influence

Alinsky, Social Justice and a Cultural Revolution

#TheRevolutionaryHaloOfSocialJustice
The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice

 

… to the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

Alinsky’s dedication at the beginning of Rules for Radicals is telling of his personal morality and ultimate goals. Those who blindly follow the current purveyors of his philosophy, within our government, higher learning institutions and social organizations, would do well to examine his/their true motives and the consequences of following in the footsteps of a man who would pay homage to the ideological embodiment of evil.

 

Developing Iconography

 

There is no need to put words in Alinsky’s mouth or take his ideas out of context. There is no need to spin his philosophy like some two-bit mainstream journalist. Alinsky’s words speak clearly for him and his intent in all their wretched meaning. For this reason, several of his quotes were utilized in the under-painting for The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice.

This painting is part of an ongoing series based upon stylized American Crow iconography I am developing. Though the series started out as an illustration of the OWS movement, it quickly grew to encompass progressive thought in general as well as the societal and individual consequences of its implementation.

 

(Social)Justice is an allegorical portrait of Saul Alinsky, one of the most influential progressives in American history. In Rules for Radicals, he laid the groundwork and strategy for an all encompassing transformation of American thought and culture across institutional, economic and social boundaries. This painting attempts to capture the essence of those ideas.

 

The Progressive Tactic of Fomenting Despair

 

Early in the book, Alinsky quotes Dostoyevsky: “… Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future…”

 

Do you see a connection between these ideas and the current events sweeping America today? This quote by Dostoyevsky, as used by Alinsky, points to an agenda that encourages people to disregard the historic failures and precedents of statist ideology and its implementations across the globe. It encourages one to turn a blind eye to the deliberate destruction and loss of life at the hands of an elitist few. It then calls for a blind faith in the motives and power of that elite few rather than in individual responsibility and participatory self-governance.

 

The Common Good

 

The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people”.

 

With this quote, we start to see how the progressive movement started to change the people’s knowledge of America as a representational republic, to a belief in America as a democracy. This is based on an agenda of steering the populace toward support of mob rule, which devolves into tyranny and a dependence on the state for structure and support. The old saw goes: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to take it as truth”. Like the raucous caw of a crow, the populist mantra silences the voice of reason.

What is the goal of this redefinition of terms and intentional deception? First, it is anti-individual and purposefully vague in order to allow the elitist controlling class to redefine terms of duty and sacrifice as being for the common good. It softens the populace to the idea of redistribution of goods and services based on impact toward the common good. And, the very vagueness of the idea, gives those in control the ability to change course and redefine these very terms as needed.

 

People will rally behind the ideas of freedom and justice, even when they are denied these institutions themselves. The challenge and the power come in presenting an agenda in a way that appeals to the emotions first; to make people feel disenfranchised, victimized and entitled to compensation. Once this is achieved, it is a small step to organize them into an activist mob disinterested in the moral implications of their actions.

In fact, Alinsky goes so far as to consider moral concerns a bourgeois affectation; impracticable in the real world. His approach builds on Hobbes’ belief that men are essentially savages in a brutish world. But, rather than merely suggest that a leviathan state is the only method with which to control the vagaries of barbarism, he encourages his followers to take advantage of their collective barbarity at the expense of society.

Quotes in the Painting

I have incorporated some pop culture references and direct quotes from Rules for Radicals in the under-painting. Upon closer examination, the more relevant portions show through, inviting the viewer to step up and examine the painting closely. Of course, the crow stands alone as a piece of art, so it is not particularly relevant for you to know what it means. What it does is engage you directly as a means to open dialogue on the subject portrayed in the painting. The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice is intended to inspire a closer examination of Mr. Alinsky’s model for social destruction and reformation. I leave you, for now, with some quotes from the under-painting.

“Some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight 2008

“…if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise…” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

“To me, ethics is doing what is best for the most”. – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes.Her articles have also been published at Big Hollywood. Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

 

Editorial Cartoonist Portrays Ted Cruz as a Clown

Using Art to Push an Agenda 101

While clipping news articles for some upcoming mixed media projects, I came across this cartoon:

CruzClown

You and I may find it absurd; but we are not the target audience.

