The Public Family, August 22, 2011

The Publics, August 22, 2011, by Jim Public
The Publics, August 22, 2011, by Jim Public

That’s me and JPW, the tall ones in the back. JPS is the short one with the silly grin, and JPG is showing us her demure smile.

So, Facelife continues to come together. I have always hated approaching people without having anything to offer. This has been a problem for me in dealing with the gatekeepers of the art world, and in fact it is my experience in the arts that informs my distaste for having little or nothing to offer to someone. Artists want other people to show their work and help them to be successful. We hang around receptions and weasel our way into parties and dinners so that eventually our big break will happen. Hanging around artists for long enough, one starts to feel that they see you and everyone else as potential ladder rungs that they may step on as they climb to art-stardom. I’m all done with that.

Which is one of the reasons why I’m focusing on my community and not on my superiors among the cultural scene. So, back to Facelife, when I introduce myself to the people in my neighborhood, I want to have something real to offer them as a gesture of goodwill. I also seek a life in which the facts of daily living and the less tangible world of art can blend into one. And, I have stumbled upon just the thing to unify art and life! With the permission of each person/household I meet, I’ll snap a photo of them, make a drawing, scan it for my records and my blog, and give the drawing to the subjects as a gift.

As I try to build my audience through my blog and other activities in the community and on the web, I’ll be showing these drawings and sharing a little about the characters in them as I get to know the people around here. I feel that giving the original drawings back to the people who made them possible is the neighborly thing to do; it’s a gesture that I hope will embody my appreciation for the role that they play in this Facelife experience.

The above drawing of the Publics is a prototype. Mine is the first of the 227 homes in the neighborhood to be represented on this blog.


  1. James, I love this drawing! I think I will print it out and hang it up to remember you all by–we miss you! Also, I think your idea for drawing your neighbors is really excellent, and inspires me to meet more of my neighbors, although I will have to resort to baking over art…

    1. Thanks. I’m hoping that by the time I’ve drawn every (willing) one in the ‘hood, I’ll be able to return to the Publics and do a little better on the resemblances.
      Good luck with the baking for neighbors. Call it Facebake! Drawing strangers makes them think you’re a psycho, while baking for them makes them think you’re trying to poison them. I don’t know which of us will have it worse:)

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