity” The reason for this is simple: Jack Currey The American south is a hot bed for racial and economic disparity, all of which deeply intersect with and are exacerbated by sexism. Couple this with the inclination of southern working class people towards acts of sustainable resistance, and you have a political powder keg.
Let’s explore the realities of life for women in all of Tennessee but, in particular, Chattanooga. According to a recent New York Times article, 27 percent of Chattanooga’s residents live below the poverty line, and of that number, women head two-thirds of the poorest households (Source A). Adding to the stress of these working class women, Chattanooga has the seventh highest rising rent rate in the nation and ranks second among the most racially gentrified zip codes. And of course, this is all while luxury condos—that 75 percent of Chattanooga’s urban poor cannot afford—are being built at an alarming rate (Source B). For all of Hamilton County, there is one rape crisis center. Chattanooga also is without a clinic where folks can access safe and legal abortions. Those in need of abortion services would have to travel to either Atlanta or Nashville—a feat that becomes increasingly difficult when you begin to factor in other oppressive forces, such as generational poverty and systematic racism. At t the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (where I currently attend school), there is a title IX investigation underway, as the Associate Dean of Students, Chad Clark, was accused by several female students of knowingly changing and destroying testimonies concerning their sexual assaults (Source C). Statewide, the situation is equally grim. In 2014, the
Fetal Assault Law was introduced. This bill allowed for the prosecution of drug addicted pregnant women who misused drugs during their pregnancy. The law states that punishment can be avoided if the woman is enrolled in and completes a drug recovery program. However, the amount of beds available in rehab programs versus the amount of women addicted to narcotics across Tennessee is too low to accommodate users. And, like all “tough on crime/war on drugs” legislation, the bill overtly targets low income and minority women (Source D). All of this points to the inevitability of a southern feminist revolution. I use the word ‘revolution’ intentionally here because, as I mentioned earlier, southern folks have never shied away from an uprising. From the popularity of southern Garveyism (an aspect of black nationalism that refers to social, economic and political policies set by Marcus Garvey), to the building of a black market economy during prohibition, there has always been homegrown resistance. And it is only a matter of time before the current conditions that Tennessee women live under become too damn much to bear. In the following decades, there must be consistent, sustainable and militant feminist organizing taking place in the south. We must not tone down our rage or soften our tactics, as those who are inflicting economic
and institutional violence upon our bodies certainly will not. We must follow the leadership of those most impacted by the current social climate: black and minority women, poor women and queer folks. We must not silence the voices or experiences of anyone, but uplift the voices of all. We must let our love and our anger and our resiliency guide us towards collective freedom. I will leave you with a quote from an aboriginal activist, Lilla Watson, which I believe accurately sums up the face of things to come in the southern feminist movement: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” Source A: New York Times, Low Wage Workers Are Finding Poverty Harder to Escape Source B: Chattanooga Organized for Action, chattaction.org Source C: Times Free Press, UTC faces 2nd Title IX complaint... Source D: Healthy and Free Tennessee, healthyandfreetn.org
Lillie Stubsten is a student at the University of Tennessee. She is a grassroots organizer with a background in radical feminism and is on the board of Chattanooga Organized for Action as student representative; co-chairs Student Activists for Equality; and has organized locally for Planned Parenthood and The East Tennessee Feminist Collective. When not revolutionizing, she can be found haunting all-night diners.
This is just a small fragment of ideas that revolve around gender inequality. Though a radical movement for activism and feminism is indeed necessary, there are a myriad of other issues rooted in this gender gap. Sexism is not only a problem for women in the South, but it’s a problem for women around the world. And it’s also a problem for men. Believe it or not, privelege causes scars. Men and women are constantly degraded and exiled to conformity, with harsh stereotypes and expectations placed on them, starting the very day a doctor determines their sex. Many times, we just deal with it, oftentimes oblivious to these ludicrous standards. Oh, you’re having a boy? Blue blanket. It’s a girl? Pink. Oh, it’s your girl’s birthday? Barbie and Crayola. When will your son start playing sports? When will your daughter begin ballet? Why is your son so emotional? Why is your girl so bossy?....This doesn’t even begin to go into the assumptions of gender roles in later in life. Oh, you’re the wife? You must do the dishes and laundry. Oh, you’re a stay at home dad? Weird. Oh, you’re a full-time politician...and a woman? Not OK. Oh, the woman makes decisions in the house? She must be a bitch. Oh, the man cooked dinner and brought home flowers? What a wuss. Oh, you’re in a gay relationship? Which one of you is more like a ‘boy’ and which one is the ‘girl’? Oh, you’re a woman and don’t wear makeup? How ugly...The list of ridiculous beliefs associated directly with gender goes on and on. People stare. People judge. People whisper. And the sad truth is...we do it too. We are those people. We cave into these harmful and limiting ideas. We become those who stare, who judge, who whisper. There is such great toxicity in allowing these opinions to weigh in on our personal definition of self. Our identities should never rely on societal expectations of what it means to be a ‘man’ or ‘woman’. And this, my friends, is why asking ourselves about sexism is so important. It’s vital to examine the ways our sex impacts our day-to-day lives and seek ways to combat the assumptions of ‘feminity’ and ‘masculinity’; to challenge the broad view of what it means to be a man or woman. How can you personally help alleviate gender inequality? How can you make a more conscious effort to liberate future generations? XOX, Liv
This page: “Once We Sold Tickets Here” ; Next page, clockwise from top left: “A Beautiful Mess” ; “Friday Night Lights” ; “Confidante”. Photographs.
Oatmeal Field // kayla cloonan I sprinted through the orange and yellow field, the stalks like oatmeal scattered for acres. My heart was pounding in my throat, perspiration dripping its way down my cheeks and falling onto my flowing, violet dress. There wasn’t any reason to run, except for the adrenaline rush, the heat that fuels my racing heart beat. I was free to let the breeze whip across my face, to have my hair spinning in front of my eyes. It was a moment without the need of words, as my bare feet brushed along the tickling wheat plants. My fingertips swept the oatmeal feathers, the powdered tips rubbing off on my hands leaving the color of honey on my palms. I was tempted to lick the powder, then reminded myself it wasn’t honey. “Come to me!” I cried out to the sky continuing to run, my feet pattering against the occasional puddle within the stalks.I heard no reply and stopped in place, letting the breeze make it feel as if I still kept moving. “Come to me, my love!” I cried, a sweetness in my voice. I waited, thrusting my hands palm-up toward the sky. My tongue acted as lip-balm to my chapped lips, smoothing over the frayed edges. My breath slowed to an even tempo, my heart calmed its excited beats. Silence burned in my ears as I listened carefully for an answer. The air was moist and humid; the rain had already come and gone. I did not come to the Oatmeal Field alone and I came with the purpose of showing off its beauty. I felt annoyed as my toes sunk deeper into the mud. My gaze followed the horizon, the sky warming like baked apples and cinnamon, swirls of color filling the clouds. My eyes fell on something out of place. In the distance, yards away, where I began my sprint of freedom, sat a young boy, a blanket beneath his spotless black pants and a laptop resting atop his knees. The wheat stalks bent inward, crushed by the weight of humanity—a spot that stood out amongst the unconquered earth. I breathed in deeply, letting the oxygen shift through my lungs, then I released it back into the air: carbon dioxide. “Carbon, dioxide” I whispered. “Soon it’ll take me away, oh yeah,” I sang, giggling at the absurdity of it. I began to wonder if the boy even heard me call him at all. My feet were now part of the mud soup, complimented by oatmeal, baked apples, and cinnamon. I wiggled my toes, the mud suctioning like a squeaky
clean plate. My nails were yellow, the plants smeared on my palms. I reached up to scratch my nose, wiping the color on my cheeks. I giggled as I realized what I did. “Come look what I’ve done!” I called out again, laughing between syllables. I savored every taste of the air, every feeling from the ground and every inch of sight for as far as I could see. The boy kept his focal length short, gazing into the glowing screen of his computer. A cool breeze made me shiver and I tried to brush off the feeling of edginess that emanated from that spot where the wheat stalks bent inward. “You are sure to miss the sunset; it is close!” I cried, this time with a shrill voice trying to sound urgent. Even still, the boy gazed into the screen, mesmerized by its eerie human-made colors. “Surly he must notice the beauty around him,” I whispered. I rubbed my hands together, patting my cheeks with oatmeal honey, almost making myself sneeze. I took my dress in my hands, stroking it along the tips of the wheat, adding the hint of honey in a pattern. I basted my arms in its yellow gleam, added some of its rich color to my already muddy feet. I was the Oatmeal Field, and the Oatmeal Field was me. The sun dipped lower every minute, its apple cinnamon clouds morphing into ripe cream covered plums. My tongue longed for tasting them. Those who thought clouds are made of cotton candy are foolish. The clouds are far more intricate than whipped sugar. Taste changes throughout the day, and some days they change their secret recipe. “Ah yes,” I whispered softly to myself. “You must come taste the clouds with me!” I called, one last attempt at diverting the boy’s attention. This time the boy’s hand lifted to his chin, his tongue like lip-balm smoothing over his lips. In one quick stroke, he shut the laptop closed. My opportunity had come and I tempted him further. “Come, you must mix your feet into the mud soup, you must feel the rush of the wind through your hair!” I cried, excitement quickening my heart beat again. The boy rose as if possessed, staring blankly into the distance, whipped cream plums meeting his gaze. He set the laptop safely on the blanket where his feet still stayed, nervous of the mud in the steps ahead. “Come feel the heat pump your blood through your
veins, let the world hold you in its arms!” Taking his first step, I could almost hear the sound the mud makes even though I was so far away. Before I could blink he was running toward me, his arms outstretched. My smile was almost too wide for my face, falling gently along the wrinkles made from years of smiling and laughing. When he reached me, his outstretched arms draped around me—a comforting blanket I had won over materialism. We held each other close breathing in deeply and exhaling, heated adrenaline threatening to boil over the limits of my veins. Euphoria held me for a moment, as our lips shared the ragged feeling of being dry and chapped— the futile attempt of our tongues at trying to be lipbalm. The kiss tasted like honey, baked apples, cinnamon, and whipped cream on plums. It tasted
better than clouds. For a moment, we were quiet, listening to the wind. We both gazed out to the horizon, watching the last bits of sky fade into darkness. “I didn’t miss the sunset,” the boy whispered, smiling at me. I took his face in my hands, nudging him tenderly with my nose. “You didn’t miss the chocolate cake sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar either,” I said, giggling. He just stared at me, confused. His expression softened to a sweet humor. “You are so silly,” he whispered, kissing my forehead. “You just have much yet to learn.” We both turned to gaze back at the horizon—a night sky littered with stars, a chocolate cake sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
Previous page: "The Bee" Nicole Song Acrylic on canvas 36x48” This page: “Viola Odorata” Eva Fournier Illustrated Comic
“Iowa Honest” people say “Iowa stubborn,” people say “Iowa nice,” I say “Iowa honest.”
