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This project will fund a multi-state road trip for research and documentation, in my effort to capture the perfect essence of Sears.
This project will fund a multi-state road trip for research and documentation, in my effort to capture the perfect essence of Sears.
This project will fund a multi-state road trip for research and documentation, in my effort to capture the perfect essence of Sears.
339 backers pledged $16,237 to help bring this project to life.

First Sears

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Probably a bit of an anticlimax, but here it is. The first finished Sears painting:

(Somewhat larger version viewable at my website.)

I wasn't intending for this to be the first Sears out the gate. It's not entirely indicative of where the rest of the painting series is going, at least in terms of style--it's very flat, abstract, there's no logo (it's a Sears defined by the absence of Sears). But it does represent a very unique moment that was captured on the trip. In a way, it's the reason *for* taking the trip.

It was day #2 in the Detroit area. We'd gotten pancakes with my old college pal Rosie and were cruising around the Grosse Pointe area google-mapping for a Sears. And then there it was:

"Are you... replacing the sign with a new one?" I optimistically asked one of the workmen. 

"Oh no, whole store's coming down."

My biggest regret of the trip/life was not asking if I could take an S.

I could write more about how weird and desolate and falling-apart-y Detroit was, but instead I'll try to remember what Rosie had to say about living there. It was something like, "Basic services and structures have failed here. You can't rely on local authorities for anything. So instead you find yourself relying on your neighbors. People look out for each other. In a way, it's a better community than anywhere else I've ever lived." Later that day, at a different Sears that was both still in business and had an auto center, I went to get a tail light replaced. The service desk actually tried to talk me down from paying $30 to have them do it, to paying $3 for just the bulb and doing it myself. So maybe there really is something about the post-apocalypse that brings out the best in people.

(I'd been thinking about how best to tell 'the story,' so I think this is how I'll do it: a chunk at a time, one story per painting. More to come!)

gabriel temme, Alex Suter, and 10 more people like this update.

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