Un/common Places

It Happened at Sears

Sears Clarendon
Back in 1992 the building at 2801 Clarendon Boulevard that now houses the Clarendon Education Center was Arlington’s Sears department store. The building was originally constructed in 1942. The entire Sears complex between Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards had 207,000 square feet of selling space spread out over three buildings. The current Whole Foods Market at 2700 Wilson, just across Danville Street from the Ed Center, was the Sears Garden Center.
It was in front of the Garden Center that Isaac Brock one day donned a pair of foam angel wings and climbed atop a pile of garden mulch to pose for photographer Pat Graham. Pat had just moved to Arlington a few months earlier and was busy documenting the then burgeoning Washington/Arlington music scene in connection with the Dischord, Teenbeat and Simple Machine record labels. He met 15 year old Isaac who convinced Pat to photograph him in public settings wearing foam wings and other odd outfits. Says Pat, "It started one night when he dragged me and my camera to the 7/11 and demanded that I photograph him buying gum. He was wearing a green dress, wings and a halo." Their inter-activity continued for the duration of the summer of 1992, the giant Sears sign being a favorite shooting location for the pair.
At the end of the summer Isaac moved back to Washington state where he went on to form the indie rock band Modest Mouse. Pat has continued to take pictures. He is currently married and living in London, England where he and his wife operate a gallery. Pat’s first book of photos, Silent Pictures, will be released by Akashic Books in summer of 2006.

Pictured:   Isaac Brock at Sears, photo by Pat Graham