Ortiz Park, known as the Dog Park, is at the foot of a ridge that overlooks the center of the city and beyond to the mountains. During the lives of two dogs, I have walked this place over 1,000 times but I don’t know how long this outdoor gallery has existed, just a few yards from my usual path. How apt—that this odd beauty hiding in the chamisa evaded my designer/artist eyes even as I was probably looking right at it. How often we walk through life, oblivious to what is veiled by distraction and a chattering mind.
I don’t know who is making these whimsical and imaginative pieces from found objects, placing them on the property line overlooking the park and the city. Most pieces are constructed from rusted metal and stone, with some glass, tin and weathered wood. They stretch from the Japanese Internment Camp Memorial to the benches where dogs play and owners watch the sunset. The artist is constantly changing the pieces, re-arranging, moving, adding and subtracting, experimenting anonymously. I am guessing that the artist lives in the spacious home past a gated driveway which angles up the hill from the road. I imagine this artist has a studio in the big home, cranking out simple imaginings for dog walkers to ignore or to linger over. Or maybe I’m making it all up.
I like to think it’s someone kind of famous, but maybe not. Maybe the artist shows “indoor” work somewhere, or maybe not. I could press the buzzer on the gate. I could leave a note wedged into the gate touchpad, “Who are you?” I could do nothing and keep watching the pieces change. It doesn’t really matter who is offering these tributes to discarded bits from the arroyo, facing them towards the golden evening sun. I’m just glad I noticed.