Three Words

Three Graffiti WordsAbstract art is dream like. Both are foggy and full of potential. These great graffiti works I stumbled upon last week have some literal meaning in there. After all they are words. But I can’t penetrate their meaning so they remain foggy to me.

I have a particular dream that is full of potential. I’d like to teach fine artists how to support themselves using business skills. In my typical unrealistic dreaming way I see it more than casual meetings at coffee shops. But a full fledge school with studios and dorms on a campus.

When I was nineteen and entering college I went to a fine art program to avoid the office. It wasn’t until I was out of school and using a computer to do book design that I thought about business and money beyond paying for rent.

Twenty years later I’ve worked in numerous offices, started my own physical business, and served on several economic development boards. It’s not a group of experiences I expected to have at this point in my life.

My dream is to adopt a new business language outside of the MBA program. Mainly to help young creative people obtains skills to support themselves in our violent capitalist society. I just don’t believe opting out of business completely is an option. At some point we are all confronted with trading cash, physical or digital, for something such as rent.

Red Door with Tags

19970695216_89449b8aa3_cOn the way to meet a friend for coffee I walked by this door. I had to take a picture of it. Because my cell phone camera is shit I had to do a little editing to the photo. So to reveal the magic I will say this red door isn’t this bright red in real life.

I recognize the style of tag on the the very top of the door. It has this angular square handwriting style. Other than that I have no idea what any  of these tags mean. I’ve heard that they can be symbols for gangs. I have no idea. I just appreciate them for their aesthetic beauty.

To me this door is as beautiful as any painting by Franz Klein. He was a abstract expressionist out of NYC. Klein’s work was really a study of formal aesthetics. Stuff like color, texture, stroke, shape, line, etc. It’s fun to look at something that way and try not to read into it.

We are all hyper literal jerks sometimes. I certainly believe we can blame the Internet. Why not? It’s easy to blame this powerful force for everything. Doesn’t mean I don’t love the Internet or that I will stop using it.

For some reason most folks have a really hard time not seeing ducks and bunnies in the clouds. Our brains have evolved to make sense of everything we experience. Especially the visual. In the 21st Century we are inundated by visual imagery like no other time in human existence. Especially the kind of imagery that is man made or in the case of deep dream made by artificial intelligence.

I think this red door is a excellent example of public art. While it was most likely not commissioned but tolerated. Why? I bet it’s because the owners of this door know that within 24 hours of repainting the door there will be fresh tags and marks. Taking the old tags away only eggs on the artists to make more. By leaving the tags it makes it harder and harder to add more. It forces the taggers to write over their fellow artists work. A much harder social act than marking a virgin canvas.

As I edge towards the border of pretentiousness, if I haven’t already crossed it, I’ll end with this. Carrboro, North Carolina is a great place that tolerates and supports the arts in some really interesting places. Especially for a Town of it’s small size. This style is threatened a little more each year with the more new expensive properties with out of town owners that won’t let expression like this happen. I bet marks like this that show up on Greenbridge a block away are gone in a heartbeat.

My Writing

Here is a collection of writing I’ve done over the years. Some of these were written for blogs and others were published in newspapers. These are the ones I’m most proud of. Not because of their flair. But because I was able to get across one or more ideas I really cared about. Check back because I’ll update this list over time.

Last edit: July 13, 2015


Adopt a Local Happiness Index, February 2014

Why Sprawl Kills Coworking, May 2013



Various posts on the Orange Politics blog

If you want local news to survive make it mobile, November 2012



Bricks and Clicks: Hybrid Local Businesses, August 2011

High-speed Internet must be a part of Carrboro’s infrastructure, January 2009

Even More Architectural Inspirtion


The project Ermitage is from the Parisian architecture firm Septembre.

I really like the simple shapes and the bare plywood interior. I might add a thin white wash to the walls. Something to keep them fresh through time. Add a tiny kitchen and bathroom to this design and you might be able to live in it full time. Bravo!

More pictures at the first url.

1947 Studebaker 2 ton truck

Architectural & Automotive Inspiration – Tiny House Truck

I’ve been daydreaming for awhile about building a tiny house on wheels. A lot of them are built on trailers. Makes sense. This way you can tow it with whatever truck you want. Seems smart to be able to decouple the vehicle and stow the house in a small spot.

But for some reason I’m really fascinated with permanently attaching a tiny house to a flatbed truck. Part of the reason is my love of cars and trucks. I’ve been working on them on and off since I was fourteen. Lots of stories about those days. Another time. Another reason is the sculptural possibilities and the travel nature of it. More RV than shed out back.

You may have noticed I put images up here to keep a record of my inspiration. Here are two more.

I want to put a tiny house version of this awesome church…

2014-11-02 13.42.40

Love the curved ceiling! Like an old Roma caravan.

2014-11-02 13.42.29 2014-11-02 13.42.36

(I’m pretty sure I found the images of this church on the Facebook blog Abandoned, Old & Interesting Places – North Carolina.)

On the top of a old truck like this.

47Studebaker2ton-front 1947 Studebaker 2 ton truck

Truck image source

Now to save the money. You could help by giving me a grant to get the truck. ;)

My New Job at Caktus Group

I am very excited to announce that in early October I start my new job at Caktus Group in Durham, NC. It’s a new position at Caktus with a newish mission. How’s that for vague? :) Once it’s launched I’ll tell you more.

This is a very positive step for me that will have a profound effect on my life in many different ways. For starters I’ll be working in downtown Durham and be able to bike to work!

I have a lot of respect for the folks at Caktus. Ever since they worked at my business Carrboro Creative Coworking I’ve been impressed with them. They’ve steadily bootstrapped a successful business with great style. The founders Colin Copeland, Alex Lemann, and Tobias McNulty are talented technologists with big hearts. The Caktus team does a lot more than make web apps. They build social good via open source software here in North Carolina and in Libya, Zambia, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq!

Caktus Group is a team that I’m really proud to be part of. Stay tuned for more details!