In April of 2016, I painted a mural at Hermosa Walls, a mural project where each month, a different artist’s work was featured. Due to the nature of the location, I thought it would be fitting to make a comment on gentrification in a neighborhood where it is happening. Gentrification is sweeping our nation and displacing lower-income families. This mural uses simple symbols to reflect a complex topic. The displaced person has had his identity stripped as he tries to hold on despite the force of wealthy investment.
This issue is unraveling the economics of our country, leading to a massive homelessness crisis. There are roughly 18.6 million vacant homes and only 600,000 homeless people in America. The wealthier of us in America see homes as an investment opportunity – a way to achieve the “American Dream.” In so perceiving this way, we strip the identities from long-time homeowners and residents while keeping lower-income families out through discriminatory rental practices. If we are to overcome gentrification, it boils down to first overcoming our own greediness while empathizing with the person on the other side.
Mural practice is a way to enlarge an idea so that it cannot be ignored. If you have a wall that needs painting, don’t hesitate to let me know.