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What is an Urban Hobo

What is an Urban Hobo

For those that may not be familiar with “Hobos”, it may help to give you brief history.

The first recorded use of the term Hobo appeared in the Western U.S. around 1890. However, the Hobo movement begun much earlier, right after the end of the Civil War. It is not clear where the term Hobo originated. Some suggest the origins come from the farming term hoe-boy meaning “farmhand”. Others suggest that it comes from the railroad greeting Ho beau, or the syllabic abbreviation of homeward bound (i.e., HO BO). Essentially a Hobo was a migratory laborer, a wandering worker. Due to economic strife, it was necessary for many men to leave home in search of work. Hobos are closely associated to the railroad. As they moved across the country, the railroad was the preferred mode of transportation. Sooner or later hobos would return home to their families. Over time, the term hobo became synonymous with “Tramp” and “Bum”. Hobos were neither! The difference being that hobos travelled to work. Tramps travelled looking for handouts. They only worked when absolutely necessary. Bums seldom if ever travelled, and never worked. Hobos even developed a strict code of ethics which they lived by, something neither tramps or bums concerned themselves with. The code of ethics read as follows;

1. Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you.
2. When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.
3. Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.
4. Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.
5. When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.
6. Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.
7. When jungling (i.e., camping) in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as bad, if not worse than you.
8. Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.
9. If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.
10. Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.
11. When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.
12. Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.
13. Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.
14. Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.
15. Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.
16. If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!

Today, the term Hobo evokes a romantic image of someone who took charge of their own destiny and embraced their spirit of adventure. Someone who lived their own life by their own rules. Someone who followed their own path.

Urban Hobo pays tribute to the Hobo spirit by encouraging others to embrace their spirit of adventure by exploring their city, state or region. Embrace your own sense of style and taste. Live your own life. Choose your own path.

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Tools…Juan’s Perspective

One of the things that gives our art work a unique character are the tools we use. These aren’t just any run-of-the-mill hardware store tools. These tools have a history. A soul. Many of them belonged to our parents and grandparents. We don’t simply enjoy using them because of their family history. It goes much deeper than that, because we each grew up using these very same tools. And, each of them has provenance. Each of these tools were used in a professional trade.

Here are a few examples of the tools we currently employ in our tin work. The two dollies were used by my Grandpa Smith in his Radiator/Body Shop in the 1920’s, ‘30’s and ‘40’s. Back when cars were made from actual steel. If you needed to shape a new body part or re-shape a damaged one, you would place the appropriate dolly behind the piece of steel and pound on the other side with a hammer, until the desired shape was achieved. These dollies are made from solid blocks of steel. After they were retired to my Grandfather’s personal workshop, I used them for many “important” projects when I was a kid. I even used them to pound out a few dents in friend’s cars.

One of the ball peen hammers belonged to my Grandpa Swinford. He used it in his carpentry business and I used it when I first learned to hammer nails (it was a lot lighter than a claw hammer and I hit the wood as often as I hit the nail, so it really didn’t matter if it was the right tool or not).

The other ball peen hammer belonged to Shawn’s Mother, Phyllis. She used it in her Art Gallery. Shawn spent a lot of time working in the gallery and used it to hang pictures.

Each of these tools were originally used professionally, for years, in artful endeavors. Over time they developed scars and wear and characters all their own. These very tools were used by our parents and grandparents to teach us skills and pass along a little bit of their knowledge. We are carrying on that tradition by using them in our own artful endeavors. Used together, they shape our tin work and give each piece a unique appearance and a little bit of history all their own.

 

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Going…Going…GONE!

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Wow! Dia de los Muertos has taken off for Urban Hobos! Juan and I are so excited. We have been able to sell many of our “Folk-Art” Skull friends. The colors are bright the subject (although skeletons) is fun and native to the area we live in.

I do not know why we have taken this road with a Dia de Los Muertos theme, I grew up celebrating this special holiday with many friends since I grew up on the border. I’ve enjoyed sharing with Juan the meaning behind the “Day of the Dead” celebrations.

For my friends and readers that are not familiar… Día de los Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. Focusing on family gatherings and friends to pray for and remember family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day. Some of the traditions connected with the holiday include building altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They   also leave possessions of the deceased.