This cartoon is from the Athens Banner Herald in Georgia (hometown to the University of Georgia). As one might guess, Athens is your average college town; primarily liberal in mindset. Athens is also closely surrounded by a smattering of small suburbs and low-income areas before reverting to its rural/agrarian heritage, where people think of Athens in terms of football and ag programs – and little else.

Ironically, it is know-it-all college kids on their high horses of progressive indoctrination who will be among those most surprised, and directly effected, by the gargantuan health care law’s implementation. The average estimate projects that young Americans will see a 260% increase in premiums under the ACA, even though those same young Americans voted for democrats and a president, in part, to push this law through on the rest of us.

To be fair, some of the low-income voters and farmers in the area may have thought the bill a good idea as well, before it was passed so they could see what was in it. Perhaps they were under the impression that some evil rich guy would be paying for their healthcare henceforth and all their worries would come to an end. What a nasty surprise all of these unintended consequences must be for them.

So, why then, do we have a local paper bothering to print a cartoon ridiculing Cruz for his opposition to the ACA? If the Herald is preaching to the choir, what’s the point?

The point is, many in the choir have changed their tune, and their song has become discordant. Some people, who were perfectly happy to ignore the consequences for the rest of us as long as they thought they would be exempt, have woken up. Unfortunately for them, they have awakened to the reality of government mandated healthcare.

 

Rules for Radicals, or Those Merely Pretending to Be

 

So, amidst all of the policy debates and emotional bickering, what is the significance of one cartoon? We must defer to the wisdom(evil) of Saul Alinsky for understanding on these points.

 

First, it is designed to ridicule a Senator for doing his job: defending the constitution, as well as, the rights and concerns of his constituents. As I have explained in several previous articles, progressives use derision and character assassination to destroy the credibility of their opposition. True or not, fair or not, this tactic works. Once you consider a Senator a clown, are you really going to listen to anything he has to say?

 

For Progressives, and some GOP establishment cronies, it is enough to call Cruz a clown and consider the discussion over. That’s fine if you’re exempt from the law you passed in the first place; but what about the rest of us? For those of us who are not receiving exemptions or subsidies, the ACA is a question of constitutionality and economic impact… whatever the Supreme Court may say to the contrary. (For a more lengthy explanation of these points, I refer you to the Federalist Papers and Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments).

 

Secondly, this cartoon is a perfect example of how progressives use culture, however insignificant, to push their agendas. You may pass a mere cartoon off as inconsequential if you even notice it at all. You may not consider it art and wonder the point I am making.

A cartoon may not be fine art, but it does have cultural significance – even more so based on its ability to reach a broader range of viewers through mass publication. Is it likely to change the minds of people like me who support Cruz? No. But it may plant a seed of doubt in the minds of people on the fence about the law. It will certainly bolster the resolve of the law’s supporters, justifying their subsequent reactions to and treatment of those in opposition.

 

Did you notice the Freudian slip and the irony contained within this cartoon? Uncle Sam is ill, but his cure won’t come from big government intrusion in the lives of its citizens. Besides, he’s old. It’s likely he’s not eligible for anything beyond end of life counseling and painkillers – while there’s still funding for such things.

 

Where’s the Conservative Alternative?

While some members of congress and the conservative media are taking a stand, where is the conservative art community on this issue? You wouldn’t know outside of Ramirez’s and Branco’scartoons because very few are giving a cultural approach a second thought on our side. Nobody with any mass influence, anyway. (That’s a subject for a future article of some length.)

Once again, our side is turning its back on one of the most influential and readily available means to effect policy debate in America. The results for our future are both disastrous and predictable.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes. Her articles have also been published at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice

 

**This article is a lead in to the piece I am currently writing. I finished the painting about a month ago, but as always, I am dreadfully behind on promoting myself. Here is a collection of thoughts as I was writing the piece. I will post the completed article soon.**

Rules for Radicals…

This painting is a conceptual portrait of Saul Alinsky’s political philosophy as described in Rules for Radicals. It is a glimpse into the motivations and strategies of one of the masterminds of the modern progressive movement. Those of you who are not yet familiar with the back story on my American Crow Series can learn more here.

