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By John A. Barry

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About this blog: I am the creator of trAction Painting, a process/performance genre in which paint is applied to large surfaces with bicycles, roller skates, and other wheeled conveyances. I have produced works on canvas, plywood, particle board, ...  (More)

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Summer Camp, Day 3: Little Shavers

Uploaded: Jul 30, 2014
After some residual skainting, we break out the scooters—a couple of Razors, each outfitted with a plastic bottle suspended above the front wheel. The bottles have drain cocks, enabling us to control the flow of paint to the wheels.

At first, individual riders take a turn as we switch colors from time to time. Next we graduate to "dueling scooters"—one kid on each, weaving and bobbing to avoid hitting each other. As with skainting the day before and earlier today, most everyone wants to go over and over.

When each kid has had at least one pass, we go to a relay approach: two kids make a few passes and then turn the scooters over to the next two in line. As the 90-degree-plus day wears on, the duct tape holding the bottles in place begins to go slack; sometimes the drain cock is positioned over the wheel, sometimes it migrates to the side. In the latter instances, we get some nice thin lines and pointillistic patterns. You can see the tag team in action at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24IQjzOpJac&feature=youtu.be (You'll have to copy and paste in the link to see the video because the Danville Express linking is broken and takes you to creepy Mark Cuban's website. Sorry.)

Still some gesso showing through, but we are rapidly filling the canvas. Tomorrow's finale will bring out the mountain bike with 20-inch wheels. Larger tires require a greater turning radius, so the smaller bike is more maneuverable. A bracket I designed holds the paint dispenser directly over the front tire. I'll ask the kids to keep that tire in motion so we don't end up with either a series of straight tire tracks or endless figure-8 patterns.

We'll knock off a little early, allowing the finished painting time to dry. . . shouldn't be a problem, as this ongoing heat wave shows no end in sight. Then we'll do a brief postpainting analysis of what we created over the past four days.

I'll have my final on-scene report tomorrow.

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