What is the cause of the of the degeneration of the United States of America?
My sarcastic and oversimplified answer is this. That’s what too much church and home schooling gets you. Besides, 50% of the population is below average. All of us are below average at some things and this rears its ugly head in numerous complex ways.
My analytical answer reveals many reasons for the devolution of our discourse and the degeneration of. Distrust in government post-Vietnam and the Nixon Presidency. Faith based belief systems being woven into the power structures of public policy. Fear and loathing since the terrorist attacks of 2001. Dramatic decrease in the value of nuanced critical thinking. Increased stress in all ways possible, stress is non-partisan.
Unfortunately, we may have already become Backslider Nation.
In Atlanta, just southeast of downtown is a little neighborhood of called Cabbagetown. In the time I’ve lived in this city, Cabbagetown has become a street art Mecca. A destination for street artists and street art appreciators alike. As I’ve mentioned before, I live in the adjacent neighborhood of Reynoldstown, but just a short walk from the epicenter of the Cabbagetown street art scene. The Krog Street Tunnel is an ever-changing visual spectacle of street art. Unlike the murals around the corner, the tunnel is intended to be tagged and layered and covered and covered and covered some more.
Shaking’ Things Up is the first sticker slap in a new (as of yet untitled) series of work. I finally have something I wanted to add to the Tunnel.
Here are some images of the results. These are just the highlights of my Krog Street sticker slaps.
The kids call them slaps. Stickers. Well, when used as street art they’re are called slaps or sticker slaps. At least that’s what I’ve been told.
I went to the Krog Street Tunnel to add some slaps. Just a little of my flavor added to the constant storm of visual stimulation in this location. While there, I found a group of kids having fun and gave them some stickers to spread around other locations in Atlanta. Spontaneous assistance. It’s nice to have help when taking care of business like this.
My entire life has been about zigging when much of my contemporary culture zagged. It’s not something I’ve always been aware of. It’s not even something I’ve always been happy about. For example, in high school, I was obsessed with fitting in yet was unable to do so no matter how desperately I tried. Turns out it wasn’t in my nature and to my great frustration, I just hadn’t yet realized this.
Over the years self-awareness and self-acceptance slowly grew from within. An unstoppable need to wander (mentally or physically) fills much of my time. My life has been spent learning to accept and embrace this revelation. I have no issue with it personally. However, professionally it’s a different story. It means that I’ve always been out of fashion. Never quite the perfect match for anything. It can still be a frustrating place to be at times. However, at this point in my life, I know who I am, The Zig Zag Wanderer.
Yesterday afternoon I walked to the street art Mecca of Cabbagetown in Atlanta. I live in the area. Just two short blocks from the epicenter, the Krog Street Tunnel. It’s a crazy kitchen, but I still want to add a little of my own flavor to the stew.
I’m not finished. I’m just getting started.
I am not alone nor do I want to work alone. I want help spreading these stickers (and the future ones I make) around on a local and national level. Reach out to me via private message (or other means) if you’re interested and I’ll get some into your hands one way or another.
It’s hard for me to work on one series of art at a time. Back and forth I go between mixed media paintings, map drawings and street art. My exhibition came together in a whirlwind and left me in a bit of a haze. Blowing out of that smoke came the need to further explore the work I have been doing in my other two primary areas of interest: map drawings and street art. Also, I am pursuing a new medium, screen printing. I am discovering fresh new energy at a time when I need it most. I am excited by the challenges of learning a new medium. Beyond that, I have started a new series of map drawings that have me excited. I also feel recharged by exploring different ways of making street art.
All of this is what led to the decision to make a series of stickers. Not unlike my mixed media paintings, this is commentary on contemporary culture. However, in the street art format, I am intentionally more sharp and direct. The first in the series is shown below.
I’ve had this dresser in my all of my bedrooms for 40 years. Why? Excellent design. The design and craftsmanship were made to last. It still looks good. It’s still as sturdy as the day my parents bought it. It was more expensive than typical kids furniture but because it was good design it became so much more. Also worth much more than its initial price.
There it is – all packed together for you in one image. Millions of words will be written about this one single image. History will always remember this photograph. So many visual symbols and metaphors for the downfall of America in one place. Good ol’ Honest Abe in a frame is the cherry on top of this golden toilet sundae.
That’s right, Donald J. Trump was sent to Washington to shake things up. This is America, 2019.
Bill Donohue has made a career out of judging the behavior of others. He’s disgusted me for years. Once again he is defending the indefensible. The way this man defines degrees of abuse is morally repugnant.
Look, you can believe what you want in regard to your faith. However, no one should financially support the Catholic Church ever again. The Church needs to reform or die on the vine on their own. Support should only be shown with your thoughts and prayers, not your money.
I say this to you as someone that has been educated in Catholic schools (for 16 years). I say this as someone that has personally given a bit of money to the Church over the years. Never more, never again.
“We use that flag to sell mattresses and beer. We wear it as a swimsuit. We wrap our bald head in a bandana and stick it in our pants because we disrespect that flag everyday.”
These words from Dale Hansen (sportscaster and Vietnam veteran) echo the thought I’ve had for years on the subject of the American flag. The flag is not meant to be a product or a prop. That’s why I don’t wear anything meant to appropriate the American flag (that’s also why I don’t wear anything that appropriates military camouflage).
All this noise about kneeling or standing in the NFL is just the by product of another prop for a product. The teams were in the locker rooms during the anthem until eight years ago. In 2009, the NFL brought the players out for the anthem basically to be a prop for their product. It was a marketing strategy made in order to make the players (and the league) look more patriotic. The Department of Defense and the National Guard also payed the NFL for permission to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies to increase military recruitment.