what earnest attempts at living— the life fully aware, yet completely prepared for everything.
what kind of honesty turns an Iowan away from home? what kind of sincerity, heard too many times sounds like sarcasm to city ears?
when I come back, farm boys turned hipsters (still wearing the same flannel & trucker hats so you can’t really tell the difference) spill their guts like Gushers all over coffee shop tables.
when I come back, girls still wearing their flare jeans from high school are still popular in their own sort of way.
when I come back, I can’t figure out the people who are really giving it their best shot, young and hungry for families, saying, out loud sometimes, “Yes, I am hungry for the city, too,”
... but never really meaning it, knowing they never will, knowing that although they can order clothes online from Urban Outfitters and Patagonia and The North Face and J. Crew they still do not live in the city. But this is me comparing myself, my desires and my expectations of what is good & right, against what is probably still heartfelt, Iowa honesty Who am I to attack them? I gave up and left. It was too much to take, too much to miss out on, too much to hold, too much to bear, too little to feel, too much to feel, many times over.
Like the hills endlessly stretching, selflessly & ceaselessly bearing crops, the thighs of the earth, birthing the tension & release that is “Iowa stubborn” & “Iowa nice.”
Some people have city hearts, some people don’t. I have a city heart that reeks of “Iowa honest.”
Illustration by Ann Marie Miller
“Meditiations” “When you stop moving you die.” That is what the Buddhist monk told me sitting perfectly still. “Hustle and grind,” he said. “Cash rules everything,” he said. “Consider the lotus blossom,” he said. “Zeno of Elea”
Zeno once posited that all movement is an illusion. For in order to get someplace you must first reach halfway, and then reach halfway again and then reach halfway again, on and on, unto infinity, never able to reach your destination because you must always make it halfway first, at best, approaching asymptotically. Zeno was a fool, as common sense makes clear, but I still can’t seem to get where I’m going. “Thermodynamics”
What we call movement scientist’s call heat: the agitations of molecules and their quick, tiny collisions. For most our lives, the molecules in our bodies vibrate gently, just enough to stay warm. But it is worth considering that, if you put enough movement in us, we could become fire.
Graham LePage < “The Great Wave” Bonnie Scoggins, “The Bonnie Potter” Clay and underglaze 8 x 8”
2015 Chattanooga 70.3 Ironman Photo by Olivia Harlow
"The Muse" Katie Brobst Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas 36"x36"
“Eternal” I can still Hear your voice In the wind. The trees keep Your story alive. You are Eternal.
“This Can't Be Coincidence” I knew it was time To take a break When your prayers Were answered In less than a day. The Beloved hears you, This I know as fact.
“An Extended Rest” Everyday I embrace the Beloved in an extended hug. One that provides comfort, Yet sadness at the same time. It's a shame. Oh how I wish I could spend the whole day Being saturated in His unparalleled glory. To escape from the brokenness the world force feeds me. For I am already full. The itis has fully settled in. Tired. Weary. Ready to take an extended rest.
Clockwise from top: “The Sentinel’s View” , Acrylic on wood, 40x23” ; “Deep in the Cut”, Acrylic on wood, 36x48”; “The New South Whales”, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 36x48” ; Next page: “Occupied Territories”, Oil on board, 24x36”
Time and Mind J. Thomas Stoehr Music lives in the atmosphere between the sound source and the ear. Its transport devices — notes and clef written on paper, grooves scratched into vinyl, or sequences of 1’s and 0’s — are not themselves music, but rather codes and guides to reproduce it. Contained by pre-determined time lengths, music differs from other art forms in a unique way. A painting lives in space only in the place that it hangs. Wherever the painting goes, there it is — the only one of its kind. We may copy and reproduce that painting to uncanny likeness, whether by photography or mimicry, but still “the original” is, or was, never to be removed from itself by the value of its originality. Music, on the other hand, is constrained by time and the sound waves that carry it through space. The amplification of its unique audio signature is the same (or same enough), to be recognized and attributed to the original composition and translated over and over again, hundreds and thousands and millions of times. Why is it then, that a well-printed copy of Vincent’s Bedroom is treated with relative valuelessness, while the New York Phil’s, or a wedding band’s, or a bar singer’s “cover” of Beethoven 5, Purple Rain, or Hey Jude erupts cheers and applause through the world? It seems that while fine art and poetry are typically artist-pointing expressions of solitary emotion or translation, music in the essence of it’s medium is made to be shared and propagated across any and every avenue that’s available to it. Live performance by musicians willing to commit to the task of reproduction, along with phonographs, radio, records, 8-tracks, tapes, CD-ROMs, and MP3’s are all technology-adapted tools to propitiate the evangelization of music to and among the people. Webster’s defines ‘music’ simply enough as “the science and art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity”— but it’s applied effect on humans is much more profound than its definition. The arrangement of melody, lyric, rhythm at just the right time unifies, inspires, infuriates, soothes, preserves, and ignites entire nations, creeds, and religions with gestures of love, cries for freedom, and world-changing philosophies. Whether sound waves themselves have purely scientific effects on human and non-human emotion or action is debatable. But the shared consciousness that a piece of music may bring to a group of humans is an undeniable, and profound truth that any person with the ability to hear can attest to. In this way, music not only lives in the atmosphere between the sound source and the ear, but also in its shared consciousness among people. And that’s where great power lies — in potential immortality. Forever in the consciousness of its listeners, music is the great, unconquerable art form: for all people to enjoy, meditate, and propitiate throughout time, mind, and atmosphere.
Green Jello at JJ's Bohemia Tony Mraz Acrylic on canvas 18x24â€?
Music is not merely noise, but it is relatable poetry that moves us from the inside-out... It speaks to us and explains our innermost thoughts and feelings when nothing else can.
