political activism

Silence of the Lambs

 

This drawing is in response to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. What a lovely title. It almost makes you feel like they’ve done something to make politicians less corrupt. What they’ve really done is tell you who you can support and how much you can give them. Don’t be fooled by the tripe about getting the money out of politics. The guys with big money on both sides can find ways around something as insignificant as a little law. They already have in most cases. All it really does is make it harder for the little guy who’s trying to follow the law to exercise his right to free speech and to vote.

Making politics more transparent and less driven by money is a load and we all know it. There’s not much else to say. We all know these guys are just trying to stay in office and keep anyone new off their turf. People who break the rules under one system will do so under any system. Legislation doesn’t change that, it just makes things harder for people who follow the law.

The imagery in this drawing illustrates the red tape of government regulation silencing the people. We do this to ourselves when we continue to vote the same people into office year after year because of party loyalty. This is just one more reason I support term limits and hope to see third party philosophies become more popular. Completed – 2007
Medium: Charcoal and ink on paper
Dimensions: 24w x 24h x 1d

Additional blogs regarding the First Amendment:

The Fairness Doctrine Looms on the Horizon

The Fairness Doctrine Looms on the Horizon, Pt.2

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.

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.

How do we #TakeBackOurCulture?

 

Controlling the narrative is vital to influencing our culture, but what does this mean? Does it mean wresting the culture from the progressives’ cold, dead hands and never allowing open discussion again? No, it does not. It means demanding, fighting for, and creating an environment where everyone has the opportunity to express their views in the arts and entertainment industries.
Any attempt to completely silence opposing views will only lead to a severe pendulum-swing of public support for the opposition. It is also vital that we resist the urge to be petty and vindictive. This kind of expression may win you points with your peers, but it reflects poorly on our movement in the long term. We are not here to preach to the choir. That is not how minds are changed or how meaningful impact on society is made.

With that idea in mind, how do you get started? Every artist has a different style, different interests, and different preferences for medium. I would suggest that you figure out what you like to work with first. Next, hone your focus. If you try to tackle too many ideas in one piece of art, you will likely end up with something difficult to understand. Decide which ideas or issues are most important to you, then do the research. This is particularly important if you are creating conceptual art or a documentary. Facts are incontrovertible and invaluable. However, your biggest challenge here will come from developing interesting and impactful iconography and/or a story line that interests the viewer. Don’t slap a bunch of statistics and a graph together and call it done. You need to make it interesting as well as informative.

What is MachinePolitick?

My personal work has developed immensely over the last decade that I have been creating intentionally political art. Much of my initial inspiration was based on personal attacks heaped upon me by my peers in the art community who were offended by the idea that anyone creative could be pro-American or Libertarian-minded. I’m sure you have all had some kind of similar experience for expressing conservative views in your own fields. I have been called everything from ignorant to a Nazi. I have been told it would be nice if I just painted something pretty instead of all this angry political work – yet everywhere I go, I see support for progressive, anti-American art, music and movies. These experiences were the main impetus for me becoming a conceptual political artist.
A secondary motivation was the lack of initiative being taken on our side. We seem all fired up and ready to go now, but twelve years ago, openly conservative and libertarian political artists were virtually non-existent. There has always been a lot of noise on our side about how much progressive art sucks, how dishonest and detrimental modern art is, and the open hostility of the art community toward outsiders; but there was very little being done to change the culture publicly, and even less support for those who were taking this task on.
Not being of a mind to play along to get along, I started thinking about how I could inject a political message into my art without having it come across as trite or boring. It took a few years to figure out how to transform facts and research into iconography that would appeal to people. It took somewhat longer to learn how to make the work more subtle, so that it didn’t make people angry at first glance. Though I don’t care all that much whether or not people like may art or take anything away from it, I realize that minds won’t be changed if people walk away angry. I also started to realize that I was learning more about the things I oppose and find offensive by talking to people who had a progressive world-view. You can do research all day long, but it doesn’t help you understand how people feel or how they can justify oppression and redistribution. I realized, one day, that I can’t create in a vaccum, and that I was finding inspiration for art in conversations with people who were often quite hostile.

