Street Arrow Series

From my first series on a collected subject — the name says it all. I photographed my first Street Arrow in 1978, and spent 20 years photographing, then painting them using acrylics and watercolors. I also drew and printed many full color lithographs of this series during my years as Master Printer at Magnolia Editions, Oakland, CA. The last painting in this series is “Island Arrow”, circa 1998. The Artist Statement I used then is still relevant today:

These paintings are based upon actual sites collected from around the country over two decades. My continual fascination with road surfaces and street arrows provides a perfect vehicle for expressing some favorite interests in imagery: the balance of black vs. white; figure vs. ground (literal ground); color vs. monochrome.

Arrows are among the oldest of human symbols and are found in cave paintings, in ancient cultures around the world, and, of course, on present day streets. To me they represent commands, guides, and weaponry as well as the inevitable phallic references. These symbols seem to move in accord with the directions they imply, i.e., like visual onomatopoeia, they appear to do that which they describe — swimming across street surfaces.

—Rick Dula