Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Peace, Love and Folk Art
He showed me photos of his house and garden courtyard, and they were amazing. He also shared his vision of love for the world he lives in, his hope that someday peace will predominate around the world, and his colorful outlook on life that is expressed in his artwork.
Because the rest of our stay in Pittsburgh had been unplanned -- I went where the day took me -- we decided to stop at his home, which he calls "Randyland," before heading home to Maryland.
Located in the Mexican War Streets district of Pittsburgh's Northside, Randyland shares Gilson's unique outlook on life, a sweeping, optimistic view that is rare to find.
And indeed, Randyland is relentlessly optimistic. Bright colors and creatively painted and placed stuff -- from old panel doors to metal patio chairs to mannequin heads -- decorate the side of his house and his yard. On the wall of his home is a colorful mural depicting normal people going about their lives in Pittsburgh. I loved it.
When we arrived, we met a mother and her three young kids who'd just enjoyed the courtyard. I wish we'd arrived a few minutes earlier, so I could have enjoyed their reactions! I chatted with the mother for a few minutes, explaining to her I'd just met the artist that morning, and I told her some of what Gilson had told me over breakfast. We shook hands afterward and parted, but for a brief moment of time, two very different people came together in enjoyment of Gilson's art.
Randyland, according to Gilson's website, is going to be a non-profit Folk Art Museum for the whole world to teach forward recycling and repurposed ideas. Some time soon, Gilson will be relocating to Spring Garden to build a warehouse home and art studio for teaching.
Getting there: 1501 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, 15212
Hours: The Randyland courtyard is open almost every day between 1 pm and 7 pm
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