My final post of 2016 was about painted garage doors. In response, if some months later, Ian Wood wrote me and sent me a link to his Instagram collection of several hundred photos of Berkeley garage doors. As R. Crumb would say:
Wood was born and raised in Berkeley. He left in early adulthood, living in San Diego, Tokyo and Silicon Valley. He returned to Berkeley a couple years ago and bought a home in the hills about a block away from the house he grew up in. He says, “After being away for so long, I realized the quirky is in my DNA and I belong here more than anywhere else. Also, I wanted my daughter to grow up with the same diverse and unique experience I had as a kid”
His Instagram garage project started one day in 2016 when he was walking his dog Milky. He wanted to turn the routine into less of a chore and into something fun – something to get him to look forward to walking the dog. He noticed an interesting garage one day, and then challenged himself to find more of them. Ian: “It was amazing how many of these little structures were in my own neighborhood that I’d never noticed – ivy-covered, barely-standing relics of the past; garage doors adorned with abstract murals or subtle woodwork; stucco cubes beaming with bright primary colors.”
So – he started driving to random neighborhoods he was unfamiliar with and walked his dog there while I looking for more garages. Surprisingly, he always manages to find something interesting, even though there is a finite amount of garages here. Why? “Berkeley has a lot of history and quirk, and many of our garages embody both of these qualities.”
He has a rule of engagement: “No trespassing, which is a shame; there are a lot of interesting garages I’d only be able to photograph by going into a backyard or far down a driveway. I also know I look suspicious, peering side-to-side into every driveway, but when asked what I’m doing I explain the project and this either confuses the person or amuses them. This project has taken me down so many streets and neighborhoods I otherwise would never have been, so it’s been a great learning experience and as a Berkeley native, it has been very rewarding.”
Here is a small fraction of his photographs. All photographs are by Wood
These photos rock. The whole bunch on them on Wood’s Instagram collection rock. A cousin in the tribe of Quirky Berkeley is found!
My friend has long hoped that my quest would evolve into a group quest. He would quote Arlo – “And friends they may thinks it’s a movement, And that’s what it is.” A movement to honor and protect and perpetuate the quirky in our dear old Berkeley.
I asked my friend what he thought of the photos and what he thought of having Wood do a guest post more or less on his garage doors.”Damn! This is it! This is what you hoped for! Co-conspirators! I TOLD YOU you need this – soul-mates, out there doing what you’re doin’. Right on!”
Yes, a fellow traveler. Somebody who was drawn back to Berkeley because we are, well, quirky. His dog led him to his quest and to Quirky Berkeley. Good job Milky! And here’s hoping that it this is evolving.
A love for Berkeley. Exploring. An obsession. Hundreds of garage door photos!
So my friend was with this idea right from the start. What does he think of the post as I structured it?