"Occupy All Streets"
The Hide House in Bay View is home for a lot of up and coming artists in Milwaukee. An old converted factory building now has artist studios and galleries, and this Friday will be the opening of "Culture Jam MKE." Two floors and 40 different artists bringing attention to societal problems such as political corruption, marijuana legalization, domestic violence and homelessness. My piece is about the latter.
Homelessness. The title, Occupy All Streets, "piggy backs" on the famed Occupy Wall Street movement. The reason being that I too offer very little in the terms of a solution to the problem at hand. My statement is as follows:
"Hey, look. There is a problem. Someone should do something."
The whole point is to get people talking. Like any other serious topic in my life, my first approach is humor. The phrase at the top of the piece is meant to grab attention: TOUCH MY BUTT AND BUY ME PIZZA. If you put big bold words across the top of a painting, people will read it. It is like a headline. If you make those people laugh, they will stay and look longer. If they stay for a second look, have some intriguing imagery to make them ask questions. When they start asking questions, I have succeeded as an artist.
I think, at the same time, this phrase is hinting at the psychological disorders that many homeless deal with. Accompanied by, what appears to be, a slight grin on the gentleman's face in the painting. Does this depict the man's thoughts? Did some twisted fuck graffiti this above a homeless man asleep on the street? Am I making fun of homeless folks?
Fuck no. What I really meant to point out is that we are all human animals in the end. I think some people forget that when living in big cities and confronted with homelessness on a daily basis. In the end, everyone wants the same things.
The point is, you would think, as a country we would focus on OUR hungry and OUR needy before we spend all of our money on war and destruction of others. Maybe politicians should talk about stuff that matters instead of "the gays" and what plants we are allowed and not allowed to grow. A PLANT?! Really?
There are obviously a lot of factors involved here. At the end of the day, some people are sleeping on concrete futons and cardboard cots, while at the same time millions of dollars gets spent on meaningless bullshit and abandoned houses go unoccupied. And instead of rehabilitation and counseling we just peddle drugs and throw people in private prisons.
Think about ti.