“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.
Back home in Atlanta, I decided to take on the notorious metal wall again. The one along the Beltline on Wylie Street. This is the wall I used last summer for three large scale works. This time, the ridges of the wall were not an issue because I was working much smaller than before.
So here are images of the first 25 posters I pasted up in Atlanta. I have more, there will be more coming up in the very near future. Maybe even tonight.
Loyalty above all else will result in lies of one kind or another.
My latest body of work is a series of posters promoting a brand called Lies. The slogan for the Lies brand is Loyalty Above All Else. This is an idea that was conceived and specifically made for the streets. This series is intentionally more straightforward than the non-sequitur based imagery I typically create.
These posters are intended to be a sign of the times. Direct statements about the culture we inhabit in 2017. They are statements that critique our political culture and consumer culture. This statement belongs on the street, not in a gallery.
In our political culture, facts are more often being manipulated beyond recognition. Beyond that we have a leader that doesn’t know how to lead. A man that values loyalty over honesty and integrity. In our consumer culture, manipulated facts are accepted and commonplace. Brand loyalty is what matters most.
At this point, the Loyalty Lies series includes 8 different posters that serve as advertisements promoting the Lies brand. The Lies brand logo comes in two versions (as seen in the first photograph). Background photos are my own (taken straight from my Instagram page). The future is wide open in regard to where this concept goes next.
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.
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.
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!
I’m sorry, I don’t feel one ounce of empathy for this kid. His mispronunciation of Achilles is just the beginning. Today my students are taking a quiz. I might have to show them this video afterward. Motivation for when they think the won’t need to know anything to succeed. Dumb luck is not luck if you’re not smart enough to do anything with it.
This statue of Kurt Cobain is a stupid idea for dozens of reasons. However, I’d like to focus on three of them in particular.
1. Why would the city of Aberdeen, WA choose to honor it’s most famous citizen (and most famous critic) in this manner?
2. Why would the city of Aberdeen, WA think that fans of Nirvana would flock to their city for something like this. Especially because its very existence is completely in contrast to the mission of the band and the struggles with fame that Cobain experienced.
3. Why is he crying and playing an acoustic guitar?
My answer to all three questions is the same. It’s because there were not any Nirvana fans or anyone with a significant knowledge on the life of Kurt Cobain involved with the project. This is an assumption, but I feel safe in making it.
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 think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart and it’s not who we are and I didn’t realize how really fragile the people were. I thought we were kind of a little more in it together.” – Glenn Beck
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.
No one cares about what the artist makes more than the artist that made it. Therefore, some narcissism is required just to make art. Then it’s required for survival in the creative world. Without it, the artist would never have the guts to put themselves out there for the world to notice (or ignore).
“The famous Atlanta Underground…offers southern hospitality with a New Orleans flavor.” What the…? I wasn’t here in those days, but it seems so Atlanta to brag about how the attraction is based on a simulation of another place.
Then again, I feel like, in a nutshell, that’s what I feel the last 35 years of our culture has been all about. Simulation rules! My inner Baudrillard just got very excited.
Time has the power to shape the perception of everything. Watch these promotional videos from the 1980’s to see a great example of what I mean.