San Rafael, CA
The Story Behind “397 + Rising” There is a moment when a creative idea springs up and we are faced with the choice of taking action. The backstory to this project was that my pool sprung a leak last summer. To repair it, I would have to empty it, seal the cracks and then re-plaster the surface-- at considerable expense. I found myself feeling guilty using 10,000 gallons of fresh water to re-fill a pool that we rarely used during the fourth year of the California drought. The only problem is that an empty pool is the worst eyesore possible with leaves, debris and other objects of dubious origin finding a home there. One morning, I found a skunk sleeping in the deep end who looked right at me, daring me to evict him. So that moment of inspiration popped up one day as I was taking a hot tub. Why not kill three birds with one stone? Save water, paint an outdoor mural (something that I had always wanted to do) and illustrate what I think happens in our society with (what my friend Kirk Schneider calls) “polarized thinking” around our rapidly depleting resources, water and energy being prime examples. I thought about how the drought is affecting California and what we need to do to adjust to the new reality of diminished resources. I asked myself if re-filling this pool really made sense. I wondered if the era of private pools might be coming to an end. So, I saw this as an opportunity to take action—in some small, personal way—to address climate change. For me, “flipping the pool” from being a symbol of what may become a water extravagance into a message of water conservation seemed timely in both a personal and planetary way. This artwork is a representation of how we got here, what the impact may be and the choices that must made. The title (“397 + Rising) references the amount of carbon floating around our atmosphere in parts per million or ppm. As such, it is one of the best ways to measure climate change. On September 9, 2014, the exact figure was 397.4 ppm. Not only is the level rising but also the rate of change is increasing. We are on a path to a very grey planet unless we reverse course and GO GREEN! Patrick Gannon October, 2014
I am a clinical and performance psychologist by profession and an amateur painter. I have enjoyed art since childhood and used to skip school to visit museums in NYC. Fifteen years ago, I started painting after experimenting with photography and lithography for several years. I found that I enjoyed painting original reproductions of art work that I would love to have in my collection but could afford to purchase. Diebenkorn, Thibault, Warhol, Richter, Lichtenstein, May Ray, Picasso--all my favorite paintings--my representations of their work anyway-- now hang in my house. I like to say I have learned painting from the masters.
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