I know I know….many of you might think this is slightly gruesome celebrating with skeletons and honoring a day for the dead, however, I love the bright colors and festivities that come from the celebration. When I think how much I miss my Father, I would much rather honor him and think of him with happy and wonderful memories. Remembering all he taught me and the great traditions that are now in me.

However, we do have some more “Dia de los Muertos” on its way along with a series of crosses I am working on and will have ready in the next week. So I will do my best to keep you posted on any new products we have.

Be sure to “LIKE US” on Facebook as well. Would love any and all feedback too!

 

Funky, Kitschy, Dia de Los Muertos

What a fun way to brighten your kitchen wall; add a “pop of color” in a small nook or any part of your home! They are small yet fun pieces of art that can be added anywhere without breaking the bank. We never knew how popular they would become, so we are going to continue adding more to the collection.

I was born and raised on the border and have always enjoyed the bright colors, history and culture of Mexican folk art. Juan and I try to capture that in our funky eclectic art. Simple, colorful….FUN!

If you are interested in any of these paintings, please email me shawn@urban-hobo.com. They are easy to ship and if you are located in the El Paso area, I am happy to deliver! (smiley face)

Sarape Truck 11X 14 acrylic $35.00

VW Dia de Los Muertos 8X10 acrylic $25.00

Collage Folk Art 12X12 acrylic $30.00

I tried to take the best pictures, however, if you need additional info, photos, questions or comments, please email me shawn@urban-hobo.com.

To see some of the sweet treats we deliver, be sure to head to our website Urban Hobo!

 

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The move is on!!!!

We’ve been spending the last several weeks getting rid of more STUFF and revamping our furnishings. We are getting ready for our next chapter …our road to adventure…our move to Texas.

It’s exciting because it has been quite some time since I lived in my hometown AND Juan as never lived in this part of the country. Juan LOVES the Southwest and has enjoyed our trips to Texas and New Mexico….he is a big lover of history and has always been fascinated with Billy the Kid.

I do have mixed emotions as I am leaving many of my family members whom I love so much! However, we are not far from one another and a quick hop on a plane or even a drive…will get us together quickly!

We are looking forward to trying new things and taking chances! I’m all about taking chances right now…or even a calculated risk. Life is too short and I do not wish to look back with regrets. If I fail miserably, well at least I had fun trying and learned how “NOT” to do something that way again. (wink wink smiley face)

Much different from last year, Juan and I are managing our STUFF much better, we are not ready to argue due to too much STUFF (yup word of the day), we are much more organized than ever before AND the best part is I am sitting here blogging while Juan is packing up the kitchen how cool is that! (smiley face, giggle now laughing and snort)

So join us this week for the Smith’s family move…..

 

What to do…What to do…

Won these on eBay. What are they you ask???These are vintage punched tin bulb reflectors….I know…Cool huh! (I know you might be thinking I’m crazy, right?)

Well now what I am thinking is what I am going to make out of these cool piece of history. If you’ve been reading this blog you know I love to create things. During the holidays I had a hit with tin ornaments (check out this past blog about them) and so now I am thinking some sort of Christmas ornamentation!

I love Christmas and yes…it is January and I am already thinking about Christmas. The vintage stuff from the 60’s and 70’s I really la la love. I guess because it brings back such awesome memories for me as a child. But something I am looking for and I know it is from an earlier era….an aluminum Christmas tree! (happy happy joy joy face) Of course I’ll keep you posted.

For now….I am going to think about these vintage punched tin bulb reflectors and what they are going to become! I’ll keep ya posted (wink wink smiley face)

 

Who Says You Need Four Legs?

Came across an interesting designer….Caroline Gomez. She is a French designer who has created a collection of furniture that seems to be coming right out of the wall.
The group is called Contre and she has a desk or console, a small table or nightstand and a shelf.
Just by simple design, the pieces lean up against the wall and there is no need to attach unless your wall is not a flat surface. The tension of the piece leaning on the flat surface keeps it in place. Yes, by simple design!
She states “why do you need four legs when the piece is going to lean on the wall?
Be sure to check out her website, Caroline Gomez. I think I’ll have Juan look into this…he’s a pretty good carpenter…maybe he could create something similar…(wink wink smiley face)
 
 
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