Making it Pretty

Give-Me-Liberty.jpg

One day my husband told me that he thought people need to be inspired by art, not always hit over the head with an idea. That was the turning point at which I realized I needed to find ways to be more subtle in the larger body of my work, as well as find ways to make art that was beautiful AND meaningful. This was the point at which I developed my Liberty icon and began repeating it in my work. I realized that, as angry as I was at being attacked and ridiculed, that I was missing the point of my own art and ideals about cultural change. So, this is the point at which we begin to discuss the how and why of my art.

Layering

Don't Cry for Me Amerika
Don’t Cry for Me Amerika

I have a propensity for research and an overwhelming compulsion to cram it all into a painting. This is why you will see many layers within my art, often including words. I like to stick the reference material right in the art for you to read, if you’re paying close enough attention to notice it.
This techniques gives a visual complexity to the art and draws the viewer in. It conveys ideas and boring facts quickly, without taking away from the aesthetic of the piece or beating the viewer over the head with an obvious message. Specific words and phrases can be highlighted or obscured to impact the message of the art and insure that the viewer ‘gets it’, even if they don’t realize it.

Iconography

LetThemEatCake

This is a visual tool I have developed and used extensively over the last few years. It is vital for several reasons and likely harkens back to my days at SCAD earning a degree in Illustration. I love to tell a story. I love to stylize and embellish. And I find that this technique broadens my audience considerably. People are not immediately sure what the painting is about, and often, they put their own spin on the meaning of the image. That’s okay, because the underlying message is still there.

This is particularly useful in reaching across the isle to change minds. We have to learn to engage people in ways they can relate to, get them to take us seriously, and most importantly give our views consideration. Iconography conveys messages sub-consciously without eliciting visceral reactions. Subtle elements like words, symbols, phrases, and graphics encourage closer examination and open discourse.
Most importantly, if you develop a strong icon that resonates with people, you have the potential to shift the culture, and ultimately, change it. The repetition of images and ideas reinforces an idea or belief. With repetition comes recognition, and with recognition comes familiarity. Hopefully, this leads to better overall understanding and interest. There’s a fine line between propaganda and marketing, and we’re talking about both here.
Though it takes time and perseverance, people begin to recognize your work. Once that happens you have the potential to reach a far wider audience. If you build a reputation around your work for integrity and consistency of quality and messaging, you will begin to earn support within your community for your work. Once this happens, you should strive to help others get established and lead by example. One of the biggest falsehoods in the art community is the idea that we’re all competing against one another. There is plenty of room for all of us; and the support that conservative and libertarian artists need is growing. The idea that we need to fight over a finite ‘pie’ is self-serving and ultimately detrimental to our movement. If we build associations, find ways to show our work together, and network as a group, we have the potential for a larger impact and return on the quality of our culture.
#TakeBackOurCulture
#IgnoreTheEstablishment
#SupportTheArtYouWant
#BeTheSolution

Art for Liberty: In Defense of Human Rights

*Detail photo of the painting I am currently working on for my donation to the 2015 Family Outdoor Expo*

ProgressDetail1

**The images below are my donations to the 2014 event**

Stand Up

Stand Up and Be Counted Among the Just

12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014

 

Moral Outrage

 

A Moral Outrage

12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014

A cultural approach to Human Rights issues

I am an artist. Until now, I have worked predominantly on patriotic and political themes. Some of you know me from Liberatchik, others from MachinePolitick; perhaps from both. You may be familiar with my monthly artist reviews of work by pro-American artists, or my occasional blog post about culture and propaganda. I will always work on these themes because I love my country deeply and hope to use my art to inspire love  and respect for our Republic.