 The American Crow…

Like other paintings in the series, it is a conceptual portrait of the subject as they are; drawing parallels to the less savory nature of the crow. In this series, I am developing iconography to represent the progressive movement, their goals, and their tactics. Their means to an end are often unpleasant and go so far as to infringe on the human rights and civil liberties of the very people they are purporting to help. Consider this a revelation, through cultural means, of the true intent of the progressive movement.

As noted, this particular piece focuses on the teachings of Saul Alinsky. I have incorporated some pop culture references and direct quotes from Rules for Radicals in the under-painting. Upon close examination, the more relevant portions show through, inviting the viewer to step up and examine the painting more closely. Of course, the crow stands alone as a piece of art, so it is not particularly relevant for you to know what it means.

Quotes…

I leave you, for now, with the quotes from the under-painting. The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice will appear in my next article as accompaniment to a closer examination of Mr. Alinsky’s model for social destruction and reformation.

 “Some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight 2008

 “…if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise…” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 “To me, ethics is doing what is best for the most”. – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes. Her articles have also been published at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

Solution to Public Funding #1: Private Patronage

A discussion about getting the government out of the business of funding the arts is only half of the issue. There needs to be an honest and civil discussion about alternative funding solutions. As conservatives and libertarians, we should be able to grasp this concept fairly easily. Here is a short list of the issues I often run up against in the discussion of funding art and suggestions for solutions.

 

Patronage is not Welfare.

Because the creative elite have pushed for a liberal slant in the arts for so long, and so many artists have gotten by on a hand-out from the NEA rather than market based factors, conservatives have come to equate any discussion of art funding with welfare. One can hardly blame them when it is obvious that many of the artists receiving grants produce work that cannot stand on its own merits.

It is time to discuss private patronage. If you want to control the direction our culture takes, seek out and purchase work by artists and entertainers you like or who share your ideology. Take direct action and become part of the solution rather than wasting time complaining about the problem.

Changing the system from within does not seem possible. Building an opposing program with the expected out-lash from the establishment won’t be easy. Therefore, we must immediately build patronage for the art we want. Sharing work you find appealing is crucial to building support for cultural change.

 

Boycotts and Buycotts work .

Boycotts are not about running someone out of business. They are the means to achieve a social end. Boycotts make a public statement about a particular issue and rally people who share your views behind a cause. Instead of complaining about the liberal artists who offend you, ignore them. The worst thing you can do is post images and links to their work as an example of what is wrong with our culture. This just sends people off to their web pages and directs traffic away from artists on our side who need our support. It is a wasted effort, because it directs attention away from good art and entertainment .

Buycotts are also a successful means to achieve social ends. Look at the media publicity and boost in sales at Chik-fil-A as an example. There is no reason why we cannot translate this sort of publicity and cooperation into a support structure for conservative culture. There is no better way to fight the liberal bias in art and entertainment than to promote conservative alternatives.

 

Support networks among artists and patrons are key.

This does not have to be an organized or established effort, though pooling our resources will make this effort more successful. Seek out, support and share information and links between artists and potential patrons. There are many conservative and classically trained and oriented art groups out there. Liberatchik and Big Dawg Music Mafia are the ones I have connections with, but I also encourage you to seek out others.

 

 

Understanding the bigger picture.

Though there need to be free market, incentive-based solutions to building and promoting a cultural scene worthy of patronage, we must also accept the need to work outside the current system to support, not just conservative artists, but good classically-trained artists.

 

We need to understand that the NEA is not a purely economic crutch for artists. It is also the pinnacle of an elitist and exclusionary culture that determines what kind of art the public is exposed to. We must develop networks to showcase and promote art that is good as well as art by known conservative artists. This is not a rallying cry to steer the arts in the opposite extreme where liberals are excluded on principle.

Yes, I say seek out ad promote conservative artists, but not to the exclusion of good art. The ideology is only half the message. There also needs to be a return to quality aesthetics and merit-based criteria when discussing art. A good ole boys’ club of conservative ideology at the expense of the quality of the art is not the solution.

 

In summary, take action, take control and become part of the solution.

