Liberal bias in art

The Hold-Up Artist

Working Title: Give Me your Money, ‘cause I can’t sell my work otherwise

This painting was inspired by a conversation I had with a performance artist one day. The general idea was that we, as artists, have a right to ‘expose’ people to our art who would not seek it out themselves. Of course, that comes with the expectation of being paid for our work, although money is evil.
The entitlement mentality reigns supreme!

I think the imagery of the painting expresses my feelings on the subject pretty well. The world owes us nothing for our art. We are not special because of our creative abilities. As with anything else, if there’s a market for a piece of art, it will sell. No government intervention is needed or appropriate. I do not support the NEA.
This piece is a companion to the paintings titled: The Gaping Maw of Entitlement and Mr. Moral Superiority. Completed – 2008

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

How to Exorcise Conservative Thought in an Artist

This painting was inspired by several conversations I have had with other artists. The first reaction I face when describing my work and point of view is shock. Disdain or anger quickly follow. My impression is that I have no right to be conservative and that I am breaking some unspoken law by creating political work from my point of view. I suppose open-mindedness only applies to ideas that conform to the status quo. The next thing that typically happens is that I am quizzed on the minutia of American History facts and dates. Inevitably, I will not know a detail and then I am proven ignorant. This is the point at which I usually learn that the other artist used to be a professor and, therefore has an unfair advantage over me. So much for acceptance of opposing points of view. Or common civility.

I find these conversations inspirational, because they lead to all sorts of wonderful imagery. This painting was executed very quickly and I enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to doing more work in this style. – 2008

View more art in this series on the Art Community page.

Medium: acrylic and vine charcoal on wood panel

Dimensions: 14w x 26h x 4d

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

My Mission to #TakeBackOurCulture

I didn’t realize it at the time, but over a decade ago, I was laying the foundation for a movement to #TakeBackOurCulture. For years, I had been struggling with the desire to create art that would sell and painting things that I found inspiring or meaningful. My passion and inspiration took me in the direction of meaningful work, but the more involved I became in the art community, the more I realized that, as a libertarian, I was an outsider.

Two articles by my partner at Liberatchik describe the way I was treated, time and time again, when it became obvious to my peers that I did not share their social and political views.

Stunning piece: Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist
The Top Three Reasons Why Liberals Hate Conservatives

Over six years ago, Christopher found me, compliments of the internet, and asked me to help him find other artists who were going through the same things and help him build a community where all of us could show and discuss our art and ideas. We have gone through many metamorphoses over the years and grown exponentially. Today, there are over 40 artists working with us in some capacity, though all do not share their art in our public forums. 

Below is my artist statement, which hasn’t changed all that much over the years. I look forward to the day when I can work in my studio or write, as the mood strikes me, without the need to fight for equal representation in the arts and culture or open-mindedness and honesty from the cultural elite.

Artist Statement:

In our current political climate, a new vanguard of artists are beginning to raise their voices through works depicting previously unexpressed (at least openly) conservative political views. As an individual expression, political art is a powerful tool for political activism, and arguably crucial to fomenting political change. Propaganda techniques are indispensable. Whether or not you agree with the artist whose work you are viewing, you should be able to respect their right to free speech.
As artists, I believe we have a duty and responsibility to put forth opposing points of view to that of the establishment, whomever they may be. We need to combat lies and misrepresentations with verifiable facts and expose the treachery of blindly following ‘approved’ ideas and agendas. It is time that those of us who still hold the individual supreme stand up and make our voices heard. We now face a turning point in the history of America, where we can succumb to the whims of the State and willingly accept bondage, or lead the way to a Liberty Revolution with the purpose of restoring America to a Constitutional Republic. Mrs. Pelosi once sneered, in a statement meant to squash open dialogue, “Are you serious?”; I say “Yes Ma’am, I Am”.
As libertarians and conservatives, what should we be promoting through our art? Self-reliance, personal responsibility, a return to the principles of individual liberty and limited government. Freedom over tyranny. Reverence for beauty in reality and imagination, and the use of ugliness sparingly, as a means to illustrate a point, not an end goal.
We must define our principles clearly, then promote them effectively and repeatedly in ways that are quickly and easily understood. We have the ability to make a lasting and significant impact in this war of ideas, if only we can find the nerve and the strength to oppose the status quo.
Art, regardless of genre, has the ability to reduce complex concepts to easily grasped ideas, raise people and ideas to the status of icons, and reach wide audiences through a variety of means. It is my goal, through my personal art, to promote the ideas of Liberty and individual integrity. I believe that America is a great country and patriotism should not be a stigma. There is nothing selfish in taking pride in one’s accomplishments. I hope that America will one day return to a truly free nation, because it has not been so in my lifetime. I want to leave America better than I found it. My art is my tool for shaping that future.

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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.

Conservative Artists Should Stick It to the (Liberal) Man

What a nice surprise for Mother’s Day! My second submission to Big Hollywood went up two days after I submitted the draft to my editor. I took the day off, not expecting to be posted so quickly.

