Painted Trees, a Salida original

I am very excited to share with Salida the experience of my painted trees. These trees made their debut back in 2005 on Tenderfoot Mountain, during which time I denied any involvement, yet enjoyed the anonymity of creating these pieces I also took pleasure in seeing folks finding their own delight and personal ownership with them.

So, flash forward to 2011, I was privileged to bring a painted tree with a whole crew of Salida folks to the Burning Man festival in Nevada. It was there that I found the voice or the symbol that these trees represent. I posted a plaque at the site which read something like this: Nature is already so beautiful and full of such depth and grace, it is NOT my intention to mask or enhance it in any way.

• These trees which were once dead are now vibrantly alive. It is this rebirth which I wish to inspire

• We as humans all have dreams, visions and ideas which make us uniquely who we are and somewhere along the line these beautiful things may have died.

• As you view this piece I wish for you to visualize the person (or yourself) that you can commit to hear their dreams and breath life back to them in a practical way. Once you have a person in mind, break off a small twig or portion of these trees as a reminder of your devotion to that person

• It is essential that we take a risk in the commitment to move ourselves into a deeper relationship with those we love by speaking and bringing a helping hand to fan the flames of inspiration.

Since that time out on the desert my personal life has gone through some big changes (to say the least) and now I believe that I am to present these painted trees and the meaning that they represent to inspire this town and then to the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to share this during the lighting of the “Christmas Mountain”, since it is the time when we as a community are all together. It is my intention with this experience to inspire a personal commitment to another. Our gifts to this community can be expressed in a wide variety of ways, some can come as a one time offering or can grow into a lifetime of gifting. The gift is to be personal and creative yet real and practical. No one needs to know what your promise is, only that you have a painted twig that reflects your awareness to those around you.

I am hoping for great creative things to happen with all of us as we move into this next new year. I would love to hear your personal stories of how these trees have inspired you so that I can share them on my web site. Thank you Salida.

Curtis Killorn

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4 Responses to “Painted Trees, a Salida original”

  1. Melodee Hallett

    As the city moves towards an art task force who will screen public art, I would like to remind people that art isn't just about giving someone a pleasant site, but can be something that creates discourse. Artists often step outside the box and or blur the lines of acceptability in order to give the viewer something they may not have thought of themselves.

    If the city wants to put themselves out as a creative district, the city might be cognizant of the artists who live on the edge. Allow the artists to fullfill their creative endeavors with a tolerance and acceptability for their ideas and art. If we put up too many roadblocks, it will chase away those who have a flare for pushing the envelope. This also means an acceptance among their colleagues.

    I heard numerous comments on both sides of the fence with the painted trees. For myself, I appreciated the thought and work Curtis put into the trees. He certainly stepped into territories that challenged the system and boundaries.

    Melodee Hallett

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    • Jimmy Descant

      Melodee, maybe you can answer what I can't get from staff. When will the permanent public art commission be taking applications? and when will the 3rd Creative District sign/sculpture call for art got out? After the first 2, they decided that they would wait for the task force to finish their 6 months work, then put out a call. That last $3000 and installation money belongs to an artist. Thanks, you can email me also

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