Old School

The spotlight is a searchlight oscillating left to right and right to left over Old Skool Ray’s pose. Ray holds still for seconds during the recording of a long exposure. His mastered mechanics are second nature like the way he freestyles over beats. His punk-rock attitude takes a slight break as the electronic dark chamber closes the shutter. The slight blur creates a ghostly appearance, he is there and then he isn’t. The use of a flashlight explores light as a spray paint with imperfect overspray. There’s a sense of crime and/or question of legality to the picture as if there’s a police officer on opposite side of 14th’s one-way street looking for nightly perpetrators of the law.

Underneath the overarching branches of the jacaranda tree is a symbol of grace. A motion in cessation. Ability in patience; green leaves backlit by tungsten street lamps dripping like hot candle wax. Flicker down the skate plaza’s runway between ramps. Something will sticker. Lines overrun smooth boundaries and spectators looking at ‘Ghetto Park’s fun have worn down the grass into patchwork. The portrait reveals his carver and cutter core. He’s clutching the skateboard, an indy grab, crossing his right arm above his left foot on the tail of the skateboard, an old school formation called the ‘Boneless’ from the late 1980s.

Ray instructs the young skaters a host of old school skateboard tricks while he’s speaking fast, rapping lines, peaking creativity. If you’re close to this you’ll enjoy the persistent sound waves. Who shows up at ‘Ghetto Park’ is different most times. Locals only. A legacy is left for those who have gone before and those who will move forward. What could be accomplished by practice seems boundless in the area where gang war crimes set the neighborhood tone. Two yellow posters are stapled to the trunk of the jacaranda tree warning of the beehives built during the spring. If you’re around or climb the tree there’s a good chance swarms of bees will sting the threat. Homeless are rescued from these unpredictable streets across Pacific Avenue and 14th Street. Men and woman move away from their brief layovers. Just outside of ‘Ghetto Park’ there are folded blankets, pillows and belongings piled up at the base of a jacaranda tree where they can keep an eye on it.