Archive for January, 2011

Raymond & “Disability”

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Object found in one of Raymond’s toolboxes.

Every once in a while, a person will come into Thunder-Sky, Inc. and not know who Raymond was.  He/she will survey the gallery and then wind up in the “the Raymond Room,” where we have some of Raymond’s work on display, as well as some of his tool-boxes and clown costumes, and a big photo of him.  A lot of times the first or second question he/she asks is:  “What was his disability?”  Or:  “Was he ever diagnosed?” Or even:  “What was wrong with him?”

People read you by the way you look, of course, and Raymond in photos has a look for sure:  stubborn, mischievous, a little scary to some folks.  Plus the clown outfits, the construction hats, the stone-cold edge he developed inside his eyes to warn off people that wanted to mess with him.  His self-created “construction-clown” personna interferes with the way we often automatically label with our gaze, searching the face in a photo or in person to find ways to connect with, recognize, or (more often than not) relegate to a category called, “Not me thank God.”

Raymond challenged you to break away from the way you pigionhole people in much the same way a drag-queen does:  using a blend of style and substance to allow people the opportunity to question the way they see and the way they make meaning from what they see.  Also like drag, Raymond used costume as armor, solidifying his true self into a carapace as hard and shiny as a helmet.  He used a tool-box, flourescent orange road-wide-worker vest, construction hat, construction company logos, and a clown collar in order to merge worlds most people would never merge, and from that hybrid he was born:  a serious workaholic clown, a show-biz construction-worker, a no-nonsense street artist.  His image and identity helped to forge a beautiful myth, and yet ironically the myth also allows people to ask questions like, “What was his diagnosis?”

As far as I know, he was never diagnosed.  He just needed some help getting to the doctor and paying his bills.  He was very capable, and like most of us wanted to deny that he needed help.  His biggest accomplishment, of course, is the work he did everyday of his life, drawing upon drawing upon drawing.  But also that character and image he created stand side-by-side with the drawings:  they are a package deal. 

Raymond was a clown/construction-worker making art on the street.  And unlike a lot of “street artists” championed today, he was not a part of a club or in search of a secret society to join.  He never really pursued the spotlight or even seemed to need it.  He was just out there, with his clipboard, markers and ruler standing in front of a demolition site, and when someone told him they liked his work he said thank you and would often stop and walk away.

Most of the time when people ask what his disability actually was, I just say I don’t know.  Let’s leave it at that.

One woman on Facebook, when I posted this photo, commented that it “creeps”her out because “he looks so much like John Wayne Gacy.”  So yet another way to relegate.  What are you going to do? 

Opportunities for Reconciliation

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“Wilma Mankiller,” Bunky Echo-Hawk’s portrait of the famous Native American leader, will be a part of “Bunky Echo-Hawk:  New Works” at Thunder-Sky, Inc., opening February 25, 2011.  Bunky is an incredible example of a contemporary artist using his heritage and talent to place a spotlight on Native American history and culture.  We want to support any initiatives and conversations happening locally as well…  Below is the start.  If anyone else has any other happenings concerning Native Americans in the Cincinnati area, please let us know…

From George Hardebeck, of ARCHE (Arts Restoring Culture for Healing Earth), two great opportunities to “go Native…”

Our next two conversations:
All who care for these topics are also welcome. Please RSVP with the venue host.

Wednesday, January 26th 2011, 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.
MBR & Associates
424 Findlay Street, Studio 2B
Cincinnati, Ohio 45214
above Carl Solway Gallery
Ring second bell from top
RSVP Mary Barr Rhodes, at

How might we realign our Central Role of The Arts, from our primal and vast generations: to restore culture to healthy human-natural community – ecology; recognizing and reconciling damages done, and rebirthing our ancient richly renewing life?  


Saturday, February 19th 2011, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Dater Montessori Nature center
2840 Boudinot Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45238
RSVP with Susan Vonderhaar, at

This conversation is especially for Nature, Cultural and Arts Educators, for those in Green Building, Landscape Architecture and Health, and for stewards of Public Lands & Spaces.  Family members of the school are welcome, along with those who wish to explore reconciliation and restoration for our region to planet. A related art and writing project for children, will be available during the meeting.

NATIVE PEOPLES are especially invited to join and guide us as our cultural elders and leaders in our meekness toward life, in this journey of reconciliation and restoration.

Antonio Adams: Yesterday and Tomorrow

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Antonio Adams, “Common Surprises Day,” acrylic on wood panel, 1.5′ X 2′, 2009.

Antonio Adams, “Super Serious,” acrylic on wood, 1.5′ X 1′, 2009.

Antonio Adams, “You Can’t Be Serious,” acrylic on wood, 1.5′ X 1′, 2009.

Antonio Adams, “Terri Schiavo The 60s,” acrylic on canvas panel, 1′ X 1.5′, 2008.

Antonio Adams, “New House,” acrylic on canvas, 1′ X 2′, 2008.

Antonio Adams, “Mirror Object,” mirror-tiles on painted wood panel, 1.5′ X 1′, 2009.

Antonio Adams, “Bang in the Bomb,” marker on paper, 8.5″ X 11″, 2007.

Antonio Adams, “The America We Trust,” marker on paper, 8.5″ X 11″, 2007.

Antonio Adams, “We Are Moving into the New House,” acrylic on canvas, 1′ X 2.5′, 2008.

Antonio Adams, “The New Marcus Feisel,” mixed media, 10″ X 1.5′ X 1′, 2008.

Antonio Adams, “New Day,” acrylic on wood panel, 2′ X 4′, 2008.

Antonio Adams, “Yesterday and Tomorrow,” acrylic on wood panel, 2′ X 3′, 2009.

Reviews about Antonio Adams’ work:
April 2006 (Citybeat Newsweekly [cover story], Cincinnati, OH)
July 2008 (Nuvo Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN)
April 2009 (Citybeat Newsweekly, Cincinnati, OH)
July 2010 (Citybeat Newsweekly [cover story], Cincinnati, OH)
September 2010  (Cincinnati Enquirer)

Antonio Adams’ biography, resume and more images:

Antonio Adams, Artist

Raymond Thunder-Ice

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Friday night Sculptor Tom Tsuchiya unveiled a beautiful ice sculpture of Raymond Thunder-Sky, to celebrate the opening of Bob Scheadler and Mike Weber’s “Ice Ice Baby” exhibit at Thunder-Sky.  What do you do with an ice sculpture after the party?  Place it outside and take a lot of beautiful photos of it…  I hope the weather stays cold for a long long time…   More info about Tom’s work:  Tom Tsuchiya.

“Raymond Thunder-Sky” Ice Sculpture

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Sculptor Tom Tsuchiya created an ice sculpture of Raymond for the opening of “Ice Ice Baby:  New Works by Bob Scheadler and Mike Weber” January 7, 2011…  It was the center of attention all night.  Another beautiful way to remember him…


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