Here’s a sample:

It has become a popular mantra of progressives to claim that conservatives are unable to contribute in any meaningful way to art or entertainment in America.

Please read, share and comment here.

How to Exorcise Thought from a Conservative Artist
How to Exorcise Thought from a Conservative Artist
If you missed the first post, please take a look at it now:
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Hollywood/2013/04/28/artist-conservative-background

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

Conservatives Can’t be Creative

Written for Liberatchik.com

To the average progressive, it is inconceivable that a conservative could possess any level of creative ability. From some of the comments posted on my first Big Hollywood article describing my personal experiences in the art community, one would be led to believe conservatives are genetically predisposed to a boring and talentless existence. This failing on our part automatically disqualifies us from any discussion concerning culture or the arts. Because we will never contribute first-hand to these lofty aspects of society, in the eyes of the average progressive, we are not permitted to voice an opinion on the subject.

Many among the elitists in the art community will take this premise a step further, and suggest that conservatives are soulless monsters. This appears to be the only way they can justify a blanket statement disregarding anything conservative as being creative. This is also a common progressive tactic of dehumanizing the opponent. When you strip an entire demographic of their humanity, no one is particularly interested in how you treat them. Hence, the personal attacks in the comment threads of conservative artists and writers and the open exclusion of their work in any traditional art forum. Coming from a group that prides themselves on open-mindedness and relativism, this is quite a contradiction. Some even went so far as to suggest that I was making the whole thing up, because they know for a fact that these things just don’t happen. All of this angst-ridden protestation does, however, back up my point by validating my observation that liberals are anything but, well, liberal.

I think the real issue here is that liberals and progressives are finding themselves in the uncomfortable position of being the evil elite in the art community. They are the wielders of power and makers of kings; expecting the artists to grovel at their feet for a chance at the coveted public exposure they so jealously guard. Though a position of power may come with its perks, it also comes with resentment and backlash. The liberal elite are now in the inconvenient position of having to admit that a conservative political artist is avante-garde and revolutionary. That comes with a cool factor that they will not allow us to have without a fight. Because, if we’re perceived as being cool, the youth of America will become interested in what we are doing. Then, for us, possibilities are endless.

In the words of my friend and partner at Liberatchik, Christopher Cook, “Human liberty and natural rights are an unstoppable force: as long as there are humans, we will yearn for liberty. A movement [to express this yearning] is building now, and art will be a part of it. The statists can delay it, but they cannot stop it. Their time is coming to an end.” I am looking forward to being a voice for this movement and I hope you are as well.

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

How Conservative Artists Can Use New Media, Work Around Liberal Critics

Being a gadfly has finally paid off!

I made a pest of myself at CPAC this year, then followed up with some good, old-fashioned harassment when I got back. Thanks to the guys at Big Hollywood for giving me a platform!

“Most people can’t conceive of such a thing because they have always believed conservatives aren’t particularly creative. Others think having a message ruins the work. I am here to explain why we should be both seeking out and supporting conservative artists.

Like many creative conservatives I know, I spent several years struggling alone to make my way in the liberal-dominated art community. I tried to figure out what people wanted to buy from an artist. I spent hours walking through galleries to see what was selling. However, I am not the least bit interested in painting still-lifes or landscapes. Photo realism and portraiture don’t interest me much beyond their technical aspects. I can’t stand most abstract or modern art.”…

Read the full article here.

 

The Conservative Artist’s Handbook

 

This handbook was originally written during the development of  Liberatchik. I am posting it here as part of a series of articles leading up to CPAC 2013. (Co-Author Christopher Cook)
CPACFront2
What is Conservative Propaganda?

*Art for the new American Revolution*Creative, Conservative, Agitprop

 

How to be Openly Conservative in the Liberal Wasteland of the Arts

  1. Be strong in the conviction that you have a right to your opinions and their expression through your work. If you are not overtly political through your creativity, this rule does not apply. However, do not be afraid or ashamed of your philosophical views. Regardless of your inspiration or its manifestation, your personality, in its entirety, is essential to your creativity. Feelings are very powerful; put them to use.
  2. You must be willing to work hard. This is particularly important to those of you interested in creating political and patriotic works of art; be they film, paintings, sculpture, etc. The art community is cliquish and closed-minded in general, and often outwardly hostile to those it finds offensive. Be prepared to offend people, even when it is not your intention to do so. The best response is a reasoned argument.
  3. Do your research. If you intend to produce propaganda, you must be diligent in this point. If something elicits an emotional reaction, and inspires a painting, by all means—get to work! However, you must be prepared to defend yourself when you go public with it. You will be misunderstood and reviled in equal measure. As with political discussion, you will have more success defending your views if you can back them up with facts. If you are a purely emotional artist, be prepared to explain why you feel the way you do. Although emotionalism is seen as a virtue by the Left, they will often use yours to berate and demean you. It will be considered a sign of weakness. At some point in your career, you will run into an intellectual elitist who will expect you to know every date and name associated with the subject of your work. Save yourself the frustration of their condescension by providing as much information as you can. (These are usually professors or ex-school teachers, and they can be very patronizing.)
  4. Do not allow your views to be invalidated by accusations of “bigotry” or “fascism.” Be prepared to defend yourself and offer reasoned explanations of your meaning. Giving real examples of collectivist/leftist oppression, bigotry, and fascism will help to educate the undecided, as well as to defend you, your work, and the concepts of Liberty and individualism.
  1. Obstacles to overcome: Liberal outrage, lack of support from and general indifference of the Conservative community, general misunderstanding, resentment, fear of reprisal, black-listing by the art community, propaganda from the opposition.

