Opening reception and artist talk tonight!
Opening reception and artist talk tonight!
I am very happy to be back in the classroom. This week I started teaching at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA.
I will also soon be teaching art classes at the Fulton County Arts & Culture Centers. After more than a year of uncertainty, it’s finally been a good week in that area.
The evil within the collective mind of the trailer park Pharisees was on full display last night. Fasten your seatbelts and make sure you’re ready to vote. This kind of humanity (of lack of) needs to be excreted and flushed down the toilet.
Empathy is a defining characteristic of humanity. To have no empathy is to be subhuman.
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.
I’ve gotta get something off my chest.
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.
It’s Monday afternoon, July 16th. I’m working in my art studio trying to make progress on a new series of paintings. President Chump just completed his astonishingly disgraceful press conference with Vladimir Putin and I have decided I needed to immediately post about the subject.
As an artist, I am motivated and influenced by contemporary culture and our beliefs and relationships (and that includes politics). Therefore, the news, good or bad, can be inspirational. Unfortunately, this has become more difficult for me during the Donald Trump administration. This is true for a variety of reasons. It’s probably attrition more than anything, Trump is so fucking exhausting. That’s why I’m headed out for a walk after I complete this post. I need to reclaim a little of the energy sucked away from me by thinking about Captain Douchebag.
Because it just happened, I know this blogpost is more of a reaction than a response. Regardless, you can mark my words, this moment is a turning point. It will go down as one of the most embarrassing moments in our history. President Chump was tougher on the Democrats and the intelligence community in this press conference than he was on the Russians. It’s hard to put into words what we saw today. I’m wondering if we finally, finally, finally reached the beginning of the end.
John McCain, as we all know is living his final days. He had a lot to say about today. I disagree with McCain more than half of the time, so I do not automatically support anything he says. However, here he perfectly crystallizes the embarrassment happening right before our eyes. His words from today will be remembered and quoted for many, many years to come:
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“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.
“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.
“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.
“Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable.
“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”
“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.
This week, I finished hanging up my second large scale artwork. Stay tuned. There will be more to see in the coming weeks.
That said, I am looking for volunteers to help me hang these really large works. I have tried alone and it’s too difficult. It’s just too large. Too many wrinkles.
If you’re in Atlanta and are interested in giving me a hand installing these, please let me know. You must be able to work after dark and willing to get messy.
So, I’ve been telling you all that I’ve been working on something big. As you can now see, I wasn’t joking around. Last night, with the help of a couple of friends (shout out to Damon & Jeff), I installed the first of my new large format pieces of art.
This is my new direction. The work is comprised of many panels and is 8 feet tall and 50 feet wide in total.
Here are some pictures of the preparation, installation and the final result.
Watch this space, there is more to come.
I am a Professor of Foundation Studies at the Savannah College of Art & Design – Atlanta (SCAD-Atlanta). Most people that have visited this site already know this. If that is not the case, now you know. This coming week, I’ll be talking about my artwork at school. The plan is to cover a lot of area, both content and working process. In addition to addressing present concerns, I want to touch upon my past ideas and future goals.
I’ll be ready. Time to let it all hang out.
Brett Callero: The Edge Of Convergence
February 5 – February 26, 2015
Hammond Hall Art Gallery
Jacksonville State University
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 5, 5:00 – 7:00 PM
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.
One of the men arrested in this case was named Universal Knowledge Allah. Who knew the home of Universal Knowledge was Milwaukee, Wisconsin?!? This world is strange, tragic and amazing.
The linked article is about how, just recently, a 299 year old violin was stolen from the owner as he carried it in it’s case. A tazer was used to commit the crime and the microprinted pieces of discharge helped like the weapon to the criminal. Nice. Let’s see if anyone adapts that technology to other weapons like guns. Doubt it. Because in that instance, the will does not equal the way.
I’m just giving some credit where credit is due. I was browsing the headlines and discovered this story about an artist that stitched Lionel Ritchie lyrics into abandoned furniture. Well, it turns out I know this artists! It was the work of my friend Molly Evans, a college radio buddy from back in the day. Molly was also a DJ at SCAD Radio in Savannah years ago.
This art made me smile. Thanks Molly!
For the last 15-20 years, my point of view has steadily remained left-of-center on a large majority of issues facing our country. Generally speaking, my perspective expanded alongside my life experience. This was not an accident. At that time, I made a conscious effort to analyze my own thoughts and opinions in an unfiltered manner. This was not easy for me, I was used to forming opinions through the prism of others. The concept of health and health care was an area that I deeply analyzed. Is it a right? Is it a privilege? In fact, my personal experience with our health care system is one of the major reasons why I became more vocally progressive over the years.
First and foremost, the Health Care/Health Insurance Industrial Complex, what I refer to as the Protection Racket, should be the primary subject of our frustration as a nation. It is designed to make a profit regardless of service or situation. The Health Care/Health Insurance Industrial Complex (AKA The Protection Racket) uses he concept of “care” as a weapon. As the consumer, we are forced to pay whatever costs they arbitrarily charge us. Also, as consumers of this protection service, we are simply unable or understandably reluctant to comparison shop. When it comes to personal health, preventive care doesn’t have as big of a profit margin. If it did, preventative care would be covered more often. The industry has gotten away with all of this because money trumps morality every time – even in life and death.
