Our buddy Night Owl invited D Young V and I to do a piece for this project over by The Cottonmill Studios in Oakland back in July. It was a good Friday followed by a free barbecue Saturday. The City of Oakland even kicked in a few bucks on supplies for this project (I’m not sure who arranged that) and I will always take city money cuz they ALWAYS take mine.
Tag Archives: oakland
A few months ago I was asked to do a mural for the film “Fruitvale Station” which is about the killing of Oscar Grant and was released this week.
I had done a few pieces regarding those events in the past which some of the people at Weinstein Co. had seen and liked.
I have some pretty strong feelings on this subject and it had a deep impact on the community I call home (East Oakland). I drafted several layouts of what I was going to do, all of which were very similar to the work the film makers had seen. We had a few debates about the appropriateness of merch (t-shirts, stickers etc.) and also hashtags being included in the mural. I also suggested that the mural be in Oakland and not San Francisco. I was told that they didn’t want to do it in Oakland because it may cause a situation and this was a very hot button issue in Oakland.
After a lot of back and forth, I received an email with a list of requirements that were apparently from the director Ryan Coogler and not from Weinstein Co.. Essentially, I was told that my image was too dark and negative and there was a concern about upsetting people, particularly in the bay area. In my opinion if you tell the story of an innocent, unarmed black man being shot in the back by a white police officer while restrained and people are not upset and outraged than you haven’t told the story correctly. People should be upset, very upset. There was also a list of “cannot’s”
- show pictures of anyone but oscar
- have a gun
- focus the issue on the trial or his murder
At this point the mural could not in any way make reference to Oscar Grant’s murder or the police. The film (which I have seen) is about Oscar Grant’s death. Had Oscar Grant not been murdered, Mr. Coogler would not have made this film. Had Oscar Grant been murdered by another young man, a civilian, this film would not have been made. To my mind to exclude the murder and the police from my image would be dodging what is at the core of this issue.
There was also a list of objectives that were just ridiculous. “ The piece should come from a place of love”, “The piece could see to connect us all, and show how we should all care about each other”
I’m not sure where I was suppose to find love in this story. I didn’t know Oscar Grant, so I certainly could not have loved him and for me to somehow feign an affection that didn’t exist seems ingenuine and disrespectful. I am also not sure how Oscar Grant should be used to make us all feel connected and care for one another. There are a lot of deep seated reason that people of color are predominantly the victims of police brutality. There are also a lot of reasons that justice is rarely served in these circumstances. I feel pretty confident that those reasons are not a simple lack of care for one another. There didn’t seem to be any interest in confronting the issues or affecting the audience (of the murals) and I had no interest in doing what was starting to feel like a big elaborate inaffectual movie poster.
So I quit the project.
David Young and I painted this 69 El Camino last january, we finally had a chance to get some footage together of this beast in action. A little inspirational driving Video…..
Last month I did the artwork for the cover of this Month’s Sierra Magazine. This was really an ideal situation. It’s a rare opportunity to get to work with a group as important as the Sierra Club. I also had the freedom to simply take this project and do what I do. Really, it was an ideal working environment. It’s always satisfying to be able to do your art while contributing to something you truly support. Some of you from San Francisco’s art community may recognize the model I used for the cover.
D young V and I collaborated of this piece in November. The Original piece is a 16×20 foot mural that was created as a part of Oakland’s First Fridays gallery walk. The Mural was reproduce on a 1 inch to 1 foot scale as a 16×20 inch Giclee print on 300lb Itlaian made cold press watercolor paper. This VERY limited edition print is a run of 20 only. Each print is signed by both artists and numbered.
Available at fiftyseven-thirtythree
Our good friend Nite Owl got us involved with this project for Art Murmur Oakland. A 16×20 ft wall to do whatever the fuck we pleased with. D young V and I only had a couple of days to bang this out . I actually like short deadlines because it cuts through all the bullshit and indecision. You just get it done. Awesome group of artists too. Nite Owl, Filth and Grime, Aura, Roar, 7seas, croma, onedr, Lydia Emily etc….
If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission.
Ambition 2 color hand screened poster.
This is a limited edition of 50 signed and numbered
Printed in Black and Metallic Gold on 110 lb Cranes 100% Cotton Rag
Now Available at fiftyseven-thirtythree.com
This past friday night I participated in the Oakland Museum’s “Political poster jam”. I did the Julian Assange piece below. I’d been meaning to do something with wikileaks and Julian Assange for a while. this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
Mindy Ross’s amazing home was featured in California Homes Magazine this month. Mindy owns a few of my pieces and hence I was in California Homes Magazine. I always experience this kind of uncomfortable excitement when I end up in place where I seemingly don’t belong. The W hotel, The New York Times, California Homes Magazine…