Where is John Galt ? #1Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Big Hollywood and BlogBytes. Her art and writing can also be viewed at MachinePolitick.

Punk Rock Didn’t Need Our Money, Nor Should Other Artists

 

My third article is up at Big Hollywood and there is a rather lively discussion going, with issues from both sides of the political spectrum popping up. I hope you will take a minute to read and participate in the discussion.

Public funding of the arts has propped up a culture of elitism and mediocrity for too long. It is time for a change.

I can already hear the collective gasp of the art community. “How dare you suggest the era of publicly-funded art come to an end?”

It’s actually quite simple. Public art funding has been the crutch for hangers-on and entitled elitists for generations. It is time they stand on their own merit and answer to those from whom their handout has been taken. It is not acceptable to expect families with children to feed to contribute to the career of some distant artist whose work they may not even like, or ever see for that matter. Even staunch advocates for public funding of the arts have asked themselves how arguing for public funding gets anywhere when the argument seems so self-serving. …

Read the full article here, then share and comment, please.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Big Hollywood and BlogBytes. Her art and writing can also be viewed at MachinePolitick.

How Can Art Affect Public Perceptions, Opinions and Philosophy?

Art affects people on many levels. First and foremost, it affects the viewer by appealing to their individual aesthetic preferences. We may not know why we like a piece of art, only that it appeals to us. This visual connection may be a result of color, composition, shape, balance and a myriad of other elements, alone or in various combinations. Some work appeals to us merely because it is pretty. Other pieces illicit an emotional reaction. Our attractions vary with our beliefs and personalities, as much as with the merits of the work we are viewing.

The iconic nature of modern graphic design, and its influence on the fine arts, has become a useful and often subtle tool of the modern propagandist. We are so immersed in the realm of digital and printed media, that we are often exposed to ideas and marketing on a subconscious level. In the younger generations, the need to fit in and be considered cool makes their demographic particularly susceptible to an underlying idea or agenda. Good art, skillfully employed, can reduce a complex concept to a simple image that is easily understood and successfully promotes a particular concept or belief. Depending on the subtlety or brazenness of the image, the viewer may not even realize they are looking at anything more complicated than a cool graphic. Subtle works of art are often more successful because the message they are promoting goes unnoticed on a conscious level. In this way, ideas are perceived as truth without questioning motives, availability of facts, or opposing points of view. The success of this type of propaganda is increased by repetition which serves to reinforce the formation of the desired opinion. I am going to focus entirely on the cultural and political aspects of propaganda, particularly on the influence it has on the way people think and act (please check back for additional articles in this series). I believe the influence of ideas and philosophy has the most lasting and significant impact on our culture. Art is, quite possibly, the most affective tool for the dissemination of ideas.

When used by the individual artist, these expressions of philosophy and opinion fall firmly within the realm of free speech. When sponsored by the government, they become manipulative propaganda. Regardless of the intended use of the art in question, the intended outcome of its use, or the projected benefit, it is not an appropriate endeavor for government. There is too much room for abuse and factual inaccuracy or manipulation and insufficient objective scrutiny to maintain unbiased representation. More importantly, government funding of the arts is an inappropriate use of tax money, regardless of its intended use.

Movie Review: Runaway Slave

Runaway Slave Documentary
Runaway Slave Documentary

This powerful documentary by Rev. C.L. Bryant is crucial viewing for those who truly want to change the plight of black Americans and bring an end to the racial divide in our country. Runaway Slave throws into stark contrast the opposing views of entitlement foisted on the black community by LBJ’s Great Society against the message of self-reliance and independence building among those who want to heal the wounds of our past.

Through a series of interviews and candid conversations on the streets across America, Rev. Bryant reveals a racial bitterness in the black community and attempts to explain, not only why  people still feel this way, but how their champions in the Democrat Party are responsible for sustaining an environment that cultivates these feelings. The most important questions, that deserves and answer in this film is: How can people continue to follow community leaders who offer no solutions to lift up the black community while simultaneously fueling dependence, envy and hatred among those people?