More recently, though, I have felt compelled to start using my art to help people who cannot help themselves; who live under truly oppressive and subhuman circumstances. With all the talk of slavery in the public forum lately, comparably has been said about the human trafficking industry. This must change.

I understand the power of art to move men’s minds and impassion their hearts. I hope you understand this as well. I understand that we, as individuals, have a moral responsibility to help those in need on a personal level. I hope you understand this as well. There is already a strong current of resistance building, of abolitionists, to fight the atrocities of human trafficking. You probably have an organization in your area. There are certainly national and global groups you could join or support. Please consider doing so.

I understand that art has the ability to capture the imagination. One of the most affective ways to do this is to develop iconography. Make a visible connection that elicits an emotional connection to the viewer.
The issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery is so horrendous, that most people choose not to understand the magnitude of this international industry. It is more convenient to speak of slavery in terms of something that happened long ago, or is at least an issue in some third-world country, than to admit that it happens right here at home. When you admit that it is real, widespread, and local, you realize that there is a market for such an attrocity; and that is very unsettling, indeed.
It is easy to shut down a web link or turn off a newscast, but once you have seen a piece of art depicting the atrocity, it lives on in your mind indefinitely.

This is not a call for gruesome and graphic works of art. I do not approve of shock art for any purpose. It is a call for advancing understanding of the issue and offering support to the victims and organizations trying to help them piece their lives back together.

In my own limited work, I have attempted to convey the horror of the situation while simultaneously highlighting and upholding the very real solutions available. I have tried to humanize the victims and inspire an understanding of the solutions. Most importantly, I am appealing to you, the viewer, to get involved.

***Images of the work in progress for this painting can be found on the page for my booth at a local shop, Libertas Americana***

Pinterest for MachinePolitick Art

#TakeBackOurCulture
#IgnoreTheEstablishment
#SupportTheArtYouWant
#BeTheSolution

Frances Byrd is the National Director of  Liberatchik.com and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com and LibertasAmericana. She has written for the Big Dawg Music Radio Blog and Breitbart’s Big Hollywood. 

 

Contact: frances@machinepolitick.com

Sometimes, it’s disappointing when you get accepted to a show.

I’m not complaining, but I am a little dumb-founded.

First, the good news – I was accepted to the Pen Women show coming up in August. The confusing part – the piece they chose.

frances.byrd.RisingAngel.3D

I submitted a sculpture and two paintings.

frances.byrd.Shoofly.acrylic

They chose the sculpture; the least complex and challenging of the artwork. It just goes to show, art is in the eye of the beholder.

I will post links and info when the promo materials arrive.

Lifted Up On Golden Wings

This is the working title for the painting I am working on to auction at the Family Outdoor Expo, to benefit victims of human trafficking in Georgia. Some times, the title of a painting changes before it is completed; some times not. 

Lifted Up On Golden Wings

The painting is 40″ x 60″, acrylic on canvas. It will likely remain unframed.

You can track my progress on it by following my Facebook Page for Libertas Americana.

Below is the scripture pictured in the underpainting. When completed, only portions will show through the final layers. I tend to use text as much for compositional and textural elements as I do for messaging.

Flyer2015

 

 

Matthew 15:30-32

Jeremiah 22:3, 15-16

Isaiah 61:1, 8-11

Romans 8:21-22

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

Interview with Local Journalist, Katie Griffin of The Paper

PaperArticle

Paper Article Cont

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.

Matt Perdie Interview at Smart Girl Summit 2014 in Atlanta

Thanks to the ladies at Smart Girl, and to Matt Perdie, for the opportunity to discuss Liberatchik’s efforts to #TakeBackTheCulture

 

Smart Girl Politics on YouTube

Smart Girl Action

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.

