In April of 2016, I painted a mural atHermosa 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.
This here is a throwback to one of the first works of mine that actually encapsulated the aesthetic and conceptual strength that I work to produce. I had been delving into Jungian ideas about our individual and collective psyche. I myself, at the time, fell prey to my own self-destructive habits and sought to look at destruction from the inside-out. How do our individual ways lead to collective strife? Little did I know, this piece was to take on a life of its own. Left in a storage room on the fine art floor, two frames and one drawing from this series were stolen. I shrugged it off, as it lends itself to its name, then brought it with me to Rescue or Destroy.
Rescue or Destroy is and interactive art event where the audience is invited to either buy a work or watch it be destroyed in front of them with an axe. The masochist in me was drawn to the idea of shredding apart my own work as an act of aggressive self-defeatism. Every single work from the Destruction series was bought…every work but one. When Allen ripped it into shreds and it fell atop a mound of destroyed work, I ran to collect the pieces.
Destruction: The Survivor is coming soon to the Shop. Stay updated by joining my email list here.
We all remember that night. Red bleeding across the country as Trump’s lead became inevitable. Liberals were panicking on Facebook. Fake news had gone awry! That election changed us and I wanted to know why. An ideological warfare had begun and in a world where expressing your opinion is literally at your fingertips, we all had a say.
I decided to explore our leaders. I listened to speeches, interviews, debates and rallies. I dissected their policies and their history. While listening, I drew each candidate with Faber Castell ink pens, then scanned the illustration into Adobe Illustrator where I edited the color and linework to create ghost-like campaign posters.
Each work is printed on Epson Hot Press Bright Paper with Archival inks. The color should outlast our grandchildren. Let’s hope they learn from our mistakes, our rivalries and our ignorances so that their future may serve them better. An additional handcrafted frame is available to add on in the Shop.