The beginning of the documentary compares Rev. Al Sharpton’s Reclaim the Dream Rally to Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally, which occurred at the same time just blocks away. At Sharpton’s Rally, there was a message of anger, resentment and false accusations; at Beck’s, a call for community based solutions and an effort to right the wrongs of the past. At Sharpton’s rally there are demands for reparations and accusations of racism; at Beck’s a call to step out of the darkness of the past and create good for all people.

The result of these distinctly opposing messages was clear in the reactions of the people Rev. Bryant engages as the rallies end. A young woman leaving the Reclaim the Dream Rally asserts that whites are guilty by inheritance of a legacy based on 500 years of historic oppression and brutality. Several other people claim that America is a racist nation. All of this is fueled by Rev. Sharpton’s speech in which he said “We took food stamps and welfare and re-ordered the economy… We know how to sucker-punch you…”. How do we expect a nation to heal when our community leaders are promoting this message to the people?

Rev. Bryant is attempting to change this mindset and build a network of community leaders with a positive message. He asks, “Why are we divided along racial lines?”, then sets out to explain the answer and offer solutions. One of the young men he interviews sums up the issue by answering, “Our attitude and self-enthusiasm are holding us back”.

This leaves us with only one real question to answer. Will we allow the wounds of our past to be our undoing?

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com. She is also a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com.

What is Liberatchik?

This article was written for Big Dawg Music Mafia as prep for my radio interview on Friday, January 11 at 9:30pm EST.

After realizing that it’s nearly impossible to show conservative political art in galleries, I set about to market myself independently. It would be unfair to say no one has been willing to show my work, just very few. One of the best shows I have had was at The Apache Cafe in Atlanta, just before the 2008 election. I showed most of my early political paintings and some sculpture at that show and enjoyed discussing the work with the audience who were predominantly liberal. At the same time, I participated in an underground show as the token conservative artist just a few blocks away. Other than that, I get very few opportunities that do not require me to donate all or a large portion of the sale of my art to the venue.

We could debate all day why this is the case, but there’s really no point. As a libertarian, I don’t believe anyone owes me anything and it’s a waste of my time to fight a system that is currently set against the work I create. So, I put together a web page (with the help of my husband) and started social networking like a madwoman. Somewhere along the way, Christopher Cook of Modern Conservative and Western Free Press got in touch with me and we started working together. Three years and many hours of hard work later, Liberatchik has evolved into a group of conservative fine artists with a gallery to display their work and a blog for their writing or press about their art. (Those interested in submitting work for consideration should contact frances@machinepolitick.com for more information on the jury process and submission guidelines. Liberatchik is not a social network, it is the face of a fine art movement – work is juried and articles are reviewed by an editor before posting for continuity and professionalism.)

Though our reach is currently limited to what two people can accomplish working around full time jobs and family responsibilities, we are building an impressive group of artists and faithful followers. One of our artists, William Harris, organized an art show for our work at a Tea Party event in Michigan. In 2011, Christopher and I went to CPAC where I distributed a booklet I made with work representing our group at the time. Incidentally, that is where I connected with BDMM, although I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to Lisa Mei in person. I am grateful to her for getting in touch with me and cultivating our current relationship, because my feelings about conservative culture were much worse when I left. Of course, the problem is not with what she or I are trying to accomplish, but with the general mindset conservatives have about the arts. Fortunately, we have had a few opportunities to work together since then and help promote each other’s work.

I am looking forward to a long relationship and hopefully working together in person some day. Until then, please tune in for Friday’s Off the Hook show for my interview.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com. She is also a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com.

Why is Shepard Fairey’s Work Good?

I know this is going to be a hard article for many conservatives to read. It is understandable that an artist who is essentially the poster-child for progressive hypocrisy would be the last person whose work they would consider good. Nor would they expect a conservative art page to say as much. As in so many things cultural, they would be wrong. That is the point of this article. Conservatives need to hear some things they don’t like, beginning with Fairey’s talent and marketing acumen, if they are going to compete in the war for America’s culture.

Eat the Rich

There is much we can learn from the art and graphics of Shepard Fairey. As a propagandist, he may be one of the most successful contemporary street, and simultaneously commercial, artists in the world. The fact that he creates many of his beautiful mixed-media paintings on a canvas of urban decay and exterior walls is a testament to the power and foresight of his vision. As the artist himself says, “You have to get your work in front of as many people as possible”. Few artists, with the exception of Bansky, have cultivated the following and respect necessary to achieve global recognition in such a public and previously anonymous venue.

