20150825_134512Note: This the very first blog post in an on-going series that will highlight free art wherever we happen to find it, all over the U.S. and the world.  Because, after all, art should be free—and you should know about it!

I hadn’t seen my dear friend J (name truncated to protect the innocent) in ten years. A decade of not being in touch—how in the world did this happen? We both pondered the passage of time over plates of homemade raspberry cobbler last August. Shane and I were crawling our way up the California coast in Via Allegra, our twenty-five year old RV, and decided to turn inland a bit, making an impromptu stop in Sonoma county where J now lives.

The cobbler was delish, mind-blowing really, and made by her hubby (who was at work, or else we both would have hugged him) from fresh-picked berries that grew wild and wholly all over their backyard. J had gotten married to said cobbler-expert husband somewhere along the line (where was I?) and they had even bought a house a few minutes from Sebastopol, California with a little bit of beautifully raw, forage-ready land attached to it. J seemed happy and content, despite some recent transitions in her life. And lucky for us, she had the day completely free and was delighted to play host to a couple of wide-eyes mountain folks ( i.e. Shane and I).

 

20150825_135623After licking every last little bit of cobbler from our plates, off we went in J’s car, past neat rows of emerald green vines shimmering in the summer heat, curly-cueing themselves around deliberately placed rust-colored wooden slats.

It was wine country after all.

We talked about where we wanted to have lunch as the picturesque country road wound its way into town. We decided on Thai food, in homage to J and I’s many late-night feasts at the now defunct Thai Foon restaurant in San Diego, where we first met.

Then J got mysterious.

“Okay, guys, we’re just going to make one little stop before we hit the food,” she said. “In the meantime, see if you notice anything unusual here on the left as I round the corner.”

 

Just as she said this, the street curved around and we were face to face with a larger-than-life statue of a bee, looking

photo credit: Kat Tyson on Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/478085316665941233/

photo credit: Kat Tyson, www.pinterest.com/pin/478085316665941233/

a bit woozy, sporting free-flowing wire antennae, brown-black stripes and a canary yellow body.  A few more twists and turns and J stopped the car right next to, uh yep, that would be a life-sized skeleton riding what appeared to be an Indian motorcycle.

Just Some Fun, Funky Art Stuff

J has taken us to Florence Street, a famous Sonoma county free art destination, featuring the colorful “junk art” of local residents Patrick Amiot and his wife Brigitte Laurent. Apparently, it was a perfect creative match from the get-go; he sculpts and she paints. Am20150825_135228iot started making junk art in 2001 and currently there are

over 300 such sculptures all over  Sebastopol.

I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Mark my words, however, we will be back to Sebastopol. Besides another visit with our dear friend J, we can’t wait to see more FREE recycled art from Amiot and Laurent!

 

 

 

My Favs…T Rex!  20150825_134802   And, of course, Man Eats Car…  20150825_134955

 

Just Chillin’ With My…Toothpaste?  20150825_134921

 

 

Do we look like this when we travel?  ….

 

 

And now for some more Florence Street pics (without the commentary, thank you very much…): 

 

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20150825_140747 20150825_140518 20150825_135010 20150825_134617

20150825_134533 20150825_135319

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20150825_135336 20150825_135700

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Even More Junk Art Info:

Patrick and Brigitte’s Official Website

Patrick Amiot’s Junk Art Carousel commissioned by city of Markham, Canada

Florence Street article in the Sacramento Bee

More Cool Junk Art Pics on Pinterest!

 

What is YOUR favorite FREE ART haunt? Comment about it in the box below and share the artsy love!