A couple days ago I was inspired by an episode of Breaking The Set with Abby Martin. She is an artist, founder of Media Roots, B.O.D. of Project Censored and host of my favorite news program, RT’s ‘Breaking The Set’. She has a fearless attitude toward investigative journalism, presenting her stories with a burning passion. I think some people watch the show and think that she’s coming on too strong, or too radical. Unfortunately, many newscasters read their teleprompters in such a robotic, insensitive fashion, that they make others appear over the top. It reminds me of an M.I.A. interview from a few years with Q TV. I’ve mentioned it in the past, and continue to return to her words, as I think she nails this topic. She says, “The only reason why you think I’m causing a stir is because no one else is doing it. Like, that’s why you think I stick out like a sore thumb as someone whose obviously so wrong..”.
In the episode posted above, at 7:51, Abby begins her “Artists’ Duty” segment. Nina Simone once said, “An artists’ duty is to reflect the times.”. Abby goes on to say, ”In today’s society, art is going through a transformational crisis. Contemporary artists are becoming victims of the consumer culture of mass commercialization and corporatization.”. She empowers and challenges artists to carry on with Nina Simone’s message, instead of becoming another victim of a twisted system. One such person exemplifying this attitude to a T is LA-based street artist and muralist, Mear One. Abby Martin interviewed him for ‘Breaking The Set’, starting at 19:08. This was my first time seeing his work, and I was completely blown away by his politically charged art.
They discuss a few of his pieces including “Freedom For Humanity”, “Humanity vs. The Machine” and “Allegory of Complacency”. These political satires depict the socio-economic system that has a stranglehold on our lives. This system is often hidden from the majority of the public, and sadly, conversation about these issues can result in people being dismissed as crazy and/or conspiracy theorists.
The remedy for this lack of conversation often comes in the form of art. It can speak in ways that words cannot, conveying messages that penetrate deeper than any argument. It has the ability to reach and challenge people across all borders of language, ethnicity, sexual orientation and political affiliation.
Since 1986, Mear One aka Kalen Ockerman has been building a body of work that has gained him the title of “The Michelangelo of Graffiti”. His bio states, ”He is considered by many to be Los Angeles’ most prolific graffiti artist because of the way he revolutionized graffiti with his fine-art realism, breaking out of traditional 2D letter forms, and using perspective to develop complex characters with dynamic backgrounds in epic scale.”. He takes his inspirations; ancient technology, science, philosophy, mythology, mysticism, political and cultural revolution and the apocalypse, and blends them into deeply powerful statements through the medium of visual art.
- Jimi Jaxon