One of the reasons for Fairey’s enduring success, in my opinion, is the quality of his work. This is where conservatives are going to have a problem. Those of you who are familiar with his work know that he is the quintessential progressive with an obsessive grudge against conservatism, American idealism and capitalism. Clearly he has marketing acumen and has successfully embraced capitalism – but is that enough? Ignore the gulf between what he says and what he does and focus on this quote from one of his videos: “Art and commerce need each other”. This is something we need to take up as our standard and make it our own. There would be no greater testament to the liberty movement than a thriving art community that supports conservative ideas. I would argue further that one of the reasons we are loosing politically is because we are not fighting on the battle of cultural and societal issues. We have no message, no passion, no creative spark in the public eye.

If you divorce yourself for a moment from the message of Fairey’s work, you cannot contend that it is not good. Many of his pieces are absolutely gorgeous – although I have to admit that it took over ten hours of reading artist statements and looking at photo galleries on his web page, then watching videos of his installations to overcome my personal aversion to his message. Now that I am desensitized to the progressive dogma that he spews, I can explain to you the importance of learning from his work. I personally have no interest in wasting time reinventing the wheel. There is much to be learned from artists like Bansky and Fairey and far too little time to catch up to them in the nearly one-sided cultural battle that is wreaking havoc on our society.

Even those works that are not particularly good, or aesthetically beautiful can teach us something if we are willing to learn. Those that lack the beauty of layering and detail stand out for their graphic simplicity; and in some cases project a stronger message. The determination in what is a good piece of art does not just come from the question of whether it is aesthetically pleasing. Clarity of message and technical skill go a long way to making a piece of art good. One cannot honestly argue that Fairey’s work is not compelling on the grounds of ideological disagreement. Like the proverbial train wreck, you cannot look away, even when the work offends your personal beliefs and principles. It is understandably difficult to look past political differences, particularly in a time when conservatives are in the minority regarding art, cultural propaganda and social issues. But, it is precisely because we face the real chance of becoming the ideological minority that we must learn to embrace political activism, cultural endeavors and the use of propaganda.

So, how does a conservative make headway in the arts, which are dominated by liberal elitists? How does one stand in the face of gleeful derision and an overwhelming message of opposing all things conservative? I will argue in future articles that it is precisely for these reasons that we must get involved.

Back on topic: What makes Fairey’s work so successful? Strong graphics and an emotionally charged message are the key here. People react strongly to Fairey’s work because it appeals to them on a personal level. This is even more so in communities that are overburdened with victim status and entitlement mentalities. Fairey creates bogeymen from recognizable objects and public figures, then offers up saints and idols of great and memorable beauty as a counterbalance. Strong graphics are one of the most invaluable tools of the propagandist because they translate complex ideas into easily understood and reproduced images. In cases of work like Fairey’s they make those ideas cool, trendy and acceptable as fact.

The underlying beauty, borne of creative vision and technical skill are the main reasons for the success of Fairey’s propaganda. It is strong. It is pretty. It appeals to the human need to decorate one’s surroundings. Intricate layers of collage, screen printed icons and words peek through the final graphics, catching the inquisitive viewer’s eye and drawing them into the work. Upon further examination ideas are absorbed, and often, minds are changed. Compositionally, the underlying elements may fade into the background, but they remain influential on a subliminal level. Distressed layers of paint and medium soften the contrast between the background and the iconic images of the foreground. In this way Fairey successfully uses the elements of graphic design and illustration to spread ideas that influence people and ultimately change cultural trends. He deserves much credit for the surge in popularity and acceptance of street art, not just as a medium of rebellious creativity, but of fine art as well.

This didn’t happen overnight. Fairey’s career spans thirty years, give or take. We need conservative artists with the same quality of work, passion, clarity of vision and strength of message to create a cultural movement for liberty. Someone has to start the trend. I hope to hear from those of you who are willing to take on this challenge. There is a market and a desperate need for our work – if only we can find the passion to create it.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com. She is also a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com.

