By Konchog Norbu
“I’m looking California / And feeling Minnesota / So now you know, who gets mystified…” – Soundgarden, “Outshined”
Heavily inked, yet sporting the orange robe of a Buddhist monk in the Cambodian tradition, Boo Roth is not hard to spot on the streets of Rochester, MN (pop. 110,000). And now, neither is his artwork.
A transplant from Stockton, CA, this “Full Metal Monk” (a moniker bestowed by a friend for his habit of cranking Pantera and such while he creates) is making his mark on Rochester through officially approved public art projects. Painting wall murals, as well as electrical transformers and town benches, Roth enlists area children, and even random passers-by, to join in the process. The subject matter is diverse—comic book heroes, Americana, the Japanese woodblock painting of ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa,’ the word ‘Love’—but the point, according to a recent story on Roth’s work in the Austin (MN) City Herald, is that “…the project is a way to give back to the community, and to help community members to creatively express themselves.” Continued