“Bathwater Baby” In time, I knew you were right, you were right from the start— that running away just means losing a part of your heart. Throw open the windows, throw open the doors, throw the baby out with the bathwater— it never was yours. Make an announcement, gather the town, tell them, “I’m terribly sorry, I’m leaving at dawn.” Because You don’t owe them anything You don’t owe them anything Visit the gravestone where your family was torn. Leave some flowers, but don’t act forlorn. Because You don’t owe them anything You don’t owe them anything
Elizabeth Lawrensen: vocals and trumpet Chris Williams: drums
“Sparkling Ghosts July 4, 2016” Photo by Olivia Harlow
Previous page, clockwise from top: “The Collector”, Urethane resin, found objects, fur, antler, paint, 28x66x32” ; “Hadron Excelsior”, Urethane resin, found objects, paint, antler 18x25x30” ; “Liberty Rot”, Urethane resin, vulture wings, leather, paint, 48x24x28”; This page: “Beast of Burden”, urethane resin, found objects, paint, 25x28x27”
Athleticism // Artistic Expression Local artist, John McLeod, feels the same connectedness between mind, body and spirit when rock climbing as he does when working in his studio. His relationship with the arts and sports proves a surprising relationship between physical motion and creativity. // Story and photos by Olivia Harlow
John McLeod defines himself as an artist, not solely for the work he creates in studio, but for the ways in which he uses his body outdoors. Setting art into motion, McLeod pulls from the same passion and dedication he has as a sculptor to propel himself forward as an athlete. Merging artistic and athletic expression, McLeod believes that most everything we do in this life depends on a strong bond between body, mind and spirit. McLeod learned this connectedness at an early age, through rock climbing. Growing up, McLeod spent most of his time outdoors, exploring how his humanness fit into the world around him. He began bouldering before he even knew it was a legitimate sport, scrambling up large rocks in his back yard and trying to develop better balance and coordination. As he advanced into more technical climbing, he realized that tangibly connecting himself to earth and building corporal strength was much more than a physical activity. It is alchemy of motion and spirituality. It is fluid and meditative. It is an art. “It’s being fully in our own skin, our own body, our own spirit all at the same time,” he said, adding that he feels this way about nearly every
outdoor-related or high energy activity he participates in. “There’s a sense of peace that comes from connection of self and world, but also from tension with intention.” Just as McLeod appears effortlessly graceful on rock, he demonstrates the same serene elegance in his artwork. “I was the little kid in class who was always drawing,” McLeod laughs. “Not only did I enjoy drawing, but it was a way I communicated. It was a little more comfortable for me.” McLeod remembers watching his parents create art, mesmerized by the human ability to make something beautiful from nothing. “There’s a degree of magic I felt in art,” he explained. “I wanted to create that same magic and be in awe of it myself at the same time.” McLeod describes his college journey as a “curved line”, during which he pursued various interests—from biology to psychology and everything in between. Although his academic path was seemingly disconnected and discombobulated for several years, McLeod eventually realized that these diverse subjects all seemed to have one common denominator. Art.
“Art is the way that all of those things can be explored and talked about,” he said, adding that any logic also requires creativity. It was his curiosity of culture and history that lead McLeod to sculpture. And while he’s experimented with countless artistic genres, he says that abstract sculpture feels the most authentically him. “You’re able to show this gamut of human expression,” he said, elaborating on the ways that conceptual sculpture often serves as a metaphor for something more relatable. McLeod’s latest work, Accord, is an abstract set of two sculptures that serves to communicate the strong bond between art and sport, as well as the relationship between body, mind and spirit. Accord—composed of various crescent-shaped steel figures and totaling around 1000 lbs.—was installed outside of Chattanooga TN’s Warehouse Row lululemon athletica location. Coated in vibrant blue paint, “with upward motion and hopefully a sense of togetherness”, Accord represents the fluid sweatlife that lululemon seeks to embody. But with fluidity often comes struggle. McLeod describes most of his art today as a strange contradiction, in which “beautiful and horrible exist at the same time.” Although Accord focuses mainly on the more elegant aspects of sport, McLeod points out that graceful movements often require a unique kind of pain. Since Accord was first started in August last year, McLeod wanted fierceness and serenity to collide. “There are elements of tension in [the statues] but growth from that tension at the same time,” he said. Similarly to the dedication necessary to perform lithe kinetic movements, McLeod’s art itself also necessitates strenuous physicality. Whether he’s using wood, stone or metal, the majority of his heavy sculptures demand active labor behind the scenes.
“One of the things I try to do with a lot of my work is take heavy materials and make them light and weightless,” he said. To create Accord, McLeod spent hours grinding and welding metals to construct what looks like a wispy and ethereal piece of art. “The pieces to me are about a unified mind, body and spirit being a path to peace, both internally and externally,” he said. Whether he’s climbing, sprawled out on a yoga mat, breakdancing, running through the woods or working in his studio, McLeod focuses on the union of physical, mental and spiritual well-being to better himself daily. His passion for individual expression and bold action defines him as an artist wherever he goes. “I’m not just a sculptor. I’m not just a climber. It can be challenging to avoid the safety of defining yourself as one thing,” he said. “If I’m engaging physically in the world, doing things that are spiritual practices, and I’m engaged with my mind through problem solving and creativity, then all of that is a balanced life. Whatever it is, to a degree, there’s art in motion.”
Previous page: John McLeod boulders at Stonefort—a world-class bouldering field located in Soddy Daisy, TN at Montlake Golf Course—on Monday, March 21, 2016. This page: McLeod works on welding a new sculpture series titles “Stone Soldiers”—a trifecta of statues meant to honor those who have fought for freedom and “have gone through deep and life changing hardship,” explained McLeod.
"It's being fully in our own skin, our own body, our own spirit, all at the same time." John McLeod
Photo by Michael Brooks Jr.
A NERDY COMEBACK ; Q + A WITH TARA HAMILTON
Tara Hamilton, co-founder of Chatt Comix Co-Op and ARRO comic artist, takes pride in Chattanooga’s growing interest in comics. Seeking to form collaborative relationships through a shared passion for graphic art and storytelling, Hamilton is in awe of how far the local organization has come since its inception. With a Facebook group of over 100 members and an evolving participation count at bi-weekly meetings, the co-op is undoubtedly making waves in what Hamilton dubs a “nerdy comeback.” (To get involved, come to a meeting—first and third Thursdays of each month, at Infinity Flux on Hixson Pike at 6pm.)
Left: Art and story by Alex Ogle ; Right: “Midnight” by Alex Ogle and Kyle Puttkammer
Excerpts from “Siamese” series by Mike Salter
Giant Robot by Jacob Nagele
“Catharsis” by Gynesis Chrysalis
Q&A WITH TARA HAMILTON Q: What influenced you to start chatt comix co-op? A: I wanted to make a community for artists and writers to work together. Early in high school, I started trying to find a writer to work with me. It took a long time, but I finally found one and it’s magic! [Laughs] I just want other people to find that love and partnership, to share ideas… Q: what is the most rewarding part about working with other comic artists? A: Seriously, this is going to sound stupid, but I really want them to have a good time. Watching everyone enjoy themselves and create together makes me really, really happy. I wanted to meet other comic artists in the area, and what I got was above and beyond what I expected this thing to be in 3 years, right out of the gate! I think having a group that’s a level playing field is nice too. I mean, there are varying levels—Like, we have successful and published comic artists like Alex Ogle, as well as beginners—but in the end, we’re all the same. Skill level can always be improved by simply sitting down and doing it. So, the co-op helps us all develop, while making friends and building community. Q: What first sparked your interest in comics? A: Sailor Moon! I was obsessed with Sailor Moon! I also loved Dragon Ball Z and pretty much anything on Cartoon Network. Later I found out that indie comics were a thing and started buying them up like mad! Finding out you could make comics outside of the 3 main styles was mind blowing! (The three main styles are newspaper, superhero, and Archie.) Q: How did you start your journey creating ARRO? Can you briefly summarize the plot and
explain how the idea has evolved over time? A: In high school I made some really awful comic books. [Laughs.] Eventually I came up with this ongoing character, Jon, for a zombie story. Well, with shows like The Walking Dead and all types of zombie-themed movies out in recent years, the theme ended up not all that original…But now, I’ve got a pretty unique concept with ARRO. ARRO takes place three years after a gene-altering disease found in drinking water wipes out most of North America. The story follows a team hired by the American Research and Recovery Organization (hence, ARRO) to travel across the southeastern United States and scout what’s left of the former world. My first issue came out in 2009. There are three out now, and one coming soon. The next chapter will take place in Nashville, where the group has finally arrived and is trying to restart a grid point. Q: Do you think interest in comics is growing, stagnant or decreasing, and Why? A: Growing! Like zines and records, it is a niche interest with a rabid fan base…I don’t think they’re ‘rare’ or unpopular at all, actually. Things are becoming much more boutique in the comic world, and there’s nothing forcing us to grow out of it. Our generation grew up with a specific cartoon niche, and I don’t think we want to let go. Comics became an art form in the 70’s… The stigma is only for those who don’t think about it. Q: What would you say about the "nerd" stereotype often associated with comic“geeks”?