Previous articles in this series:

Who is Shepard Fairey

Who is Shepard Fairey?

This article is the first in a series exploring propaganda in general, and the work of Shepard Fairey in particular. I am going to jump right in under the assumption that most here are at least familiar with his Hope painting above, if not with his larger body of work. Because I have some clear biases against his message, I fully expect you to look him up independently to get a clear perspective on his message and intentions.

Some of you are familiar with my writings on Propaganda and Marketing. For those who are not, please follow the links provided and take the time to read some of the articles. I am putting a great deal of time and research into these articles because I believe it is crucial to the future of our country and our culture to promote a conservative movement in the arts. You cannot fully understand the importance of such a movement without historic perspective and an understanding of what the progressives have been working so hard to achieve through art and culture.

Fairey is not the only mainstream artist promoting progressive ideas through his work. He is, however, one of the most successful and easily recognizable. In addition, he is a highly talented artist, which makes his message more readily acceptable and easily absorbed. I do not question his right to freedom of expression; quite the contrary. What I question  is the message itself and its acceptance by our society as not just valid, but defensible by Any Means Necessary.

More importantly, I question Mr. Fairey’s many contradictions of character and hypocrisy of action. Other writers have explored the question of how he can justify becoming wealthy by participating in a capitalist system he considers evil. The defense of playing the system from within is weak at best, given the sheer volume of work he creates (presumably with help from a large crew) and the copious quantities of merchandise he makes available at his shows in high-dollar galleries. His hypocrisy is not the subject of this article, however.

My concern at this stage in the conversation is his clear disdain for a conservative point of view and his dishonesty expressing it, evinced in an artist statement from his web page:

“Many people who are familiar with the sticker find the image itself amusing, recognizing it as nonsensical, and are able to derive straightforward visual pleasure without burdening themselves with an explanation. The PARANOID OR CONSERVATIVE VIEWER however may be confused by the sticker’s persistent presence and condemn it as an underground cult with subversive intentions. Many stickers have been peeled down by people who were annoyed by them, considering them an eye sore and an act of petty vandalism, which is ironic considering the number of commercial graphic images everyone in American society is assaulted with daily.”

This is directly contradictory to other statements expressed on his web page regarding the need to promote  a message through his art. Do not mistake my criticism as a reaction to his views. I actually enjoy learning what the ‘other side’ thinks. It helps me with my own work. I am merely pointing out the fact that you cannot say the Obey campaign means nothing, then later describe it as being the vehicle for a propaganda campaign. Surely, the image has evolved over time from the innocuous to the propaganda tool – that is not the issue. The issue is a clear disdain for those who would criticize the message. Mr. Fairey has no problem criticizing conservatives or their messages – surely he does not consider himself above the fray.

At this point I am organizing my thoughts and processing the information available on Mr. Fairey’s work. While this first article may seem disjunct and not having much point, I ask for your patience. Changing American culture will not happen overnight or without a clear understanding of what needs to change. Please take the time to follow the links provided and get acquainted with some history and ideas that may not be familiar to you. These topics are crucial to your understanding of points in future articles.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com. She is also a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com.

Conservative Artist’s Work Found Offensive at BYU

I wanted to post this article for those of you who still think our educational institutions are concerned with education. I am sure there are exceptions across the country to this sarcastic allegation. I also recognize the right of a University’s higher ups to make decisions based on predetermined criteria, educational guidelines or their own personal whims. Students are, after all, still free to choose which institution they will attend. However, the choice to censor specific points of view as offensive comes with consequences. One of which is people making such decisions public knowledge, and hopefully in this case, at an economic penalty to the university in question.

Below is a link to the full article and my most recent comment on the Liberatchik Face Book thread regarding the article. I hope that you will read this story and pass it on. There is no excuse for the level of manipulation being exercised on college students and their access to information that is currently being promoted in US universities. If you have time and the inclination, I hope that you will also consider contacting the university to voice your displeasure with their decision. If we don’t speak up, our voices will not be heard.

