Be My Guest / Spreading The Love / Week 9 / Day 3
Sounds shared by Sarah McKemie [ Look Here ]
Al Bowlly - The Very Thought of You
Original words by Heather M. Braatz [ tumblr ]
Something about Solve
For almost six years now, I’ve been meaning to write something about Solve. Solve was a Chicago street artist. His work was prominent in the stretch of streets from Logan Square to The Loop. Most people who have walked through Wicker Park or Ukrainian Village, and the the adjoining areas, stared at the back of a stop sign, or been privy to one of the secret silk-screener shows that plume at places like the Country Club or Clothes Optional, if those places still exist even. You may have seen Solve’s work, whether you know it or not.
I have never met Solve. I may have sent some words of admiration his way on Flickr twice or thrice. But, I never really talked to him. Once, when I was too socially inept and tired from art school lectures, I failed to enter the entrance of “Hello, My Name is Chicago,” a street art show many years ago. I biked there, it was out of my way. Instead, I strolled down to my local bank, to use the Automatic Teller Machine. Out front, tucked into one of those gates that people chain their bikes to, meant to keep trees safe, except that this gate has no tree, right there was a Solve print tucked into the gate’s bars. A screenprint of two wolf-heads, one of them painted over with a dash of blue, as if it were a fuckup, the other unmarked one the correct representation. I looked left, right, and tucked the thing into my bag. Take it if you want it, huh? I wanted it.
I sent Solve a thank you message internettally. I always meant to go to one of those shows. It’s just so thick with the clique, you know? I went to a show at Rotofugi once, BFFs or somewhat, and must’ve pissed them off when I asked for a light. How was I to know these were militant non-smokers? I have biked all the way down from Roger’s Park, and had too much air in my lungs. Just to look a fool and shake in my boots. Ah, well, man up, right?
I don’t know if I met him then, if so, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what he looked like. If he was nice, or aloof. If he hated smokers, like Blutt. Whatever. But he was a good artist. A lot of good artists at that gig, I knew that much.
A few months after he got killed, I had this terrible fear of meeting the murderers. Yeah, they are murderers. Why? Because they murdered a dude. Anyway, they are old friends with my ex-boyfriend’s crew. All of our ex-boyfriends, their whole senior class. One of them even worked down Damen at some panini joint. I figured, sooner or later, I’d be at a show or some party, and run into them. One of the murderers, maybe the diabetic one, or the other, more insidious one. Or both! Who can tell about these things?
I had all these stupid fantasies of standing up on a coffee table and pointing a finger and screaming “MURDERER!!!” Until either my then-boyfriend dragged me out of the room, or the criminal in question tackled me, intending stabs, or they’d try and lunge after me but I would duck, they would miss, and they would go careening past me through a shattering window, defenestrated, everyone rushing outside to see them skewered on a wrought iron fence. Or else, everyone would get all silent and uncomfortable, like whenever mature circumstances are brought up in real-life.
I don’t know what I would do if I met Solve’s killers now. Probably ask them why. And how.
If I had been killed, in an alley after a show, right after having drank some beers with my friends and enjoyed some true art, I would hope that some complete stranger chick that I had never met would, if given the chance, say something to the assholes who had done me in. Even if we weren’t friends, even if the only connection we made ever was an indirect transfer of a piece of paper with a mistake picture and words on it.
I mean, really, it’s the least a guy can ask for.
postscript: Dear Brandon Scanlon— Rest in peace, stranger. And thanks for the wolf print.