Smart Girl Summit 2014

As always, I am in over my head and late to post on current Liberatchik projects. The few weeks since the conference have been a blur of back-to-school shopping, follow-up from the Summit and rushing to meet a deadline for paintings I am donating to an organization that is raising awareness about human trafficking. On top of that, I have local Arts Council projects, an upcoming project for the City of Commerce, a half-empty booth at Our Town Antiques that needs to get ready for Christmas, and a neglected garden. Some days I wonder what possesses me to take on so many things – then the crazy woman in my head reminds me that she doesn’t think I’m doing enough. I’m not posting all this to say ‘hey, look what I’m doing over here’, but more as a reference to those who know me directly and occasionally experience my fits of anxiety and loopy artist behavior.

First, and foremost, I would like to thank the artists who participated in the event by sending donations to help cover the cost of marketing, as well as those who sent artwork. If you haven’t stopped in to see what we have been up to in a while here at Liberatchik, we were exhibitors at SGS14 on August 2, 2014. Please take a moment after reading this article to visit and share our participating artists’ links:

Livia Bota

Rich Gibbs

Kate Barnett

James Byrd

Ursula Fernandez

Daniel Baran

Nancy Lowe

Barb Smith

Ashley Tomashot

Christina Hasigan

Kevin Williams

Christina Butorac

Doris Bond

Michael Prescott

Richard Bledsoe

The conference itself was not only inspiring to attend, but surprising in its genuine goals for grassroots activists and networking opportunities. I cannot begin to express the many ways in which Stacy Mott stood in contrast to people and organizations I have dealt with in the past. I have never met someone so nice and so dedicated to cultivating the success and corroboration of the attendees at a conference. After several grueling experiences with local groups and two frustrating trips to CPAC, the Smart Girl Summit was a welcome example of the way things can be done to generate political and social activism.

Being the anti-social ogre that I am, I arrived early and found what I hoped would be a table where I could sit back and observe the Opening Reception without drawing attention to myself. My partner, Christopher Cook wasn’t there to keep me company or make introductions, so I felt a little out of my league. I was there to display the artwork on Saturday, after all, and not sure how to make contacts based on past experiences at such things. Shortly after I settled on a roost, Stacy walked in and she was having none of it. She promptly took me under her wing and set off across the room to make introductions and park me at a table of vibrant ladies, whom I now consider to be great friends. In fact, I ended up staying on much longer than expected after the event to hang out and eat dinner with these ladies.

 

Dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since our keynote speaker for the reception, Rep. Tom Price, was entrenched in the amnesty battle going on in DC, he was unable to attend the reception and it quickly turned into an impromptu networking/social event. No need to let an opportunity go to waste!

Amy Kremer was asked to step up and give some brief comments to kick off the summit, in which she touched on the need for a cultural as well as political approach to restoring the American Republic. I couldn’t agree more, so I handed her a Liberatchik Artist Directory and let her know I will be getting in touch with her to discuss what she has in mind and how we can collaborate. I’m hoping to follow up on that opportunity next week.

Saturday was the main day of the event, and I was there early with one of our Photographers, Livia Bota, to set up the exhibition space for Liberatchik. One thing I have learned about showing art in informal settings is that there is never enough time, never enough space, and I will always forget something I need event though I couldn’t possibly fit another thing in the car. All of that aside, I think our booth looked pretty good. This, my friends, is the face of Art for Liberty:

 

SGS14 002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were directly across from the FreedomWorks booth, so I had the opportunity to spend the day talking to Iris Somberg about culture and libertarian principles when we had free time. She was very enthusiastic and had wonderful suggestions for things we can do to grow and generate support for Liberatchik. I am looking forward to following up with her and writing more about that in the future. I also picked up a copy of Matt Kibbe’s Libertarian Manifesto and am working my way through it now. I will post a review as soon as I finish.

