Friday, February 21, 2014

Back at the Slabs

I paid a brief visit to Slab City this past October. After exploring Salvation Mountain, I drove around a little, feeling like I was intruding, not knowing what was considered proper behavior, wondering if my presence would cause trouble with the more secretive and suspicious residents. Besides, the flies were pretty bad. So I moved on.

Between then and now I learned about an artist colony there: East Jesus. It was founded by Charlie Russell, who died a few years ago. It's now run by as much of a board of directors as a group of antiauthoritarian artists can hold together. They also have a website that provides behavioral guidelines for visitors.

So I emailed East Jesus about spending a few days with them. They were welcoming, so I decided to go. When fellow van dweller, Lesa, learned where I was going, she wanted to come along. So here we are. (And that's three uses of "so" in the same paragraph. Not good.)

Besides turning junk into art, East Jesus is experimenting with low-water vegetable gardening and has a very impressive solar power system. They use composting toilets and recycle/reuse as much as they can.

Guests are asked to contribute an hour's labor a day. No problem. They can have more if they want. The rest of the time, we're free to work on our own projects.  There's a stockpile of scrap materials we can use in our art.

I've been carrying around art supplies but I've had no desire to use them. My need to make art dried up a few years ago. It's rather sad. I thought a place like East Jesus might get the old juices flowing again.

Well, after being here a day, I've started having artistic thoughts again. Not great ones, but sufficient for me to want to make some stuff. I don't know exactly what, yet. But that's not important.

I started the morning by cleaning up some litter in the area around my campsite. Old papers, wrappers, foil, bits of plastic and metal... Hmmm, I could do something with this. I'll start small, see where it goes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all of the photos. I want to visit so badly but for some reason we haven't made it there.