Posted by: brad – Aug 17, 2015
Dedicated to the mystery graffiti artist that did not make me cry, [but] just pissed me off. Thank you for the platform. It is about time I write this.
I am a risk taker.
And I am not talking about sky diving because I don't want to do that. Even though I did do that one bungee ride thing at Kings Dominion. I have no idea how I was convinced. I blame Stephanie Kim.
What I mean is that I live by taking gambles, and I think everyone should.
My parents took us to Vegas in elementary school; between canyons and historical things.
But my point is- risk. gamble. For me it is in terms of living as an artist and making the sacrifices necessary to live like this. Not a hero, more like an idiot with a plan.
I kid. I am not an idiot. I don't think. I am just a little ridiculous. but I own that and I also feel very aware of reality.
And how we must be a part of this world even if we feel like we float on another plane.
If artists just hung out in that weird limbo level that we were born in, then we wouldn't make a single impact on the world. But art is powerful and so using it for good.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE ALL HAVE TO DO THE SAME THINGS.
or totally agree... or even like each other.
There is a level of respect that is completely necessary in order to hear and be heard.
and when you take yourself out of that equation then your power is less effective.
I have a mural in Richmond, VA, on the side of a restaurant- FOO DOG.
Shout out to that restaurant. their ramen (add an egg). and the Hey Joe (delicious drink).
I designed the dining room but also have two murals on the outside of the building.
This one mural is the subject of my rant and the reason I am standing on a Peach Crate. (Chosen because I love peaches and needed a visual and some height.)
can everyone hear me?
My rant is about the value of art and mostly about respecting YOURSELF as an artist.
It parallels respecting your potential in life. So this is not just for people who consider art their career, their calling, their blood. It's what I talk about all the time - but theres more reason to do so today because
A MYSTERY GRAFFITI ARTIST DEFACED MY MURAL ON MAIN STREET.
I am interested in graffiti. It can be beautiful. It has a culture and a place.
but this. THIS IS DUMB.
I keep wanting to say the artist is a HE but who knows... it could be a SHE that threw her arms all around making scribbles on the mural. I don't know. But for simplicity, I am saying he,
And because I am a woman as I hope another woman did not do this dumb thing.
So. at a moment where I could cry. or be a little baby... And I will admit my eyes welled up a little bit. Only because this mural happened at an important time in my life and represents a season for me; being brave. and sweating, and fighting, and loving.
So for a second, the graffiti hurt me... at this moment I just want to keep moving. But it got me all fired up.
I texted some friends and we turned all Steel Magnolias hair salon mad. I jumped out of my truck in the rain and touched it, the places he sprayed, and remembered why I do what I do. And what value there is in respecting your own potential as an artist.
But also as a person who has time on earth and wants to USE IT.
My response to the mystery artist who graffitied the mural I painted on Main Street:
1. FIND YOUR OWN SPACE. I already had this one. I have seen preschoolers figure this crap out.
There is amazing power in being yourself. When you feel something is easy for you. or that you like something. pay attention to that. focus on it and find that little place where weird things intersect- your interests. your skills. and then boom. THAT IS YOUR THING. that is what you should do because it is YOU. and no one else. be specific.
I say this a lot but pay attention to your likes. If you like it, you may love it. And if you love it, you should do it.
2. IGNORE LIMITATIONS. I may not know your face, but I know how tall you are. Sorry. this is so funny to me, but as it pertains to life- GET SCAFFOLDING. or, like in my situation, someone saw me on a ladder and got some for me. If you can't ignore a limitation on your own find a team of people who believe in the crazy thing you are aspiring to do. If you are alone, think of the wildest alternative to the limitation and you know what- TRY IT. you may be the only one. And look, someone decided to go to the moon and did so there's that.
3. EXPAND YOUR MATERIALS. Try new things. Challenge yourself a little. all other vandals are using spray paint. In life - use materials no one else is. Maybe your message is similar to someone else's but the new perspective could be pivotal in how your message is received. It could up the stakes.
4. STAND OUT. Your scribble looks like it could be anyones. Find your own style. This doesn't mean you can't learn from other artists or people and reference them. Thats smart - do that.
But then respond to it; Bring something to it. Learn even more whenever you are bored and instead of defacing shit, learn some.
5. GET BEHIND MEANING NOT COMPETITION. This is off subject slightly but artists compete too much; all kinds of us. We should be working with, not against [each other]. And if you value your work and what you are doing, you aren't going to miss out or lose an opportunity. It just may not be YOURS, so keep working. If you don't get something, be upset for a little bit. Then make something else. If you are competing for attention, that is a problem all in itself. Attention doesn't have the same weight as meaning. MEAN something.
people turn their heads when they hear a loud noise - people clap at a show - BUT what really sticks?
The deep stuff. The meaning. Art can have that. Real life can too.
Mix them together and you can really kick some ass.
6. DONT BE A JERK. Self explanatory.
7. RESPECT WORK (ART). You make art look silly when you just color on someone else's. Here is the thing that kills me, and is a slightly unrelated tangent, and deserves more than this little space here... lots of artists will offer to work for free.
To be seen and get publicity is good enough for them. In fact, they will cut deals to beat out other artists for the gig. But think about it this way- when you get that chance to be seen, what good is it if you did not respect your work enough to be paid for it? Because then you are creating a future for yourself where there are no art careers - no payment for artists. When you get "there," wherever that may be, do you want to always be competing for that job that doesn't pay?
Design and art is worth paying. Here is why - it is work. It is something we work at. Art does a lot. Don't undersell yourself because you undersell the whole art world. And please, don't undersell the power of art.
8. DONT PUSH SOMEONE ELSES CASTLE OF BLOCKS DOWN. It is not cool to go around in the night and ruin something someone else worked hard to make. It is thoughtless and thoughtless is the worst - Is thought less. NO thought.
Thats not nice.
The brave thing is to work in the light. The brave thing is to make your own work, to be vulnerable. Try this adrenaline rush.
9. TAKE A RISK. vandalism isn't a risk, it's a crime.
Take a real risk - one that means you could win something or lose something. If you lose, you have the experience. You learned something, maybe you cried or screamed or hurt, but feeling those things means you are alive.
if you win...
Poor me? No.
I work as an artist. I'm good. Thank you for the platform. I am going to go work now.
Words by Abernathy Bland