Come On To My “House”

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I return from a long hiatus to bring good news. By now most of you already know that my hometown of  Charlotte has been the latest city to see protests erupt in response to a questionable police-related death. Once violence erupted, many businesses within the vicinity of the chaos (mostly hotels) were vandalized on the first night. Since that night, many buildings were flanked by plywood where windows once stood. A lot of reservations were cancelled, losing the hotels a good amount of money. However, one guy had a great idea.

Matt Allen, general manager for the Hyatt House hotel, invited every artist in the Charlotte area to enhance the plywood with their talents. Being an artist as well, yours truly  could not resist the opportunity to be part of wonderful, project. From the locals such as the Charlotte Art League and my fellow SketchCharlotte member Mike Wirth and his art students pitched in with a variety of art mediums.

Naturally, media arrived to follow up on this wonderful movement.  The day I arrived, Fox News, international news agency CCTV, and local affiliates WSOC and WCCB came down to check out our work. Liz Foster of WSOC-tv interviewed me and representatives of the Charlotte Art League. (Link below. May have to sign onto facebook)

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It took 8 hours to complete my work. By the end, my legs hurt from standing all day and I was running low on energy. However, it was an energy well spent. Matt and the staff of the Hyatt House were the most gracious people, helping us out with any supplies we needed. When they let us use their restrooms to clean our brushes, I actually felt hesitant to dirty up the hotel’s gorgeous bathrooms with my messy supplies and make more work for the custodial staff. I offered to use the bar’s back kitchen but everyone said the lobby restrooms were just fine. These people were affected the most by the vandalism. Reduced business always effects those below the corporate level most. I felt compelled to help bring business back to the city, but of course I wasn’t the only one.

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(left) Work in Progress. (right) Design by Mike Wirth

 

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Charlotte: where everybody knows your name….

It was a wonderful experience. I made new friends, ran into old friends who happened to be walking down the street, and if anything else, helped bring Charlotte’s art scene to the mainstream. What am I talking about? When I first moved here back in 2012, I had to go out of my way to find the local art communities. Due to the upscale nature of uptown, a tourist will only have access to more formal institutions like the Bechtler, the Mint or Foundation for the Carolinas. Unless they catch an artPOP billboard or ride a tour bus that will stop in the North Davidson area, visitors will not be exposed much any local art.  By having an exhibit right where visitors can pass by and see what the other side has to offer, they may have just one more reason to come back.

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Queen Corgi says “hi”

 

 

Charlie Hebdo: What Responsibility do Cartoonists have?

My thoughts, like the Charlie Hebdo story, are still developing, I feel that I have not elaborated enough. Allow me to clarify.

Upon giving the ISIS cartoon a second look, I couldnt help but notice a few details about it that bugged me. In my opinion, there was little creativity behind making the cartoon: the ISIS leader just stands there and says something. When I think of satire, I look to symbols and uses of visual metaphors. None were used in the Charlie Hebdo cartoon in question. I began to wonder how blatantly the message was interpreted by the shooters.

I’m not saying that the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists deserved to die. Let’s get that out of the way. I do, however, think this tragedy brings out an uncomfortable reality in cartooning.

Lately, alot of the cartoons in I’ve seen in some publications simply appear juvenile or intend to push buttons. No metaphors, just a direct, unsubtle delivery of the message. It’s one thing to attract retaliation from speaking an undirected opinion but it’s another when you do so after creating was the cartooning equivalent of “yo mama” jokes. If you give a stranger the finger, should you be surprised if he punches you in the face?