A: I think a lot of us take pride in that. The word is so liquid at this point. There’s nothing bad about it; there’s no shame in being a nerd.
Excerpt from “ARRO” series by Tara Hamilton and Alison Burke
â€œMy name is Lauren and I discovered my love for macrame around 8 months ago when I stumbled upon a piece on Pinterest. It really just clicked with me, and I seemed to immediately understand the knots, patterns, and techniques used. I went to college for business management, so it has been difficult for me to accept when people refer to me as an artist, but I am slowly welcoming the title. I am excited to see where this takes me and also try out new fiber art forms.â€?
Comic by Tara Hamilton
“Sublet” Birds come and go in holes so often I made a game of it, guessing which can fly into one without clipping their stupid majestic wings. Slugs and spiders are the least of my worries, as long as the 5 of each aren’t slugging or spidering about. The beams are cracking the cracks are beaming, the two pairs of stairs are staring into my girlfriend’s disappointment. Two generations of fleas splashing in diatomaceous earth puddles. squatting moths leaving brackish smudges as they lay dying. The termites twitched away when there was no wood left. I'll likely be forced to leave if my landlord renovates this house, my home, my first choice, my only choice.
Photograph by Jillian Walther
God loves you
God loves you
but I’m meeting friends
but I’m busy
Campaign by 26 Tools (Caleb Ludwick) and Widgets and Stone (Paul Rustand)
As children in Sunday school, we hear, “love your neighbor as
ever have... have i ever shown unlimited compassion to a
not just those i love due to familial ties or long-lasting
without reservation. I want to stop making excuses. i want
the thing is, we all need. we all are in deep, deep need of
God loves you
God loves you
but I don’t
but my kids are in the car
Because God loves us, we can love other people when it’s inconvenient, diﬃcult, and messy. Or even when we think they are. Helping those in need has costs. Let it cost you something. Show Some
you love yourself.” now that i’m an adult, I question if i
stranger ? i want to give of my heart to those around me; friendships. i want to love as God loves. wholly and
to put an end to self ishness and give to those in need. purely warm, radiant, non-judgmental love.
Brief Histories // Sybil Baker 1. Walnut Street Bridge In 1906 in Chattanooga, a white lynch mob dragged a black man, Ed Johnson, who was falsely accused of raping a local white woman, out of his unguarded cell to the Walnut Street Bridge downtown. They beat him and hung him from the bridge. When the noose frayed and broke, he fell, and dozens of citizens shot him more than fifty times just to make sure he was dead. Because Chattanooga Sheriff Shipp had allowed the mob to break Johnson out of jail and lynch him, he was held in contempt of court. The United States versus Shipp case was the only criminal trial ever held by the US Supreme Court. He was tried for contempt of court and found guilty, but only served a few months in federal prison.
2. Eureka Comb Company By the 20th century, John Goldsmith Higgins, a former slave and a respected successful entrepreneur in Chattanooga, owned and operated a string of successful barbershops that catered to wealthy whites. Wanting to leave more of a mark, he developed the Eureka Comb— the first straightening comb for black hair—and in 1907, he received his first patent for the comb. The comb was an immediate success, and Higgins eventually quit his job as a barber to focus on producing and selling the product. However, according to his granddaughter, Josephine Dorsey-Wheeler, Higgins became despondent during World War I because the copper and brass he needed was diverted into weapons for war and he could no longer obtain these materials. Other reports suggest Higgins was worried the US government wanted to take
his earnings through overtaxing him. Another article reports Josephine Wheeler stating that wealthy whites wanted to buy Higgins’ patent, which he didn’t want to sell. Afer sliding into depression Higgins killed himself in 1919, by slitting his neck in front of Josephine. 3. Descendents of the Colony Plantation With dreadlocks, green eyes and an Irish last name, George Conley’s African and plantation roots are undeniable. Documents show his relatives were slaves at the Conley Homestead plantation in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1898 George’s great grandfather Paschal Conley was a Buffalo Soldier in the Spanish American War. George’s father, a paratrooper, fought in the Korean War. He returned to Chattanooga and worked as a “warehouseman”—a deliveryman at a flooring supply company. Even though George’s father worked steadily, he was unable to buy a home for thirty years. Eventually in 1974, when George was a sophomore in high school, his father finally bought a house in Hill City with a Veterans Administration loan. After he graduated from high school, George followed family tradition and joined the army in 1977, spending time in South Korea as an Army Photographer. When he returned to Chattanooga, he was in the ROTC and earned his communications degree at UTC. While at UTC, George met Anita Polk, daughter of Eveline Dorsey Polk, Josephine’s younger sister. *Stories merge* In the early ‘90s, George was hired as one of the few local African Americans as Membership Director of the newly opened Tennessee Aquarium. He and Anita had two children and decided they should move from their comfortable suburban home in Brainerd to a house he’d fallen in love with in the MLK neighborhood. At the time, MLK was thought of as the inner city—a neighborhood known more for its drugs, prostitution, and violence than as a place of black culture and gentrification. They started a neighborhood association, encouraging neighbors to help in a major cleaning up effort, and slowly, with time and effort, the neighborhood started to change. George and Anita have done relatively well in Chattanooga. Dr. Anita Polk-Conley is a tenured professor of math at Chattanooga State Community College. After leaving the Aquarium, George opened a bar called The Chameleon, the first bar in Chattanooga to draw a racially mixed crowd. After The Chameleon closed, George returned to UTC and received his Masters Degree
in English, focusing on poetry. Now in their spare time, the two run Eureka Press. There The Eureka Straightening Comb was first published by Josephine Dorsey Wheeler. After reading the book of a man’s thwarted genius, one can’t help but wonder, what would have happened if Higgins had been white? 4. The Chattanooga Way Chattanooga’s branding as a cosmopolitan city goes back to right after the Civil War when it advertised in Northern newspapers, asking carpetbaggers to move to town, assuring them that the city of Chattanooga had cheap labor and resources. For the first half of the 20th century, Chattanooga was known as The Dynamo of Dixie—home to the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” made famous by Glenn Miller in 1941. However, as Dr. Ken Chilton discusses in his report for the NAACP, “The Unfinished Agenda,” the story of blacks in Chattanooga does not fit in with Chattanooga’s rags-to-riches narrative. Chilton’s report includes a map from the Homeowners Loan Corporation from 1939 showing “redlining,” or the practice of labeling certain areas as investment risks. Those redlined areas—predominantly African American neighborhoods—did not have the opportunities for reinvestment and growth that other neighborhoods did. And as a result, most African Americans in Chattanooga have been disadvantaged in ways that still heavily impact them today. With the decline of the railroad and manufacturing, the Dynamo of Dixie was ready for a fall of both whites and blacks. The downtown was shut down at night. Chattanoogans recall their lowest moment, in 1969 when Walter Cronkite announced that Chattanooga was America’s dirtiest city. Through the 1960s, Ninth Street, which is known as The Big Nine, thrived with black businesses and clubs, with the Martin Hotel hosting acts like Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, Fats Domino, and Nat King
Cole. But, as Chattanooga desegregated and blue-collar jobs disappeared, East Ninth Street began to decline in population and prosperity. In 1980, after protests over a Ku Klux Klan shooting of four women on East Ninth Street, the street was renamed East Martin Luther King Boulevard. As Courtney Knapp writes in her absorbing and highly readable PhD dissertation, Planners as Supporters and Enablers of Diasporic Placemaking: Lessons from Chattanooga, Tennessee, “The economic decline of the Big Nine as symptomatic of the historical and systematic neglect of Chattanooga’s Black communities by the local whitecontrolled and economic power structures. To this end, the roles of professional planners and elected public officials in coordinating uneven geographic development across the city must also be acknowledged and understood.” The city’s comeback and downtown revitalization effort began in 1992 with the opening of the Tennessee Aquarium. Known as “The Chattanooga Way”, private and public sectors worked together to turn Chattanooga around. These efforts have continued with more downtown development, so that nowadays the restaurants and bars downtown and on the Southside are full of locals and tourists nightly. This downtown development has been important to Chattanooga’s comeback. Very few other American cities have been able to reverse decline the way Chattanooga has. Now nicknamed The Scenic City, Chattanooga has a thriving arts, music, and outdoor scene, and continues to garner national acclaim. Thanks to its high-speed internet (EPB), Chattanooga’s latest moniker is The Gig City, attracting startups and other entrepreneurial adventurists to its newly named Innovation District, which edges the Martin Luther King District and downtown. But is it really progress? Some of the historically black neighborhoods such as Hill City (now the North Shore) and the Southside have been rapidly gentrified and are now predominantly white. Other
neighborhoods such as Alton Park and East Chattanooga continue to be mired in poverty and are predominantly black. A recent New York Times article states that 27 percent of Chattanooga’s residents live below the poverty line and that Chattanooga ranks 12th in the nation in income inequality. In addition, Chattanooga has the seventh highest rising rent in the nation, leaving many residents unable to afford housing. In a recent Chattanooga Lending and Banking analysis by the National Community Reinvestment Commission, Chattanooga’s whites had a 64 percent approval rate for loans, while blacks had 50 percent approval rate for loans from local banks, with “Whites receiving 107 percent of loans, and blacks only 36 percent of loans when their proportion of population is considered.” In addition, the analysis also shows that there are few bank branches in black communities, because they are clustered around predominantly white neighborhoods. Chattanoogans likes to think of their town as unique. In 2015, for the second time, in a popular online vote, Chattanooga won the Best Town Ever designation from Outside magazine. It has garnered positive press in many publications in regard to its gig connectivity, the music scene, outdoor activities, and support for the arts, as well as its natural beauty. All of these, plus the city’s can-do spirit, do indeed show why many people believe Chattanooga is special. However, in the October 2015 Nonprofit Quarterly, Rick Cohen writes, “…but what is not special, but rather entirely too common, is the deepening of income and racial inequities in the midst of metropolitan progress. That part of the Chattanooga story is not to be celebrated, but will require foundations like Lyndhurst to redouble their efforts to identify and invest in ‘initiatives, institutions, people and programs that contribute to the long-term livability and resilience of the greater Chattanooga region,’ as the mission of Lyndhurst reads, but aiming toward the uplift and advancement rather than gentrification and displacement of the city’s working class and poor.”