I don’t have a problem with the ACA mandate since a single payer option does not exist. I use the same logic behind my support for the auto insurance mandate. Which, interestingly enough, didn’t generate nearly the attention this insurance mandate has. Only the extreme libertarians were upset about having to wear a seat belt and buy auto insurance. The general public did not view it as an intolerable infringement of their rights. After all, someone has to pay the bill. We all pay it if there is no insurance coverage. Most Americans viewed it as common sense, not socialism.
The Affordable Care Act follows a model originally proposed by the Republicans in the 90’s. It’s also modeled after the system implemented by Mitt Romney for Massachusetts. The ACA is already starting to show positive results (including lower rates) in the states where Republican Governors are not standing in the way for political reasons.
Thankfully, I am now part of the 95% of Americans that get a decent (but not cheap) plan through my employer. That was not the case for most of my entire adult life. In those years, I WISHED there was something like Obamacare.
For many years I was a self-employed graphic designer/art director. When searching for my own benefits, I was told that I needed to hire someone. They said I needed to hire an employee in order to get insurance for myself. As if that was an option? Therefore, I had to buy numerous non-renewable six month temporary plans on a regular basis just to maintain coverage so nothing would be pre-existing. However, in spite of these efforts, my sleep apnea was eventually called a pre-existing condition. The insurance company made this decision on their own, even though I had insurance when it was diagnosed over 15 years ago. Not only that, I did not realize it had been changed to a pre-existing condition until after spending the night in the sleep disorder clinic at the hospital. I would not have their recommended second sleep study if I knew I was paying for it entirely out of pocket.
This was my life when I was a self-employed graphic designer/art director from 1996-2009. I was using my skills as an independent contractor. I was the entrepreneur – the rugged individualist. A self-employed man. Exactly what our culture likes to wax poetic about. This way of life sounds great, until you have to see a doctor. In these years, 1996-2009, I never saw the same doctor twice. The only insurance plans I could afford were junk plans that were not even worth their somewhat affordable cost. The only thing available to me was what is commonly called Emergency Room Insurance. Cheap insurance with a massive deductible. That’s the bullshit insurance made illegal by the Affordable Care Act. That is the insurance that I had to get because it was the only option I had, unless I wanted to be uninsured and one hospital visit away from bankruptcy. That’s why I say I wished there was something like Obamacare (ACA) back then when I really needed it.
When I moved to Wisconsin from Illinois in 2005 I was denied insurance. Fortunately I was able to join a state run insurance plan for people that had pre-existing conditions or no employer based insurance. Yes, a state run plan! It was still the same bullshit emergency room insurance, but it was better than nothing because at this time I was getting turned down by Humana and other billion dollar insurance companies. An insurance company employee was looking at a chart and determining if I deserved coverage or not based upon statistics. It didn’t matter that I had already payed who knows how much money into this protection racket.
Then in 2006 I moved to Georgia. Georgia did not have a state wide plan for people in my situation. I had to write letters explaining how I have treated my sleep apnea for almost 15 years, blah, blah, blah. With the help of my auto insurance agent, I was finally approved. Approved to pay once again out the ass and basically out of pocket for everything. All of this was just for the same old bullshit (now made illegal) junk insurance with a massive deductible.
In 2009, I was hired as a full time member of the faculty and now have employer based insurance again. For the first time since 1996, I have a regular doctor. This is also important now more than ever, because in recent years it seems like I’m at the pharmacy on a regular basis. If it’s not to renew my hypothyroid pill prescription, it’s for something else. I know I can look forward to more and more of this over the years because we age in only one direction, fast forward.
For 13 years, no matter what I needed or avoided getting done, I had to pay out of pocket because I was never able to meet my deductible. Now I’ll actually be able to afford to upgrade my CPAP machine (for sleep apnea). Mine is almost 10 years old. That simply was not affordable before with my previous plans. Also, I’ll be able to take more preventive measures, things that were financially out of the question before. No one should underestimate the peace of mind that can come with the ability to take preventative measures. We have been trained to brush aside what may prevent a serious health issue because the for profit system will likely not cover something until it becomes a serious health issue.
My previous insurance plans are the exact insurance plans that are now illegal. The ACA made them illegal because they were bad policies. Basically, the only way to meet the deductible was to be admitted to the hospital. Just think of a junk insurance plan as a junk bond and you’ll see how this entire debate is somewhat ridiculous. Before the ACA was enacted, no politician ran to the defense of people like me, the 5% of the population stuck with this pile of junk as their best option. Now conservatives are concerned?
That’s why all this talk about freedoms being taken away, etc. are way off base. More than anything else, our employer based health care TAKES AWAY freedom. For example, how often do people stay with a job or career they don’t like. They’re completely unsatisfied but have to stay because they have dependents on their employer provided health care plan. Regardless of the specific cost, the plans are too expensive but absolutely essential. It makes you fear changing jobs even though you are unsatisfied. It happens all the time. That’s not what I consider freedom.
A single payer system is what we need. A single payer solves the problem as a whole much better than anything else. It preserves your freedom too. We’ve had the single payer blues for decades and I’ve been telling people about it for years.
Believe it or not, Atlanta has finally expanded geographically as far as it can go. The sprawl has reached its limit and the developmental tide of expansion is starting to move inward. More and more, residents are starting to move closer to the city center instead of away from it. As this phenomena continues to gain momentum, I believe the Braves will regret their shortsighted decision to take the money from the Cobb County taxpayers. In 20 years, they’ll want to build a new stadium in one of the many new revitalized urban neighborhoods. Somewhere near a now better funded MARTA train station.