Saturday, September 6, 2014
Alton Anthony Fairley, aka Picasso
Coach Fowler's wife, he thinks her name was Karen, gave him art lessons back in '72. The years between then and here on the sidewalk have seen him in Detroit mostly. He's been back in Mississippi for seven months now and living at what he calls the projects. "Where are the projects?" I ask.
"Well. They used to be the projects. Now they're called Quail Run Apartments. I teach art in the main office over there. Started out in my and my wife's apartment with four kids. Then within weeks we had twenty so the management said we could use the office." He talks like he paints. Fast. This mural he's creating is going to take him about three days.
I find out he was commissioned by the owner of the building, J & B Athletics. They showed him a piece of paper printed with what they wanted. What he saw on that paper he then began free handing on that wall facing the main thoroughfare, across from the courthouse and city hall.
Later I ask him how we'll stay in touch.
"Do you know Ruth?" He asks.
I smile and nod.
Today I am grateful for those rare moments when you know you found some piece of a puzzle. A clue, a hint, something so right you don't even care if it can be explained. You just know that somehow, in some very precise way, it fits perfectly into a much grander picture.