Updated: Feb 8
“Think about it, there must be Higher Love, down in the heart or hidden in the stars above...without it, life is wasted time...look inside your heart and I’ll look inside mine”. ~Steve Winwood
I have been listening to the Whitney Houston/Kygo remix of Higher Love quite a bit lately...the lyrics resonating with me...The abundance of negative energy in the world these days has me resolutely choosing positive energy, people, and experiences at all costs. I seek, I pray, and I discover most of the time as long as I stick with it. Higher Love=Higher Power. We need it now more than ever.
Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting California urban artist Cory Schnitzer and learning about an incredible mural he created in Phoenix, Arizona. Simply titled “See Ya Later”, his 100 foot funky alligator at the St. Francis Restaurant drew me in immediately! We all interpret art differently, but my immediate thought was See Ya Later 2020!
Cory had formed a special connection with Chef/Owner Robert Bogart when he was in California years earlier. Shortly after Chef Bogart bought the St. Francis Restaurant in January 2020, he began chirping in Cory’s ear about the 100 foot massive wall down Camelback Road. They corresponded back and forth and then Covid-19 forced the St. Francis to close down. There was some trepidation in the beginning, but both men ultimately decided why the heck not? Let’s send that funky alligator out into the universe!
Cory and his fiancé Ashley packed up, left California, and moved into the shuttered restaurant with an air mattress, Mexican blankets and a fine a-- kitchen to cook their meals. The project took a week to complete. They had many visitors from alley dwellers to local businesses to the Phoenix Police Department who stopped by on night number 1. They kept getting calls about illegal graffiti...I guess they didn’t know graffiti can be legal...and awesome!
Cory’s vision on this project: Create a mural that would make people smile, bring attention to the St. Francis as a culinary destination, and create something everybody could identify with.
As it turns out, ALL walks of life LOVE the groovy gator! Cory sees Instagram tags of the mural on the daily and every single one makes him smile. It has garnered so much attention that it is now a staple of the community and a destination for travelers. For more information on Cory Schnitzer’s work, check out his website at www.coryschnitzer.com or his Instagram @coryschnitzer.
“Worlds are turning, and we’re just hanging on, facing our fear and standing out there alone. A yearning, yeah, and it’s real to me...there must be someone who’s feeling for me”. ~Whitney Houston
If you are reading this blog post and struggling with mental health or addiction issues, reach out for help...there is someone who’s feeling for you and you are not standing out there alone! We will get through this together, one groovy gator at a time!!!
*Fun Fact-The St. Francis was featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives “Traditional Gone Wild” in 2017.