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Standing Up City

Felt pen, 8.5 x11", 1969? 1970? by Chris Wayan.

When I was a kid we had a huge photo book of the Southwest titled Standing Up Country.

In my early teens I wanted to create a modern equivalent of those cliff dwellings--neither sprawling like the suburbs I lived in, nor the sterile, sealed towers of big cities. I pictured bio-engineered flying people living on a great Sierra crag, with rooms hollowed out of living rock and a thousand feet of hanging little bonsai gardens and terraces.

This is one of my earliest drawings, and I know it shows. The felt pen over decades feathered and spread, blurring and blotching the faces--I cleaned them some on the scan. But aside from age, it's just not very good.

But a vision drawn badly is still a vision. One milestone for any artist is not cringing at clumsy sketches of good ideas.

A utopian eco-city in the Sierra Nevada; juvenile sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge
...and the truth is, I still wouldn't mind living in Standing Up City.

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