Hugh Shurley

Image: Hugh ShurleyPoint Richmond has a strong and continually growing community of artists. While there are several noted photographers in town, Hugh Shurley’s work is really very unique. In a world where the digitally mastered image is taking over, Hugh’s artwork is painstakingly and passionately done in a manual tradition. As Hugh shares in this episode of Stories from The Point, he’s more of a photo-collagist than “just” a photographer. Instead of using digital layers, Hugh physically layers 4-8 images printed on Plexiglas on top of each other with bits of ephemera in-between. Looking at a digital scan of one of these pieces of art is impressive; however, the physical pieces hold a more profound and tactile experience that could never be duplicated digitally.

Hugh’s mantra could likely be summed up as: if you’re not creating art, you’re not living and if you’re only living to make a living then you aren’t living at all. It was those words of wisdom he shared with me during a New Year’s Day breakfast that got me going with the Stories from The Point project. Thanks, Hugh!

He and his partner Isidro are  also responsible for starting one of our blocks most cherished ad hoc block parties. Once a year nearby neighbors all get together for a potluck, live music and other entertainment. My wife and I had been to it before moving here and it was definitely one of the selling points. In regards to the annual block party Hugh shares, “I really get the feeling that when we first moved here everyone kind of stuck to themselves. And it didn’t take much to get people out and to relate to each other.”

What has developed is a much stronger cohesion amongst neighbors and a real sense of community. “I see how, given the opportunity, most people want to be part of community. And when people come together in a community, they may not all agree politically or any other wise, but if you can find some common thing that you can all share; it just makes your life richer,” says Hugh.

Give this episode of Stories from The Point a listen and please leave your comments. Also, be sure to check out Hugh’s artwork when you get a chance…even if it simply means stopping by his web site.

 

Hugh Shurley’s web site:

Music heard in this episode:

 

Steve Wyrick

photo of Steve Wyrick[Update: Steve passed February 2014. Services were held at Wilson & Kratzner Mortuary Civic Center Chapel, followed by a wonderful gathering of family and friends who met at his home here in The Point.]

When my wife and I first moved to Point Richmond, we kept hearing stories about this guy named Steve who had lived here since the early 1940s. People shared fun stories, but mainly kept saying he was quite the character and that I just had to meet him. Well, I finally got the chance to sit and talk with him and I didn’t want to leave.

I don’t know for sure, but I’d say Steve Wyrick is probably the oldest member in the Point Richmond community. Besides living a long and healthy life, Steve’s enthusiasm for it is one of the things that really stands out when talking with him.

First of all, for much of his life Steve was a prolific gardener. For years he shared with his surrounding neighbors the bounty from his garden. He grew carrots, peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, string beans.  He also has 3 different types of lemon trees, an orange tree and a “prized” pear tree.

In his aged, Texas-rooted voice, Steve told me, “I always started with Early Girl tomatoes. I’d get them first. [I’d] always buy at least six of those. I’d plant in the same spot every year but I put in old 10-10 fertilizer, you know, and then you’d chew it down into the ground. That makes everything grow good!”

At nearly 97-years old he’s had to stop gardening. Now his garden is tended to by some of his family members who plant a few items, but mainly keep the grounds clear of weeds. When talking about the gardening help he now gets, Steve said, “They’re very good but they don’t understand the basic stuffs for gardening, you know?! I try to teach ’em.” Adding with his wonderful and sly laugh, “but they don’t listen to me. Ain’t that something?! Yes sir, boy.”

As you’ll hear, Steve has lived a full life and you can still hear the zest he has for it in this episode of Stories from The Point. Once you’re done listening please feel free to leave a comment. I love to hear from you!

 

Thanks to patchen and RHumphries at freesound.org for the train sounds.