5. The Case for Reparations in Chattanooga In his 2014 article for The Atlantic, The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates chronicles the economic devastation done to African Americans, not just through slavery, but also through the Jim Crow and racist housing policies that continue to this day. During every session in Congress, representative John Conyers introduces Bill HR40 to study the possibility of reparations. Yet every year the bill does not even make it to the House floor for a vote. Reparations in the United States are not without precedent. In 1980, Congress established a commission
to study the legacy of the 100,000 Japanese Americans placed in internment camps in the States during World War II. In 1988, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, which issued a formal apology and gave $20,000 to each of the surviving Japanese Americans who had been interned. Even if Congress can’t agree to study the possibility of reparations to African Americans, Chattanooga can. It’s well-documented that racist policies have adversely affected Chattanooga’s African American communities for years. In March 2016, Chattanooga’s Times Free Press published a series of articles called The Poverty Puzzle. It read, “Across the Southeast, families are caught in an economic trap they can’t escape, and Chattanooga now finds itself at a turning point. Do we gloss over our toxic secret? Or do we prove, as we have before, that nothing is impossible when a divided city truly unites?” Truly, when a divided city like Chattanooga unites, it can address problems that might seem insurmountable. One step could begin with addressing redlining and housing inequities that have prevented those living in the city’s redlined neighborhoods from participating in and benefitting from Chattanooga’s renaissance. In terms of addressing the redlining and housing inequities, several policies have proven successful in other cites and would not be hard to implement. Currently, the city provides housing developers tax rebates in a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. Developers set aside 20 percent of their units, charging rent 20 percent below the regular price to those who make 80 percent or less of the average salary. However, in a city where the average African American family makes less than $27,000 a year, these units are still not affordable, especially with the rapidly increasing rent rates. A similar PILOT housing program in Memphis which allows 50 percent rental reduction would be of more benefit to Chattanoogans. Also, Chattanooga could establish an affordable housing trust fund paid for by hotel taxes, giving loans to finance affordable housing. Another option is establishing Community Land Trusts. Giving grants to women and minorities to start their own businesses would be a small way to offset the grants given to big corporations like Volkswagen. On a positive note, Chattanooga’s Mayor Berke recently pledged $6 million for a new recreation center in Avondale, suggesting the government can no longer ignore the inequities in the city. 6. As of this Writing Near the Walnut Street Bridge at Ross’s Landing is a tribute to the seven tribes sent away on the Trail of Tears, called The Passage. It’s a water walkway and pedestrian bridge, linking downtown to the riverfront, known for its
emotional and aesthetic reminder of a tragic, important time in our history, in which more than 4,000 Cherokee Indians died en route. On the south side of the bridge are two plaques with the names of Ed Johnson and Alfred Blount, both of whom were lynched there. Yet the plaques have no dates nor explanations tied to the names. Any tourist or Chattanoogan would walk by those innocuous markers and not know their significance. As of this writing, a larger marker to commemorate the lynchings on the Walnut Street Bridge does not yet exist. As of this writing, Chattanooga is still one of the top ranking American cities in regards to income inequality. As of this writing, there has still been no discussion about the case for reparations. 7. The History of the Baker Family According to The History of the Baker Family, written and published by my dad’s sister, Helen Baker White, the Bakers arrived from England and settled in Midway, Georgia, in the early 1700s. My great-great grandfather Joseph McRobert Baker was a poet, state senator, newspaper writer, preacher, and slave owner who enlisted in the cavalry when the Civil War broke out. Joseph McRobert Baker’s last existing writing was in 1863 called “A Reminiscence”, written not long before he died from pneumonia. This short piece is told in first person of a delirious man in a Georgia hospital. The narrator hears a man next to him crying out for his beloved, Mary. At the end of the piece, the narrator writes, “In the dim, grey twilight of a cheerless winter morning, I am suddenly aroused by the shuffling of feet along the passage. Two negro nurses, bearing on a stretcher the dead body of some poor soldier, pass along in the oft-frequented way to the “dead house,” in the back-yard of the hospital.”
