A mysterious pirate “ship” silhouette was sighted along the Emeryville Marina cove on Monday immediately sparking the curiosity of Emeryville neighbors. The piece, it was learned, is intended as a tribute to the 36 lives lost at the East Oakland “Ghost Ship” warehouse fire that occurred six months ago.
The artist behind the guerilla piece was identified as Chris Edwards of Richmond who documented it on his @front.lines.sfbay Instagram account. Edwards describes himself in his profile as a “Radical left LGBT activist covering SFBay protest from the front lines.”
The Ghost Ship tragedy has added to the urgency of affordable housing in our region and the debate over the need to preserve art spaces for our creatives.
Edwards is a Petaluma native and has fond memories of passing the stretch of freeway as a kid and anxiously spotting the Snoopy installation. He acknowledges the history of the space as a public art gallery and includes photos of the latest Red Baron installation in his feed.
The Emeryville community has already embraced the installation and has attracted the placement of bouquets of flowers along our shoreline.
Assembly of the piece took about $800 of Edwards and a few friends money and was assembled in his home’s backyard. The construction includes a PVC pipe frame over empty plastic drums to keep it afloat. The finished piece was painted black adorned with the message “Let Art Live” and the date of the tragedy.
Edwards transported the 15 foot long piece by truck to Emery Point at about two in the morning as to not draw too much attention. He and his team waded into bay and anchored it at about 100 meters out. Edwards returned the day after it was installed to add a second anchor to stabilize the piece. Edwards also notes he is considering adding reflectors, LED lights and possibly some solar powered misters to enhance the evening presence of the installation.
“I’d really like people to go to the memorial, leave flowers and their own art, and to enjoy the peaceful bobbing of the boat in the water,” he mentions in the below SFGate piece.
Edwards plans to maintain the piece but acknowledged the challenges of the elements that will eventually claim it. “A month, a year – however long it lasts, I hope the message is a positive one.”
Artist creates actual Ghost Ship as tribute in Emeryville
Appearing mysteriously overnight and bobbing on top of the waves of the Emeryville harbor, an all-black ship is serving as a memorial for those who died in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire six months ago.
The guerilla art piece is the work of local artist-slash-“mad scientist” Chris Edwards, who counts himself among the many young people navigating the underground arts and music scene of the Bay Area who have turned up at the occasional party hosted at the warehouse.
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