BYU Censors Artwork for Being Too Conservative

This is a sad day for me to have to write this.  I am a graduate of BYU and have many friends that work at the university.  After recent events I had to let the public know why I have chosen to pull all my art from the BYU Bookstore.
“It’s worse than a waste, it’s proof of the degeneration of our colleges in general. More specifically, it is an indication of the level of effort that is being used to determine students’ access to ideas and history.
I am not a religious p
erson, so when I tell you this action deeply offends me philosophically, you need to understand the magnitude of that statement. This action on the part of BYU is not specifically about censoring religion, although that is part of it, but more significantly about re-writing history.
I say this because I have seen allegations recently that the word God was not originally in the Constitution to the degree that it is now. Alinsky knew what he was talking about when he said that you simply have to repeat your ideology loudly enough and often enough, until one day people take it as fact and stop verifying its veracity.”
Please follow the link to join us on Face Book and help spread the word and support for our efforts to build a conservative art community. If there was ever a time for a cultural revolution in this country, it is now.
This article was written for Liberatchik, home of the Declarationist Art Movement; the voice for conservatives in the arts.
Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com.

Artists Don’t Seem to Care About Freedom of Speech

Several weeks ago, I was sent an email by a friend Jimmy in California concerning the disappearance of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. There is very little information from China on the artist’s dissappearance or the reason why he is apparently being held by the Chinese government. In the weeks since Ai was spirited away, several of his peers have also been held for various reasons and lengths of time. Because Ai is an outspoken opponent of the Chinese government, there is an outcry in the Chinese art community; but very little is being said on the subject here in the United States.

I find it shameful that our art community has so little to say about an artist being arrested by his government for exposing human rights abuses. I know the Chinese government is claiming that Ai is behind on his taxes, but I think we all know better than that. Besides, from what I understand, a Chinese citizen is not to be held for more than 35 days without formal charges. Mr. Weiwei has been missing since April 3 – 64 days and counting.

Here in the U.S., with the exception of a few politicians and art elite, there isn’t much outrage on Mr. Weiwei’s behalf. The most elaborate protest I have heard of was by a Cuban artist who projected Ai’s image on the side of the Chinese consulate in NYC. It would be funny if it weren’t in response to such a serious issue. It makes me sad to think that most of the people walking by probably had no idea what the installation was about or that the Ai’s Zodiac Head sculptures are on display outside the Plaza Hotel until July 15, 2011.

Equally disappointing is the fact that I cannot get enough support for a show demanding his release to acquire a venue. I live just outside Atlanta, which is a fairly large metropolitan area, but no luck. In a country where we still enjoy freedom of speech and assembly, and even more telling – where artists can live off the government dole without censorship of their work – it makes me furious to think they can’t stand up as a whole and demand the release of someone who has been imprisoned for expressing his opinions. Given the anti-American leanings of most artists, you would expect Ai to surpass Che as their new poster child. You would be wrong.

Here in America, artists are free to ridicule, criticize and revile their government. In China, they are censored. Here in America, artists are bemoaning the suggestion that NPR, PBS and the NEA be cut back or eliminated altogether. At least one of these organizations has admitted they don’t even need the funding. In China, Ai Weiwei sits in prison.

Jimmy Arone’s silent protest at the Geffen Contemporary. Stencil by artist, THEFL.

More art by THEFL to raise awareness for Ai Weiwei’s disappearance.

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Jimmy Arone’s silent protest at the Geffen Contemporary. Stencil by artist, THEFL.

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More art by THEFL to raise awareness for Ai Weiwei’s disappearance.

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Detail of painting at the end of Mr. Arone’s driveway. He lives down the street from a high school outside of L.A. The work was installed with the hope that some of the teenagers would make an effort to learn more. Last time I spoke to Jimmy, he said he had had a few interesting conversations about Ai’s disappearance and the importance of human rights.

Additional Reading:

A Weekend of Protests for Incarcerated Artist Ai Weiwei

Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Arrested in Latest Government Crackdown

Argument Against China Just got Stronger

Weiwei’s Conversation at the Tate Modern

Various Updates at Courrielche.com

Ai Weiwei, Symbol of Desire for Freedom

Yahoo Search Page

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com. Frances will be representing Liberatchik at a booth at the Freedom Jamboree in Kansas City September 28 – October 2, 2011.