Benjamin Ezra Deckard,
Illustrator, Songwriter, Peace making Piece maker
Over the years shoes have been a sore subject. I buy online now, which has it’s negatives, but I spent years not finding many options in a size 14. It’s true that as an artist it’s important to be able to defend your aesthetic choices since we are expected to be the experts.
We also have to not wear our nicest pair when we are painting etc. So I have a few pairs of dad shoes that look boring, but feel good. My latest is a pair of Custom Vans Hightop’s. On the heels I added text, “6 Foot 6”. People ALWAYS ask how tall I am.
And yes, I have always been big. I was 11 lbs. 7 oz. at birth. Someone way back then must of had the same idea. By putting my name and birthday on my baby shoes, they could prove I was a newborn and not an underdeveloped 2 year old.
I’ve been familiar with Ben’s work for a few years now. His craft, cleverness, and insight into the human condition are not only what drew me to his art initially, they are what continue to inspire me to look back and reference it from time to time when I myself am creatively stuck and need a creative spark. His latest project is huge … literally … it is a 160ft long, 7in tall, full color panoramic illustration of a 4-and-a-half mile stretch of Chicago Avenue entitled: Ezra Street Level.
It was drawn by hand, by Ben, who stood on the sidewalk and sketched—at all times and in all weather conditions—over the course of three years. The project itself is a deeply inspired celebration of the local and the ordinary; encouraging Chicago to take a fresh look at itself though a decidedly analog lens. It uncovers the majestic within the commonplace, and all are invited along for the ride. It can be found at ezrastreetlevel.com, where I encourage you to take a peek and support Ben’s work if you’re inspired to do so. I have also included a short clip of his project video and more here in this post. It’s a bit of a break in format from my typical posts, but the streets are our shoes natural habitats, so in turn I consider this project a conceptual cousin to 100 Days of Sole.