Necessary qualities to acquire: courage, perseverance, strength, passion, conviction, principles, and determination. All of these traits are vital to combating the opposition.

  1. Goals
    1. Expose the shibboleths of the Left.
    2. Extol the virtues of Freedom and individualism.
    3. Combat Liberal propaganda with Conservative Propaganda.
    4. Produce patriotic art.
    5. Build up the positive while tearing down the negative.
    6. Network and spread awareness of the movement through your work.
    7. Announce openly that you would rather die on your feet, fighting for your principles, than serve the Liberal agenda on your knees or sit idly by while you are censored.
    8. Encourage other artists, particularly those starting their careers, through mentoring, patronage, encouragement, and exposure of their work.
    9. Educate yourself on the history of America and the failures of collectivism. Spread awareness and knowledge in order to extol the virtues of Liberty and the importance of individualism.

    CPACBack

Call to Artists!

Are you a libertarian or conservative artist ready to help build this movement? Do you want your art posted in our gallery? Now is the time to say “NO MORE!” to the relentless march of statism. Some do that with activism, some do it through policy work—we do it with art!

Contact us to get started.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com and a contributing writer at the Big Dawg Music Radio Blog, BlogBytes. 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.

Off The Hook with Lisa Mei Interview Notes 1/11/13

On Friday evening at 9:30pm EST, I have a radio interview with Lisa Mei of Big Dawg Music Mafia for their new show, Off the Hook. In preparation for the interview, I have been thinking about how I got started on this crazy road to building a conservative art movement. I am posting below the first of a short series of articles explaining how it all started.

How I got started with political art.

In my mid-twenties, I found myself spending more time discussing politics and current events than working in my studio. I was having a hard time focusing on art and finding inspiration for painting. It occurred to me that I was trying to paint what other people wanted and the lack of inspiration was showing through in my work.

When I realized that I was not inspired to create art from my imagination or direct observation, I started to wonder what it was that I should be creating. I have felt very strongly about politics for most of my life and have spent a great deal of time learning about history and philosophy. I decided that it would make sense to find a way to convey those complex ideas through my work, but didn’t want to be an editorial cartoonist – although I would later be accused of being just that in an effort to discredit my work. In short, I realized my art needed to have meaning.

Developing a style, after several years of working full time and ignoring the urge to paint, as well as illustrating the mounds of research I had accumulated, with simple images took some time to develop. Much of my early work was admittedly clumsy and obvious. Trying to create art while simultaneously caring for an infant and keeping a house in order, then moving and establishing a routine around getting him to school, and eventually going back to work for a few years, was a daunting challenge at times. However, I would not change a thing, except my personal shortcomings in regard to patience and taking on more than I can handle.

It was difficult, at first, to go from the mindset of painting what I saw to painting what I thought. Even more difficult was the idea of painting what I felt. The decision to pursue conservative political art came from two pivotal conversations with liberals. In the first, I was asked why I didn’t just paint something pretty and indicative of the human condition. In the second, I was told I would think differently if I were better educated. I realized at the moment of the second comment that there was a desperate need for a conservative movement in the arts. Admittedly, my short temper and impulsive drive to go against the grain were deciding factors as well. Most importantly, though, was a deep passion for America and the founding principles that were getting very little popular discussion at the time and no creative expression that I was aware of.

It took a few years and several conversations with my husband to realize that people need something uplifting and beautiful to inspire action. This coupled with the previous admonishment that my work was too serious and political, inspired me to develop my Liberty iconography. My personal hunger for knowledge and perspective has led me to illustrate current events, particularly acts of government, that effect the individual. More recently, I have been in pursuit of understanding the use of propaganda. Then, of course, there are always politicians and current events to satirize.

Although my work started out entirely as social commentary, it has developed on the advice of my husband, into a dual project. I have learned to embrace his conviction that the work should stand on it’s own as good art first, and learned to develop a more subtle means of conveying the ideas that inspire the work. It is my hope that people can now enjoy my work because it is pretty first, then get into the meaning of it all only if they are interested – rather than being bludgeoned by my opinion. I don’t always succeed of course, but at least I try.

My current projects include further developing my Liberty iconography and creating an icon for progressive ideas. The latter started out with several paintings depicting the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but quickly developed into a broader statement on progressivism and it’s effects on society. You can see the new works on my web page under The American Crow series.

In 2013, I am hoping to take this battle for our culture to the streets in the form of murals. I am currently negotiating patronage for my first project. If all goes well, you’ll be hearing more about that in the weeks  to come.

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