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Friday, February 27, 2015

Art Activists Don't have to be Dicks

[ak-tuh-viz-uh m] 

the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.

Recently the street artist known as Sabo spoke at the annual CPAC conference last year. I vaguely remembered something about him and some posters that he'd illegally put up a year or two back. Frankly, I'd missed this fellow on my "art radar".

Since he stands for almost everything that I stand against, its funny that I'd never become more acquainted with his work till now.

After some research I realized that most don't seem take him seriously and that his inflated ego seemed to deflate any message he puts out there. But probably to the surprise of most who know me, I don't condemn him. In fact he represents much of what I say about the artist also being the activist. I cannot in good conscious condemn someone for doing exactly what I do, even if I abhor the message he presents in his art.

I've honestly had to do some soul searching over this fellow though because in many ways he's taken what it means to be an art activist and twisted it into something so angry that it no longer resembles what we call art.

I recently wrote an article regarding veiling the activist message in abstract beauty. (click here for the original article). It is clear to me that in order to be an artist and an advocate that you can't just throw your message out their angrily and hope that anyone except other really angry people will grasp it.

Sabo says that leftists have hijacked the art world and that its his job to stand against this and proclaim a conservative voice back to the world in his art. I really have no problem with this. But Sabo, as artist to artist I say to you, your message is lost in your madness. I know you are working to stop liberal artists, but I suggest that you also learn from those liberal artists.

If your art turns the stomach of the viewer, whether its a liberal or a conservative message, then there is little chance that anyone will learn anything from it or change their minds by what you create. In the end the reason that liberal artists are successful is because the art they create is appealing. It speaks to the heart and the soul, rather than to the anger and hatred of the human race.

Yes liberal artists make the same mistake. In fact some of them I count as friends even if I don't condone the way they put their message out there. But I appeal to you Sabo to set the anger aside and let the true message within you flow. If you claim to be an artist then you have a trust and responsibility to the world to not just sling shit out at your opponents, but to truly think about how the world will respond to what you do. If all you want to do is appeal to the anger of the right, then I guess I wish you well on your journey. But you can be so much more.

Art Activists DON'T have to be dicks. We can still get our message out there and yes even create the shock value that our message presents if we think seriously about what we are creating. Hell, we are artists, we have the whole world at our fingertips to craft our messages. Nothing is beyond us if we put our creativity to the task.

Art can change the world and it can change the minds of the viewer. This has been proven over and over again throughout history. But it has also been proven that anger just creates more anger and madness more madness. It serves little purpose if we forget the art and only focus on the activism. Then we are just another voice on the wind instead of a guiding star in the heavens.

We are often the lone angel trying to steer the world. But if the light stays on us, there is little we cannot do.

I wish you all the best,

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