The dead soldier, who is carried by the black nurses he was fighting to keep enslaved, spent his last moments alone and crying for Mary to come to him. The Baker family loves this piece, but only now, after many times reading this short essay, do I think to ask, who were the “negro nurses”? Why were they working in a Confederate hospital? And did these Confederate soldiers, fighting to keep the black nurses enslaved, understand they had been dependent on enslaved Africans for their own survival? 8. The Other Jeff Davis After the Civil War, my great grandfather Joseph Pascal Baker lived in Georgia, poor and in an unhappy marriage. He divorced his first wife in semi-secrecy, fled Georgia and resettled in Possum Valley, Arkansas. There, he married again and had eleven children who helped him on their subsistence-level cotton farm. During the time Joseph Baker was in Possum Valley, Jeff Davis was Governor of Arkansas. Although of no relation, Jeff Davis did not quell rumors that he was related to Jefferson Davis, the former President of the Confederacy. In 1905, when President Roosevelt came to visit, Davis made a speech in favor of lynching. Never passionate about his farming, JP Baker seemed to prefer his duties a pastor, teacher, and postmaster. And yet, as my dad often noted, for someone so interested in education, none of his eleven children, including my grandfather Elza D. Baker—whose formal education ended in the eighth grade—finished high school. On January 3, 1913, Jeff Davis died. In 1914, World War I broke out, and Elza Baker, an army volunteer, was stationed in Chattanooga. After the war, he returned to Possum Valley, where he married and raised five children, working his own farm. 9. The History of My Father My father, Calvin Baker, born in 1931, the middle of the five children, grew up on that cotton farm, but always dreamed of leaving. While his father offered him some of his own land to farm after graduating high school at 16, his mother encouraged him to leave for larger things. Unable to afford college, he joined the navy, which enabled him to see much of Asia, igniting his life-long passion for travel. A Korean War veteran, my father returned to Arkansas after his tour of duty and earned his engineering degree on the GI Bill. He worked as an engineer, married my mother, and raised three children in a house in Fairfax, Virginia. He retired at 62 with a pension from the company he’d worked with for 30 years and moved into a house with five acres in my mother’s hometown of Clemmons, North Carolina. When he died at 76, he’d lived the American Dream in terms of housing, education, and
economic mobility. After my father died in 2007, I found a slim hardback book titled “Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of Jeff Davis.” Inside, the book is inscribed “In Memoriam Presented to Eld J.P. Baker by The Family of Jeff Davis, 7/7/13.” On another page is my father’s name written in cursive crossed out. And above that his younger brother Stanley’s name also crossed out. My father must have reclaimed the book. His name is written in careful young-looking cursive: Calvin Linton Baker’s Book of Jeff Davis (with Jeff Davis’ name triple underlined). My father never mentioned the book to me, but he saved it for reasons I may never know. For now, I too hold onto this book for reasons I’m unsure of. I
member, Jefferson Hodge, is not the first to point out that “On that mountaintop the all-white residents make 10 times the yearly income of the all-black residents of Alton Park below— $120,000 a year for white residents contrasted to $12,000 for black residents.” Like my father, who benefitted from the GI Bill and the other government post-war policies, I am someone who has benefited from Chattanooga’s policies. As an artist and teacher, I received forgivable loans to move into a neighborhood that was trying to gentrify. And this very book of essays was funded by a MakeWork Grant to write about Chattanooga’s unheard voices, a task so overwhelming that I narrowed the focus to the essays you read here. Although we lost our land and wealth, my family’s legacy of slave owning has never been reckoned with: my great grandfather was allowed to start over without fear of ruin. He, in fact, had Jeff Davis’ blessing. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term “white privelege”. 11. Ed Johnson’s Tombstone
suppose the book is a reminder of my family’s benefit from and acceptance of slavery, in addition to its legacy as a cherished memento of my father. 10. Mixed Blessings In 2007, when Rowan and I moved to Chattanooga from South Korea, we’d saved enough money for a large down payment on a house. UTC and downtown had developed some grants for artists and educators to buy a house in the MLK neighborhood, which we qualified for. In front of our house, which we bought from a guy who had relocated to North Carolina, were the railroad tracks; and beyond that was the National Veterans Cemetery; and beyond that was the horizon of Lookout Mountain, memorialized in Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous I Have A Dream speech: “Let Freedom Ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.” Chattanooga Organized for Action’s board
It’s just a few miles from my house, passed the road formally known as the Trail of Tears, down Third Street, past Erlanger hospital, through the well-kept older homes of Glenwood. I’m beyond the traditionally African American community of Avondale and in Ridgedale, a mostly white suburb with attractive homes and yards. At the edge of this neighborhood is Pleasant Gardens Cemetery, an old black cemetery that is neither pleasant nor a garden. There’s a gravel parking space for a few cars across from neat, middle class homes. No one stops me as I walk past the chain into the cemetery. There are no signs of where to go or what paths to follow, so I wander the grounds for a while. Luckily, I find it, without a placard or notice like those on Missionary Ridge: a grave marker for Ed Johnson. It sits humbly past the main part of the cemetery, in a tiny clearing with a few other tombstones. But the gravestone is there, and on it are Johnson’s last words “God Bless You All. I am an Innocent Man.” When I left the cemetery, a man who lives nearby asked me if I saw the eagle soaring above earlier, with its white throat clotted red from a possum it had killed. I told him I didn’t see it. I was too busy searching for hidden histories.
Sybil Baker is the author of three books of fiction. She is a UC Foundation Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and teaches at the Yale Writer’s Conference. In 2015, she was Visiting Professor at Middle East Technical University in North Cyprus. She has been awarded two MakeWork Grants and a 2017 Individual Artists Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is Fiction Editor at Drunken Boat. Immigration Essays, partially funded by a Make Work Artist Grant, is forthcoming in early 2017 from C&R Press. The essays for the collection started with interviews with local refugees. From there she expanded the essays to include her travels along refugee migration routes and her own experience as an expatriate in Asia. In the collection, she also explores her family’s legacy as slave owners and her own complicated relationship to the income disparity and the gentrification of Chattanooga’s historically black neighborhoods.
â€œKentrellâ€? He got hit when he was walking to the store with his friend one Sunday North Germantown Road East Ridge Chattanooga Tennessee in his right side once and still bled out on the O.R. table, leaving a mother and brother to ask Why
“As a little girl, I would come home from school and change into my favorite outfit, or rather, ensemble. This consisted of a poodle skirt, a red super hero cape, a walking stick from the Smoky Mountains, and, of course, a pair of moon shoes. I’d make up songs and stories to my heart’s content and play with dirt. I was a strange and curious kid. I wrote songs, stories, and fake news articles because I loved words. Not much has changed, really. Now, I am an Environmental Science major at UTC and a Brock Scholar. Although I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember, this spring semester of my freshman year is the first time I’ve received formal instruction. I hope to continue honing my writing skills to help me understand what is going on in world.”
“Locally Sourced” We speak quietly in the new neighborhood. We drink overpriced juice. My glass sweats circles onto a wooden table, a marbled mosaic of leftover pieces of the old neighborhood. Faces grimace in its grain. I point them out to you. The people of the old neighborhood– do you see them? Their wings weary from forced flight have hardened to stone enough to match your stare. I see you weighing them in your mind the way a child rolls a brussel sprout around on his tongue before he spits it out. So, I sift through zip codes like an archeologist sifting for bones among ruins. Proof that “locally sourced” means this table was once someone’s headboard, a place to rest a mind warring between dreams and the shattering. What I find are little chips of stone wings that someone heaved over the last wall built, to keep them in or out? Walls like mountains. All these stones, all these stone faces with eyes unblinking. Black Sisyphuses huddle together around a space heater in cold December– all those stones stacked in government housing quake enough to shake a mountain, no, wake up a volcano. And these stones too will shout.
“Genesis” An old magician was pacing back and forth along the edge of the wood, when two wrens approached him, asked to see his act. “I’m retired! Leave me be,” he huffed and threw his cloak over his face, crumpled to the ground. The wrens giggled at his naked fleshy toes protruding from his cover. One hopped closer to tickle them, but the magician screamed, “Get away or I’ll make you disappear!” Suddenly, the forest floor trembled and the canopy seized, leaves whipped in a whirlwind slinging their tiny bird bodies about. And the Earth split open and consumed itself right there, spat back up little black shoes and the rib bones. When the Earth settled once more, the magician pulled his cloak back from his face. The wrens were gone. He heaved a sigh, hands held up to his face, realized power. He collected each rib bone scattered on the ground, a couple of handfuls of dust,and stuffed them up his sleeve. Then, with a wave of those same hands, he created an audience.
“I was in Love with Picasso’s Blue Guitarist” He would serenade me with waves that washed over both our bodies, lulled us to sleep. And occasionally, a shiver would surge through his arms and seize me. He would pull me into his chest, gasping. I think he dreamed of drowning. First my ankles, then his eyes would gaze up towards some holy meniscus. I see him dancing on the lips of Belize’s blue hole before diving into the next virgin. Maybe he would be born again, but I think he would spend his whole next eternity searching for the caverns of the deepest abyss and the perfect anvil. If he could write laws, gills would be illegal, but the girls, the girls, he played guitar for them back when he was green. But I watch his sunken eyes follow my ankles as they disappear in the surf. I wade toward him dancing the lambada in chains.
Previous page: “Calcium Deficiency” Alea Coble Water color, salt, wax on paper 24x15”
“Mother Earth Building” Alea Coble Acrylic paint, National Geographic prints collage on canvas 24x15”
“A Sticky Situation” Alea Coble Colored pencil on poster board 24x15”
“d&A” Aaron Cowan Illustration
Photo by Olivia Harlow
“My foolish heart” I wish I were a cloud, Suspended in peaceful bliss, Not bound by the laws of nature. Old age. Gravity. Alive and free. Oh my foolish heart! Even the life of clouds darken, Become deafened by the roar of The Beloved's voice, And struck by his untamable power. Yes even a cloud goes through seasons Of living above and below optimal conditions. I can't escape turmoil. Life will always have its hardships, oh foolish heart.
