Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hawkman Supports NoMi Art - and Vice Versa

Post and photo below by the Hawthorne Hawkman. Above image from Pat Carney's Northway Community Trust 2010 FLOW photo album.

"What do you do to support the arts?" was a question asked of Senator Linda Higgins and Raymond Dehn during their contest for the DFL nomination. The questioner seemed to be looking for an answer about what each candidate would do to support some kind of arts programs. And although I supported Sen. Higgins, Dehn gave what is perhaps one of my favorite answers I've ever heard a candidate offer:

"Well, I buy art."

We have an abundance of art in NoMi, from the renovated Capri Theater to the Northside Arts Collective, to FLOW, to a photographers' studio in Hawthorne, to splendid works by the Goddess of Glass (including windows at Dr. Otieno's office on Broadway), to The Warren in the far reaches of northern NoMi, and even a rather famous poet resident, Bryan Thao Worra - not to mention various youth programs. And the best way that you or I can support that art is to patronize those places or buy from those artists.

Go and see a play or a concert, buy a painting or a book. Hop over to the 42nd Avenue Station for some music. We can support our own artists in our own community and not wait for some state program to prop them up. I did just that when I asked Ken Farkash to paint "The Hawthorne Hawkman," shown above.

Like all iconic superheroes, this painting has an origin story, which begins...

...when I locked my keys out of my car. Really.

One Friday night, I was leaving my car and my keys fell out of my pocket. I didn't notice until the instant after the door was shut that they were lying on the seat. I called up my good friend Connie, mainly to vent about what a boneheaded maneuver I had just pulled. She got in touch with Ken Farkash, and they both came over to help me break into my own vehicle.

Under almost any other circumstance, I would have been happy to find out that my car is of a high enough quality that one can't just pop the lock open with a slim jim. But just the once, it would have been nice. We spent maybe an hour, with each of us trying the apparatus on all four doors. I was in the midst of contemplating which would be less expensive, a locksmith on a Friday night, or tossing a brick through a window and repairing that on Monday.

"I've got an idea," said Ken, and he went home to pick up some of his tools he uses for painting and other artwork. In order to avoid posting a "here's how you break into my car" manual all over the internet, let me just say that he used a welding rod in a rather ingenuous fashion, and presto! My car was unlocked in seconds.

I was so impressed, both with Ken's artwork and his PERFECTLY LEGAL and ultimately harmless break-in skills that I immediately told him I wanted that particular welding rod to be incorporated into a piece of artwork, and I'd buy that from him.

Once again, here's that painting. Like DaVinci's "Last Supper" or something Bjork would wear, the piece is rich in symbolism.

The central figure is of course the artist's rendition of the Hawthorne Hawkman, complete with an "HH" on the belt buckle. Ken was thoughtful enough to make him look like my favorite comic book character, Daredevil (who, interestingly enough, pretty much dedicates himself to one particular neighborhood). The aforementioned metal rod is incorporated as asked. The HH stands triumphant over illegal car repairs, as he fends off evil phone books, and of course the house needs no explanation. All of this happens with the Mississippi River nearby and the city skyline from Farview Park - both highlights of the Hawthorne Neighborhood - as a backdrop.

Thanks Ken, for your contributions to NoMi art!


  1. He most certainly is, which is one of the reasons why I did this post.

    Also, I neglected to mention Homewood Studios in my list of great art resources we have in NoMi. So they get their own link in the comment section.

  2. When I saw the painting in the background, I thought you had acquired some sort of picture of Batman when he's turned into a knight on the Brave and the Bold. (Like this.) I was excited because I love me some Batman :)

    I'm liking the new blog, btw. Very informative and enjoyable to read. The links are kind of hard to read on the white background, though. Just a smidge too light.