A digital sketchbook

Kerouac Night, New T-Shirt Design Contest

The bi-annual Kerouac Night was a smashing success at the Flamingo Sports Bar this past Saturday. The poets and live bands brought their fiery passion to the fore upon a small front porch stage.  Enjoyed meeting new faces and seeing some regulars at the event planned around the anniversaries of the famous beat poet, Jack Kerouac's birth and death. Someone usually brings a cake and the mood is celebratory and never somber. It's quite the scene if you've never been, come and check out the next event in March. Or just stop on by the Flamingo Bar to shoot pool, have a drink, or check out my mural in the parking lot. There is an interactive game to play with that mural, find the initials buried sneakily into the background.

The Friend's of the Jack Kerouac House Charity have been gathering money for years and negotiating with members of the Kerouac estate to purchase and preserve the local St. Petersburg, FL house Jack lived in, which has stood practically untouched like a time capsule since his death in 1969.  T-shirt sales are a big part of how this 501C-3 charity collects donations. 

I will be hosting a design contest for fresh ideas on the traditional Kerouac shirt. The famous "mad ones" excerpt from the novel "On The Road"  remains on the back. The front of the shirt is open for a redesign contest: two color design in Black and White, without the portrait of Kerouac, something that evokes his spirit, journey or unique style. Calling all artists to submit work either in person or via email ( james@artbyjamese.com ) deadline is December 1st 2017. File types excepted are .png, .jpeg, .pdf, .psd and vector files. Dimensions 8.5 by 11 inches.  Top three finalists will receive a prize for their efforts and compensation for the winning design, subject to final approval by the FOJKH Charity board.  The new shirts should be available for purchase at the bar by the holidays.

Please help to spread the word about this shirt design contest to any artist you know of, both near and far.  Jack Kerouac is a part of the often untold history of St. Pete, events like this one, run by a grassroots charity help to breathe new life into understanding the roles artist played in shaping the tradition of expression in this city.  By looking backward we can appreciate the past more and illuminate what the future holds for the next generation of artists, writers and "mad ones."

SHINE Mural Festival 2017

Much anticipated return of a local mural festival happens this weekend.  Biking around in the mornings has to be one of my favorite parts of the day.  I was able to take some pictures of the first artist at work in the streets, bumping her music, sharing the groove on 17th Street S.  Of course being able to see the eventual, final product, a powerful finished image, one of twenty or more being done in less than two weeks is just amazing. An experience that just witnessing moves me like the energy of a live concert. Feeling blessed, and looking for positives and inspiration in a week of bad news headlines.  So the timing of the SHINE festival, moved back from the September dates of last year, couldn't come at a better time for me personally.

Hopefully the announcement that SHINE will also be doing smaller paint projects on electrical boxes around downtown during and after the festival is intriguing. Where do artists apply to get in on the action?  It would be fun to share in the joy of local artists getting a chance to paint their style onto a smaller canvas and beautify the city with art.  Having seen the results in Decatur, GA of how gorgeous and thought-provoking art is when it covers everyday objects, trashcans, crosswalks, electrical boxes, even MARTA overpasses.  Public art helps us connect with our surroundings and community, something we could all use more of.

Find more at their official IG and Twitter account @SHINEonstpete