“Nightmare Suit” by Aaron Cowan
“LoneHawk” Whitlock’s “Dark Arts” ; How He Sees the World
Dark Art... I got the term from Chet Zar, when I first visited Copro Gallery for the All Hallows Eve event in 2014. It was the first time I had seen work and a gathering of such artistic endeavors. A piece had been on my mind, so I built and wore it to that show. I didn't know what to expect as it was a spontaneous journey to Santa Monica. I had painted images for years and hadn't really gotten what I was seeking, along the lines of "grabbing" an onlooker’s attention or pulling something from myself that felt powerful. It was at that event that it finally happened. I knew then that this was what I was wanting to do with my artistic creative side all along. My masks seem to cause a sense of awe in some people. A sense of fear and dread in others. The skulls I use help give me direction when I'm making them. They "speak" with me as a process towards the final phase. My pieces touch on a person’s shadow side. Perhaps my art stirs a sense of recognition with them of the next realm... I'm not sure what they do to people, but for me they make me feel alive, and I put a lot of my heart and energies into creating them. I use the term “Dark Art” mostly because of Chet
Zar. He noticed what I was making. And he has given me a couple of opportunities to show my work and be seen amongst some extremely influential artists. I'm forever grateful for that! Dark Art for me isn't about hex or negative magical connotations. It's about working with a being that has passed and then turning it into a piece of art that can change the viewer’s mood—their perception of life, if only for a moment. I want my art to find its way to the warriors, the shamans, the seekers—those who meditate at higher vibrations. Life is about death. It is inevitable. But it is also about living and recognizing our potential of both Light and Dark; Yin and Yang. Without darkness one cannot see light, and in essence, darkness will lead you towards the light. The descriptions and definitions of Dark Art should also include the positive, and that is the light exposed through darkness. Everything is alive and everything will perish. I use the old structures from a life passed and build a form of art with it. Some will see it and appreciate it; others won't, and that's ok. I'm not trying to build something to fit a certain decor. I'm building something that resonates with with a person's soul.
“UNPLUG” By Laura Jane Walker IMMERSE YOURSELF. Plan the trip. Buy the ticket, find the trail, get the map. Surround yourself with languages you don’t understand, cultures that are new, whether native tongues or bird calls or trees or desert landscapes. Wake up among the dying hemlocks and the budding rhododendrons. Let your feet dance over pine needles and pebbles. Admire the smallest signs of life, the water bugs dancing on still pools of water, the waterfall sneaking around the corner of your campsite. Watch the sun set, observe the moon rise, wonder why the stars look different from here. Listen to the varied sounds of nature, whether robins in the Southern pines or staccato rhythms of Spanish in the dusty mountains of Argentina. Allow the quiet to move in… Let go of the chatter in your head, the noise of daily life. You’ve done the work, completed the tasks. Put the phone down, take photos with your eyes, forget about being connected with your technology box and think about connecting with yourself, in this space, right now, and right here. Unplugging is an action. It’s your own meditation, a reflection of what’s inside. It means finding space. It’s letting go of attachments, however great or small, and allowing the outside to come in. Welcome the sense of adventure and wonder that comes with immersion into nature, into foreign lands, or even in your own backyard where lightning bugs transform the landscape.
"I don't know why it won't turn on, I just know that it won't turn on!" Jack Currey Ink on bristol 6x6â€? Comic on previous page by Tara Hamilton
Rise in darkness, the sun kissing the horizon, rays a hazy hue in the distance.
Small, black birds flew toward the electric pole, Flower petals fluttering with the rhythm of the wind. Claws touched wire, like dominoes they fell, Wrapping around the plastic rope.
Car tires graze pavement, a false attempt at enjoying the scenery. Mist hovers atop trees, across grassy fields, along surfaces of water, lingering: puffs of clouds on the ground. The sun peaked higher, its orange glow slicing through the fog like a knife, lighting the hidden. Cows dip in and out of the mist, switching between dreams and existence. The vapors begin to scatter, evaporating, watery air, moisture in oxygen. The magic fades, cows grazing on warm, green grass.
The breeze blew cool morning wind, Crisp against ice-covered car windows. As if seeds scattered the ground, The small, black petals dropped down to the grass, Like dead flies: straight, flat, quick, Their bodies stiff and cold. As claws touched the morning mist, Blades of grass bowed beneath them. One touch to the ground, and the bird’s bodies Shocked back into life, Scattering around, pecking at the ice drops. The mechanical beast still sleeps, Frozen by icy wind, Awaiting the sun to warm its plastic mirrors.
The mechanical beast sleeps once again, tires worn and stagnant, destination met in a rust to reach reality.
“Life was different before technology's pseudo-social "connections". The poems Tuesday Morning and Thursday Morning are a similar conversation about isolation; exploring the odd relationship we all have with the world while inside our vehicles.” -- Kayla Cloonan
“Repulsion, Repulsion” Who cares about civilization when it’s not a civilized nation? Anticipating great changes but still taking vacations Living on living on living on loans How long can you collect artifacts you’ll never own? Endorsing false heroes with private lives we cannot condone; It’s compulsory happiness monitored by company drones Material plenty tied tightly around the neck But still walking to work cos I drank my paycheck No warm water therapy can make me sit still So I’ll be another volitional swallower of the pill Tranquilized living governed by guilt-driven giving The chill of expectations is now somehow fitting While living in Wonderland, protect all your pleasure-plans Maintain the one-man-band; don’t let anyone hold your hand Entitled to comfort and love on the side But we learned it from TV, so we dare not confide What Jennifer Aniston told us in our youth If everyone wants you, then no one will you the truth 50% hearing seals you in a vacuum A perpetual blindspot; a longevity tomb I’ll wake up at 45 and ask who took it from me But I know the answer already at 23 (Sent from my iPhone)
Maura Friedman. Former multimedia journalist for Chattanoogaâ€™s local newspaper, Times Free Press, Maura recently relocated to ATL to continue her creative journey. This photographer, videographer and writer wears many hats, throwing her talents into every corner of imagination and dedication to her craft.
Top: Cousins play at a family Mother's Day gathering. Bottom: Ryan sprays his son Malachi with the garden hose in his mother's backyard.
A member of the Chattanooga Ballet stretches before a rehearsal for the Nutcracker.
movement of heart : cambodia A collection of photos and writing by Olivia Harlow
Lotus, A Spiraled Spine : Cambodia’s past, present and future move in spirals, strengthening the country’s backbone to become; to grow. Today the Cambodian people choose to rise from ashes, not denying their country’s turbulence, but using the heartache to metamorphose; to dig their roots into murky waters and reincarnate on the buds of rebellious lotuses. I pass a blur of pink, so bright that it oozes energy and illuminates in my eyes: Hundreds of lotus flowers, their blushing petals reaching from puddles of brown. Vibrant rosy buds twirl with massive blooms, filling gaps that were once dull glops of bubbling mud. Fighting their way into the light, these geometric fauna extend themselves from radiant jade-hued stems, covering any exposed dark and gritty bits of mud with gargantuan leaves. All at once, the place from which they grew is overtaken with a full garden of powerful magenta flowers, bursting into life. It’s rainy season here. Monsoons pass through, releasing a tap-dance of raindrops in the wake of night, setting banana leaves beneath a glossy effervescence. Cattle graze, thick mud like a trout trying to swallow their kneecaps. With failed drainage, flood pools torrent through undulating pastures, exposing secrets of what once was. Human bones come unearthed beneath the cows’ hooves, baring themselves raw with horror. Sprawled across the paddock, fragments of unidentifiable joints, jaws, and backbones rise with each stream. Across the way is the Choeng Ek Genocidal Center, better known as “The Killing Fields”, where Pol Pot lead the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, killing 1.7 million Cambodians. Nine miles from the now bustling city of Phnom Penh—with its high-rise towers, boutique hotels, posh swimming pools and five-star cuisine—this haunted place is a reminder of the past, present and future; a token of what was and what may never be again. What was once a progressive Southeast Asian country with impressive arts, schooling, agriculture and trade, is now a broken place. After the genocide, Cambodia was forced to re-start, still scarred by the aggression and incalculable evil that had just stripped them of their pride. Only thirty years later, the Cambodian people are doing the best they can to push
forward. Yet, even still, every single native alive today either knows someone who was killed, or knows someone who knows someone who was killed; the interconnection to Khmer Rouge is astonishing. During the genocide, Cambodian people suffered unfathomable horrors, forced to work more than fifteen hours a day, attending to demanding labor in the brutal sun; starved to a point that many of them risked their lives in the middle of the night to scavenge for rice grains in the dirt or hunt beetles between corn stalks; separated from their loved ones, pretending to be strangers to wives, brothers and sisters. Under watchful eye of soldiers, the people were constantly in fear of bullets; for if they were too slow, they were worthless; and if they were too fast, they were a threat. Finding a mid-point was impossible. Terror was everywhere. Today, Cambodia strives to re-claim its identity, but they are far behind. And while the rest of the world quickens its footsteps to the beat of modern life, Cambodia can’t keep pace. With all intellects wiped out, repairing the education system has been extremely difficult; and because fear persists of another genocide, politics remain corrupt and the incentive to leave the safety of family farms to become educated is low. Nearly every facet of social and cultural identity is lost, and the Cambodian people are forced to turn to “first world”, “developing” countries for ideas on how to proceed. While Phnom Penh is growing in many ways, there are still toddlers begging in the streets. There are still men abusing their wives and sleeping with their children. There are still bribes within politics, allowing criminals to go unpunished and the innocent to be charged. There are still families of eight or more stuffed into small huts without beds or food to eat. There are still robberies and shootings and stabbings over logging and illegal fishing. There are still small girls forced to work in sewing factories under terrible working conditions. There are still stick-thin pre-pubescent boys attending to construction, walking barefoot through piles of broken glass and nails, hanging from three-story buildings without any form of safety equipment. There are still teenage women and transgender young adults being raped in the streets and sold into sex trafficking. And while these nightmares are a lesser-known reality in the larger cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, there is a stark contrast in rural areas of the country. The further a tourist goes outside of a typical “tourist zone”, these truths become increasingly noticeable.
