Doug Heine and his assistant Rogelio Miranda made this fence for Rob Garross in front of Rob’s house at 1406 Fifth Street. The green of the fence matches the green of the birch leaf – Garross planted the tree 20 years ago.
Doug introduced me to Rob a few years ago. They often eat breakfast together at the Gilman Grill, which is one of my two go-to breakfast meeting spots.
Garross got the idea of silhouettes fooling around with his grandchildren a few years ago, tracing and then cutting out silhouettes of them on plywood and having the kids paint them. The kids’ backyard in Pleasanton is filled with these painted silhouettes.
For the metal silhouettes and the gorgeous hog wire fence to which they are attached, he turned to his friend and neighbor, Heine.
Dube has rescued many cats – Garross says 15 but who knows.? He has seven cats. I’ve never met any of them.
I have posted on Rob Garross and the caboose in the driveway on Fifth Street.
When he was about 25 years old, Garross rode in a caboose from Great Falls, Montana, to Everett, Washington. He had been inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. It got cold at night crossing the Rocky Mountains, very cold.
He moved from his home in Waukegan, Illinois, to Berkeley in 1980. He bought his house on Fifth Street at Camelia in 1996. Walking his new neighborhood, he was inspired by an old wooden caboose on a nearby railroad siding. In the 1980s, advances in technology such as flashing rear-end devices and end-of-train devices intersected with corporate goals of reducing labor costs to spell the end of the caboose as we knew it. They were sitting around.
In 1998, before you could shop for cabooses online, he decided to buy a caboose to put in his driveway. He visited a railroad yard in Barstow, and then located a late-model Southern Pacific bay window caboose in a rail yard in Sacramento. He bought it and had it trucked to Berkeley.
I have posted on Doug Heine, his childhood in Vallejo, his art, and the airplane seemingly crashing into the roof of his house. I have a few more photos of Heine’s work to add to what I posted about him six years ago. Imagine that – six years!
In early 2018, his work was featured at an art show in Vallejo.
He sent me photos of several other series of his work. First, “Mysteries of the Orgasm:”
Second, work from the Ruth Bancroft garden sculpture show in Walnut Creek.
When that show ended he took those pieces and others to the Jennifer Perlmutter gallery at the corner of Mountain Blvd. and Moraga Drive in Lafayette. They are open Thursday, Friday and Saturday and the show is up until the end of December. Other pieces from that show:
When I finished the draft post, I saw that my friend was outside at the table behind the house.
He took a look and asked me, “Did you know that the word ‘silhouette’ is derived from the name Étienne de Silhouette, a French finance minister who, on account of France’s credit crisis during the Seven Years’ War (1756–63), imposed severe economic demands upon the French people. Taxing the rich and privileged was new because nobility and church were exempt from taxes in the Ancien Régime,
“Because of de Silhouette’s severe economic policies, his name became synonymous with anything cheap such as outline portraits, which were the cheapest way of portraying a person’s appearance.”
I humbly confessed that I did not know that. I showed him this – sitting on my desk framed.
“I was five or six. My mom made it. She was good at things like that.”
I humbly asked him what he though of the fence and Heine’s work and this post.