Kibbe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It turned out that I had very little time to hang out with Iris, because the Liberatchik booth generated so much interest in our artwork. I was surprised by the level of interest and enthusiasm for our art, and even more so, by sales of some of the pieces at our booth. The day flew by, and I didn’t have a chance to attend any of the panels or speeches, but I could here Herman Cain’s booming voice as he gave the keynote address; as well as the enthusiastic response of the attendees. One thing is certain, people were there to make a difference, and I am confident many of them are working on their own goals as we speak.

In closing, I would like to thank the following people for their support and generosity during the event: Stacy Mott, Teri Christoph, Tami Nantz, Rosa Leonetti, Sandy Chiong, Victoria Casares, and Candi Goldman – Smart Girls Rock!

** Some of them also went home with Art for Liberty!

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.

Libertas Americana Grand Opening

I have partnered with a local antique store to open a mini-gallery offering a new line of primitives, hand-painted signs and painted furniture, as well as my paintings. Who would have thought I was too political for the big-city art scene, but it appears I needed to move to the ‘middle of nowhere’ to generate support for my work.

I have been very encouraged and flattered by the level of curiosity and support I have been given since moving here and becoming established as a local artist. I have met people on the street who have heard of my work and been welcomed to the store by other shop owners on main street. It proves, yet again, that those nasty stereotypes we like to cling to are often quite misplaced – country folk aren’t simple or ignorant, and they do like art and welcome it in their community, as long as its purpose is not to offend them. I am looking forward to sharing more stories as I become established in the community.

Please check back for my interview with Katie Lynn Griffin of The Paper.

If you’re in the Athens area, take a 20 minute detour up to Commerce and stop in at the shop to see my new work and the wonderful collection of antiques, vintage items and folk art on display at Our Town Antiques.

I sold a painting!!

 

Wvane

Spinning with the Winds of Change

Completed: 2004

Medium: Oil on canvas.

Dimensions: 14w x 26h x 3d

Description:

This painting is a companion piece to Empty Behind the Mask(2005). Both were started at the same time, but this was my favorite of the two and was finished more quickly. This piece is also a dig at Kerry’s lack of integrity or consistency. The full rant can be found with the other painting. I have included a few more articles for background on this piece.

Liberty as a Human Rights Icon

As another Memorial Day approaches, I find myself dwelling more and more on the concept of personal Liberty. Of course this ideal is forefront on a daily basis for those of us concerned with the ever-intrusive nature of our government. But, how many of us are thinking about Liberty in terms of its cultural significance?

CPACFront2

Defend Liberty Border Contact

Activism materials for Liberatchik.com

The left has a plethora of symbols from the iconic Che photo, the clenched fist and the Anonymous/OWS graphics, the Coexist icons to the peace sign. The right gravitates primarily to the American or Gadsden flags and American eagle as icons. These symbols are great for patriotic themes, but are easily demagogued, primarily because we have allowed them to be defined by the Left, as nationalist and politically devisive symbols.

Liberty as a Human Rights Icon

For those of us trying to inject a libertarian or conservative view into American culture, Liberty is an under-utilized icon for positive representation of individualism and human rights in the fine art community. The left is not only tearing down  national symbols like the American flag, they are also working to tear down icons of personal Liberty through cultural means:

LibertyStreetArt

Street art by unknown artist in L.A.

The tired labels the Left attributes to all views other than their own do not apply to the concept of liberty. As the street art above clearly indicates, they will still find ways to demagogue anything representative of the individual. This is because, Leftism/Statism is at its core, an ideology based on the use of force. If one advocates for the use of force, it becomes necessary to denigrate and demonize the individual. The Left has been doing this for generations with little or no cultural counterbalance from the Right.  That is why it is crucial for those of us creating a cultural alternative to not only develop the symbol of Liberty as an icon for the individual, but as an icon for human rights – another concept we have long ceded to the left. We need only produce good works of art that are capable of injecting this concept into popular culture.

Liberty has the potential to become a universal as well as national icon; for individual Liberty is, at its core, a human right.

Give Me Liberty..

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, by Frances Byrd

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.