Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jacob Owes Us

                                          Jason Van Hoose Photo

To view the 2012 Lemon Grove Kickstarter Campaign, click the above link. If the video doesn't appear, scroll down the page slightly and click 'Campaign".

 174  people contributed to the Lemon Grove Kickstarter for a total of $11,435 dollars. I was paid $2,500 from the Kickstarter for the creation of the Mural.  I donated $2,500 worth of my time and resources toward completing the mural, making it a $5,000 project.
About one quarter of the Kickstarter monies went to fund the Mural. The Mural was one of the clearest, obvious symbols of the campaign.

  -This Mural was a Community funded Public Arts Project. It has this heading in the Kickstarter Campaign. Mr. Harver had to agree to certain legally binding obligations when using Kickstarter services. The Kickstarter video, in essence, is a legally binding agreement between Mr. Harver and those who donated to the Campaign.

 -Mr. Harver states in the Video that the Lemon Grove is a community and culturally centered organization and that your Kickstarter monies would be supporting this endeavor.

-When we financed this expensive, professionally rendered Mural, we had the reasonable expectation that it would remain intact for a significant period of time.  Every mural that I have painted had a minimum lifespan of 10 years. I would not have painted the Mural had I known that it would have such a painfully short lifespan. Typically, by their nature, murals are expected to be on display for a considerable amount of time.

 -When you donated to the Kickstarter Campaign, you entered into a legally binding agreement with Mr. Harver and you have a reasonable, legal expectation that your money and the products gained from that money would be protected and handled responsibly.  

-Destruction of the Mural was NOT an option.

Art always increases in value. My reputation as a professional artist continues to grow and my work in general is increasing in value. Initially the value of the mural was $5,000, based solely on its production costs. However as time went by, the community and the art world in general placed a higher and higher value on it. At the time of its destruction, I placed a $20,000 value on it, but perhaps I am underestimating. A professional Art Appraiser can make an informed value judgement.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Slaughter House

 Several Months ago, when it appeared that Bar Rescue was coming to the Knox building, I had many  questions and concerns. I was assured that the Mural would not be destroyed unless BR wanted to do major renovations such as removal of the drop ceiling to expose the 15 foot high antique, tin paneled ceiling.  
 The general plan presented to me was that there needed to be a clear separation between Martini Brothers Burger Bar and Lemon Grove. It was thought that the separation, with the help of Bar Rescue, would generate significantly more money. This would then lead to more financing for the third floors where most of the arts and entertainment activity was occurring. The money would finance a new mural for the third floor as well as the renovations needed to bring it up to code for use on a full time basis by the public.
 From the time Dan Martini opened the Burger Bar, there were conflicts of interest arising in a variety of areas. He often felt he was being penalized by the reputation of the Lemon Grove and it was important for him to have an unique identity. I wholeheartedly agreed. But it was nearly impossible for us to do it by ourselves for a variety of reasons, particularly financial and interpersonal.  We had to have a skilled, unbiased, outside mediator with money to handle the challenge.
 Enter Jon Taffer, a person who has all the skills of a butcher and the charm of Jim Jones. He had the look of a guy who had waaaaay to many years in the bar business. With my psychic vision I could see the demons hanging off him like massive, slimy, black leaches. 
 At the Lemon Grove 6 Year Anniversary Party, we did our best as artists to bring authentic content, to exert pressure on Dan, and to demonstrate to BR and Taffer the conflicts between these two successful businesses. I am certain they gained more than enough quality material to create a great TV show. Artists of Youngstown know all about debauchery and we pulled no punches. There were cameras everywhere, capturing endless supply of dramatic images and behavior, typical of every Lemon Grove party I've ever been too. We would have had full frontal nudity if Taffer hadn't arrived to break up the party and chew out Harver.
 I could not attend the entire BR shoot as I had other obligations, but I did spend many hours on set, on camera. This was one one of the most stressful, surreal, dehumanizing experiences of my life. Television reality shows are nothing but a goddam slaughterhouse, and I speak with authority as I worked on livestock farms and considered attending meat processing school. Having the mural painted over reminded me of seeing a beautiful, prized calf take a sledgehammer blow to the head. Cold. Brutal.
 And they did it simply for the the drama, symbolism and ratings. There was no actual need. The mural could have easily been covered with gray fabric or paper and the same purpose would have been served.  
 When it was all over I questioned Jacob and Dan about the monies for the third floor. Jacob was evasive and Dan was dismissive. In reality, Jacob will soon lose all credibility as a cultural promoter, artist and rational human being once the episode airs. It is horrifying for me to see what he has become and to see this perverse transformation happen so rapidly.  
 There will be more blog posts soon.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Mural Destruction/Bar Rescue

 The destruction of the mural Cosmic Lemon Consciousness, Knox Building, is the sole responsibility of Jacob Harver. He made the final decision. I DID NOT give him permission to destroy the mural. I think that when the episode of Bar Rescue airs, you will be appalled and horrified by how it all transpired. 
 Recently my work was shown in a major gallery in a major US city. It was quite a coup for me to get my work in this show and it required a great deal of resources to pull it off. Jacob attended and I appreciated that, as he is one of the very few Youngstown people who has actively supported my art career. At the end of the evening he and I were talking to the shows curators, 3 professional young women with many significant art connections throughout the country. When they became aware of who he was, one woman said, "You're the guy who owns the Lemon Grove! We've heard ALL about you!"  A chill ran down my spine.
  As I have been traveling over the past two years to different galleries and art venues, I came to find that many people, particularly young women, had heard about him. Many of them were art professionals that I depend on to promote my career. They are some of the best people in the world. I need them to support my art career and not think badly of me. In the art world, reputation is absolutely EVERYTHING. An artist is is expected to be complicated and problematic, but certain things are absolutely not tolerated. The part of the art business world in which I operate is dominated by women.
When I left the gallery I was sick to my stomach. I disappeared into the crowded street and left him standing there.
 For many months I have been pondering how to make a clean break from Jacob. The big question was how would I do it so that everyone across the United States would hear about it and I could start anew. There needed to be a very clear and obvious action that would signal to the art world that Harver and Van Hoose are no longer associated for ethical, personal, artistic and professional reasons. How could I possibly make this happen?
 Then along came Bar Rescue. With the destruction of the mural, Jacob will most likely be seen as a   money grubbing, art hating monster on national TV.  I don't think anyone would have any doubts. Additionally, should I continue to associate with him, I would be black balled from the arts.
So there you have it folks. My freedom has come at a very high price and the whole thing aint over yet!