thestreetofgold is the website of Brooklyn-based artist Peter Cole. here you will find his works, influences, passions and projects.
happy holidays 2013
my love for the number 108 began in Turkey in late 1987, when I noticed old men spinning and clicking their omnipresent strings of prayer beads in their hands. when I wanted to know if there were a fixed number of beads in a string, I was gravely told there were. I borrowed one lovely set of ebony and silver beads and found they numbered 108. I borrowed another and found the same. while not understanding why, I was simply content to understand that 108 was a kind of full circle. travelling on to India, I found the same number on their strings of holy beads, and became interested to see when other 108's would pop up.
in 1992 in Boulder, Colorado I became a school bus driver, where we drivers used the radio all day, identifying ourselves only by our bus number. Guess what bus they gave me? yes! I was gratified every day to say "base, this is 108", and hear the dispatcher's answer, "108, go ahead". for a full year I happily answered to my favorite number. when the next school year rolled around, there was an equal chance of being assigned any of 160 buses, but they gave me 108, and I happily answered them again.
I finally remembered that my childhood zip code was 93108, so understanding that the seeds of this lovely number were planted early in my brain. quick research uncovered that it is a sacred number in hinduism, buddhism and other eastern religions. The individual numbers 1, 0, and 8 are one thing, nothing, and everything (infinity). 108 thus represents the ultimate paradoxical reality of the universe as being simultaneously singular, empty and infinite. there are 108 shrines to goddesses in varanasi india, for example, and collections of 108 footprints of the buddha depicted in many places.
While not as fanatical about collecting images or series of 108 as I once was, I still smile when I see my number in the world, and will soon get around to posting a collection of 108 of the many more than that I have collected. the above image is from the williamsburg flea market, april 8, 2012. I didn't buy the bag it was attached to.
doors and walls and windows
click on the patchwork house below for this year's photo essay in playa del carmen, mexico. shot in early march 2012, the focus is on handmade facades and entries of houses. while a poverty of means enforces a patchwork style, the resulting layers of materials, treatments, ages, paintings and weathering is quite visually rich. the temperate climate allows for relatively comfortable living on a pared down level.
new jewelry for women and men
I am a big fan of fixing things, and love to notice things that others have repaired as well. the more obvious, clunky or unusual the repair, the better. About fifteen years ago I began a short-lived sculptural series of badly-repaired crockery. I now notice that I need to fix my scanner, so please disregard the uneven quality of these crappy scans.
a brief history
I began my career as a sculptor at seven years old, combining dirt dug up from our yard in africa and two thorns from the hedge, to make a clay bull of lasting power and presence. I was also a collector at this time. Finding a variety of smashed animals on the dirt road, I let them dry and harvested bits of bone and tooth. a famous small essay survives from that time, dictating the organization and staffing of my future studio, the last line of which reads "my wife will do the reptiles".
we are currently vendors at The Brooklyn Flea, and it's our job to find value in the cast-off. it is a fascinating process, and entails an ongoing and ever-changing debate about value and worth, a debate which necessarily encompasses all kinds of factors among the participants, like age, class, upbringing, country of origin, to begin with. in my early twenties I exhibited wrapped and nailed sculptures covered in tar, and one enthusiastic and possibly drunk visitor slurred loudly "hey you turn shit into shinola! you could use that as your fuckin slogan!" well, thanks.
happy happy new new
I am also a collector of vintage and found photographs. indeed, sharing them with the public was my initial impetus to build a website, so here I am, a couple years later, with the first batch, all taken from an album I call cinema. most photographs are dead: the photographer is framing people he/she knows, and is blind to what goes on around them, except perhaps to center the subject and put it in front of a landmark or something else recognizable. the result is yet another picture of a wife, or baby, or car, monument, birthday party or beach holiday that are virtually interchangeable with millions of others showing nearly the same thing. I consider the photos in this collection to be alive, to express an exciting fragment of a larger world and energies beyond the frame. late december 2011.
click on found photographs for a preview.
happy holidays from the cole family
actually it's way, way better than press...deep and extensive. my friend iki nakagawa made a video of me, and it documents the strategies my family and I utilize to survive in the world, at this time. please visit www.hyenalife.org to see it.