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buy pfizer xanax 2mg Seattle artist Ryan Henry Ward tattooed the character in his street-art project, the Compassion Wizard, on his right arm. (Photo: Chuck Moody)
That’s what’s possible. And ever since Ward put up the first wizards along with a simple Facebook page about a year ago, it’s exactly what’s happened.
The first thing I wanted from Ward when we met under his canvases at Fremont’s Short Stop Coffee this week was an explanation. I’d found random Flickr photos of the wizard, a YouTube video asking what he’s all about and the Google map where people are plotting their sightings.
On the Facebook page, posts about love and imagination accompany images of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. But what does a wizard have to do with compassion?
Ward put it to me this way. His art, with its mermaids, monsters and big, colorful animals, reflects the magical world he believes kids all live in. He calls it the Golden Realm.
As we grow, we let go of our sense that all things are possible so we can live in a world where it seems a lot of things are not. On a trip to India in 2000, Ward realized that it’s hard to help a sick man you see on the side of the street if you think that’s just the way things are.
What’s this? I spotted the wizard on Lake City Way and 95th Street. (Image: @moniguzman on Instagram)
“Compassion is born from the imagination,” he explained. “To have the desire to be compassionate, you have to imagine a world that’s better than the one you live in.”
If the creatures in Ward’s murals are characters in this world, the Compassion Wizard is its gatekeeper.
Ward considers himself a children’s artist in a big sense. His motivation, he said, is to make art that inspires or keeps people’s innocence.
He guesses that about 35 percent of the signs he’s put up on telephone poles from here to Bellingham and beyond are still up. Some disappear soon after he posts them. Others linger then leave. Ward is OK with that. He didn’t do it for recognition, and he knew he’d have no control. He wanted to see how far he could take one image, and where it could go from there.
The wizards are, as he put it, a gift to the city.
Cops approached Ward a few times as he hauled a ladder out of his former painted car onto a telephone pole. A cop on Capitol Hill once asked what he was doing. When Ward explained, the officer smiled and told him, “I wish more people would do this kind of stuff.”
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