The country is suffering, similarly to much of the world. But tourists don’t blink an eye. Mainly because they don’t allow their eye to see. They hide themselves from it, feeding a dangerous type of ignorance. Oblivion. They lounge around in the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, drinking pricey cocktails by the swimming pool. They eat expensive curries at Ramdeng in Phnom Penh and explore the Angkor Wat temples, giggling in the back of their tuk tuk. And then they might pay their way into The Killing Fields, in awe of the pains these people have experienced, still unable to truly
deceased, preparing the next layer of land for execution. Tiers of massacred individuals lay beneath each tourist footstep. Hand-woven bracelets dangle from the surrounding trees, and handwritten notes are folded into the creases of wrinkled branches. Incense is burned in memory, aromatic spices wafting through the post-rain humidity. Prayers fill the trees—the only living creatures who kept eyes open—now traumatized from the nooses that once hung from those same branches, suffocating the throats of innocents. Butterflies zig-zag through the sweet scented blossoms. I pray for this country. For its stories and the story it’s
comprehend such gravities. They leave saying, “That was too sad.” From a glass-filled stupa, 8,000 human skulls tower over visitors at the execution and burial site of Khmer Rouge victims. The soccer-field-sized land contains deep-set cavernous graves, packed with over 20,000 dead bodies. Without a proper burial, a large number of workers were lined up in rows and shot behind the head, falling into pits they’d dug earlier that morning. Soldiers would then force onlookers to lay dirt over the
creating at this very moment. And I pray for those who visit. I pray that tourists from around the world won’t simply pay a dollar for an incense stick, but that they, YOU, will take a moment to understand what that practice actually represents. I pray that you will not ride elephants who are beaten in secrecy and forced to carry multiple passengers in a heavy saddle for endless hours. I pray that you will be friendly to waiters and waitresses and support local vendors. I pray that you will eat street food and drink street coffee; try
something new. I pray that you will research orphanages, since a lot of these children aren’t orphans at all and are instead being exploited by families for tourist dollars, which is only further perpetuating dependence and corruption. I pray that you will cry for the beggars and show them love, but keep your dollars in your pockets, because handing over dollars from a transport implies you are “white savior”. I pray that you will stare at the temples with awe, respect, and religious appreciation. I pray that you will interact, connect, and build authentic relationships. I pray that you won’t complain about the lack of clean water, hot water, or the cockroaches scurrying across your floor—especially in front of people who live under these conditions daily. I pray that you won’t enthusiastically proclaim how “cheap” something is, when most of those who surround you cannot fathom paying a couple dollars for a meal. I pray that you will think through the power of words and attitude; I pray that you will try to see how they see you. I pray that you will open your heart and fall completely in love with this place, just as I did. Because here’s the thing: While Cambodia has undeniably been through a lot, they are stronger than anyone seems to comprehend. They’re more alive than most of the world. Don’t feel sorry for them. Don’t mourn for them. Instead, encourage them. Love them. Let them have their dignity back! See the pink oozing from their pores; the flowers growing in their veins. Witness the jubilance, the overwhelming joy. It’s ironic, isn’t it? That the most impoverished places in the world, by our standards, are the richest in love and happiness. Money will never purchase bliss. All of life’s best things come without a price; they are simply a choice. And Cambodia has chosen to rise. They have come from the ashes; they have busted through the mud; they have sought the light. Recognize their journey; revel in their metamorphosis. Walk through the knee-thick mud, and press your heart to the lotus.
WHY do we create? "There is an examination of wants and needs, cycles and self-reflexivity in the context of expanded adolescence; drive, desire, violence , victory, struggle, failure, and growth. To examine one's self is to learn, change, and grow.”
Aaron Cowan, Swine Gallery "I am discovering that my current work has become an avenue from which I am "rewilding" myself, Making up for lost time through invention and subconscious recollection.”
Matthew Dutton, Sculptor "Shaping materials with your hands is exerting a degree of control over the unconcerned universe. Paintings can give form to the hidden mpulses, subconscious imagery, and flashes of insight which constantly bombard the mind. I'm driven to make images because I can express mystery and meaning directly, without the burdens of language.”
Myles Freeman, Painter “When I’m on assignment or making test portraits, or when I wake up in deep, moody light, I try not to work. I try to stay inspired; to make frames that interest me and remind me of the images I want to look at.”
Maura Friedman, Photographer and Writer “With a background in Photojournalism and Journalism, I've always tried to focus on communication. I ask myself, 'what does my photography and writing communicate to the viewer, the reader?' Honestly, on a larger scale, I believe that's what art is all about: Communicating. Every piece of art carries a message, a meaning. Maybe not always to the person who sees it or reads it, but to the one who created it.”
Olivia Harlow, Photographer and Writer “Self expression has been pivotal in my growth and understanding of this journey I have been placed on.”
Seaux Chill, Poet “I started writing as a way to unleash myself on something.”
Vaughn Stegall, Pote
WANT TO CREEP? HERE’S THE CONTACT SHEET Sybil Baker www.sybilbaker.net @sybil_baker Hollie Berry www.Art-Instincts.com @ArtInstincts Katie Brobst www.etsy.com/shop/KatieBrobst-Designs @katie.brobst.designs Michael Brooks Jr. www.dribble.com/michaelbrooksjr @michaelbrooksjr Chatt Comix Co-Op www.facebook.com/groups/chatt.comix/ “Seaux Chill” @SeauxChill Gynesis Chrysalis www.facebook.com/oooGurlYouDrewThat/ @oooGurlYouDrewThat
Myles Freeman mylesfreemanart.com Maura Friedman maurafriedman.com @maurafriedman Olivia Harlow “Liv” olivia-lee.org @o_harlow Tara Harris arrocomic.com Dallas Jones thoughtandvision.blogspot.com Elizabeth Lawrensen www.soundcloud.com/dalahastmusic @oppositeharmony Caleb Ludwick 26TOOLS.com @ludwick_five
Ben Schnell schnell.io @benschmo “Seven” @theartistseven Bonnie Scoggins @thebonniepotter John Somerville jcsomerville.com @jcsomerville Nicole Song vignetteco.com @nicole__song Vaughn Stegall @vaughnstegal John Stoehr @johnstoehr Lillie Stubsten
Graham LePage Kayla Cloonan @kcloonanart Alea Coble ventoriuosveranda.wordpress.com @birdsong_originals Aaron Cowan aaroncowan.net @aaaarist Jack Currey @oualms Matthew Dutton www.mduttonart.wix.com/matthewdutton @mduttonart Eva Fournier www.craftevalution.com @CraftEvalution
Simon Lillard pleasedontpleasedont.bandcamp.com @smn_llrd/ John McLeod www.johnmcleod.net @john_mcleod_056 Ann Marie Miller www.forestorbitals.com @forestorbitals Tony Mraz www.tonymraz.com @shotgunbubblegum Jacob Nagele www.behance.net/jacobnagel25af Alex Ogle www.alexogle.com @alexogle Paul Rustand www.widgetsandstone.com @widgetsandstone
Savannah Jaye Thomas SavannahJaye.com @SavannahJaye Laura Jane Walker ladyelljay.wordpress.com Jillian Walther jillianwalther.com @JillianWalther “Lonehawk” Whitlock @lonehawkwhitlock23 Lauren Wolfford wolffordswonders.etsy.com @WolffordsWonders
SPOUT is a local, progressive, arts-focused magazine, meant to inspire fearless imagination and a fluid exchange of fresh ideas. With divers...
Published on Oct 14, 2016
SPOUT is a local, progressive, arts-focused magazine, meant to inspire fearless imagination and a fluid exchange of fresh ideas. With divers...