Don’t be played by the sideshow. The first amendment IS first for a reason. Live and let kneel.
Tomi Lahren is a big deal these days. Propped up by her good looks, she’s become a popular voice for the alt-right people and young conservative millennial. I think this young woman (and I feel old for even typing those words) has a lot to learn. A lot to learn about history. A lot to learn about human nature. A lot to learn about life. A lot to learn about so many topics. It’s a shame, she’s bright but not smart enough to know what she doesn’t comprehend.
Find out for yourself. Watch this interview with Trevor Noah (of the Daily Show) in its entirety.
My part-time occupation of culture critic keeps my mind filled most of the time. This is what I am doing whenever you’re not sure of what I’m doing. Thinking, analyzing the culture we inhabit. My mind, up and gone away, wandering round. Those that know me know this happens quite often. Even though these observations register with me on a continuous basis, I am not often compelled to write about them. That said, I wanted to share my thoughts on a moment that happened today.
This morning I walked into Criminal Records. A well-known record music and comic store in Atlanta, GA. I’ve always loved to browse record stores. Normally I take my time listening and looking around, however today I was there to power shop. Specifically, grab one brand new Black Mountain CD and go. Within the few minutes I was there, a group of friends walked into the store. I approximated that they were all 18-21 years old. One of them had a baby and was pushing a stroller. They walked past me as I headed toward the register. As they passed I heard one of them say to the other, “what are all these?” The friend replied, “you mean these? They’re albums and CDs. You’ve never seen them before?” I continued to the register without any noticeable reaction. However, internally I was in a small state of shock. Could this be possible? Could this person have never seen an album or CD before? Not even by accident? Could this person be so unaware of their surroundings? Where in Atlanta were there surroundings? How could this even be possible?
What does this mean? Does it say anything about us as a whole or is it more of an indictment of this specific person? I tend to think it’s a combination of the two. The world has changed. Specifically, the way we purchase music has changed. The physical appearance of the music we listen to has been disappearing as well. However, I’m not blaming the music industry this time. To not know what albums and CDs are is entirely another issue. An issue that is more related to a sense of obliviousness that permeates our culture more and more. This issue is about how a lack of curiosity leads to a lack of knowledge. The results are oblivious to infinity.
Yes, information is beautiful. I teach a class called Visual Design Systems. In this class, we touch upon many things including semiotics and information graphics. Hard to believe I’ve never posted about the blog Information Is Beautiful (http://www.informationisbeautiful.net).
Here are just a few of the examples to be found on Information Is Beautiful. Look, see and learn, like i did.
More often I hear people tell me they identify themselves as a libertarian. Like most, I can agree with many libertarian principles, especially those related to personal privacy. However, I feel libertarian dogma taken as a whole is selfish naiveté. Most people bristle whenever I mention this in discussion or debate. Often, I try to explain that overall libertarian dogma is opposed to the concept of community and the concept of nation in itself. Individual liberty over all else at all times can only be possible if you live in a world where you are alone at all times. Absolute isolation is becoming less possible every day. Therefore, libertarianism is the wrong philosophy at the wrong time, even if it were the least bit practical, which it is not.
Do you want to live in a world where you and a few neighbors hold a fundraiser to raise enough money to hire the construction company needed to fill the potholes on your street? Do you want to live in a world where the funds are debated based on how often you and your neighbors actually use the street you all live on? This is the utopia we would have if the libertarian dogma was extrapolated into reality. Libertarianism may work behind closed doors within a personal household. Beyond that, in the environment we share, the selfish naiveté of it all is exposed and looks more than a little silly to me.
At this point of the conversation, if I’m even still having one, many hedge on their strong libertarian values. Making one exception after another until they’re basically an advocate for personal privacy – just like me. Others ignore the cognitive dissidence held within their ideals and double down on the wonderful sounding notion of individual freedom over all else.
This goes way beyond stupid, it’s a truly tragic failure on many levels. A nine year old girl shoots off an Uzi, easily loses control of the weapon and kills her instructor. Her asshole parents film the entire “learning experience.” This poor girl has to live with this tragedy for the rest of her life. She has to live with these assholes as her parents too. Assholes that thought this was a good idea in the first place.
I’m out of here, Far gone and far out. See you next month.
This is Fisher Studio at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. It’s my home for the next few days and I already wish it were my home for the next few weeks, maybe even months. Yeah, really.
I’m just a man that can’t cut his own lawn without being distracted and amused by his own shadow. It might take me longer to finish, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tomorrow I head up to the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences for a week. I am in between art studios and I really need a good space to make some work. The timing is perfect.http://www.hambidge.org
Yeah, so a bunch of new posts will be coming very soon. I’ve got plenty of new images to add to the blog. Just gotta continue to navigate this obstacle course. Everything is out to wreck my flow. Including myself. Stay tuned.
I made this print titled “The Difference Between Witty And Clever” way back in 2002. Drew it entirely on the stone too. However, I only ran an edition of three prints. Don’t remember why. I probably didn’t have much paper once I finally got it to print the way I wanted it to look.
Do you know the difference between witty and clever?
Alright, I’ll admit it. Once in a while I have to laugh at what gets past me. Star Wars references have been popping up all week. I’ve been consumed with so much else I never made the May 4th connection until this morning. I felt a little dull about it at first, then decided to do something about it. Ha! Which was to bring it all back to rock & roll.
What? Me? Giving in to a distracting impulse filled with creativity and music? Never!