political protest

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.

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:

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 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.

Occupy Unmasked and the Culture of Violence

Occupy Unmasked, as many of you know, is a film by Stephen K. Bannon and Andrew Breitbart. The first thing I have to say about the film is that it made me physically nauseous. The second is that you need to watch it. You need to understand how much the Left hates us and you need to understand that they are only concerned with tearing us down. They do NOT have a solution or an alternative to our system or beliefs.

In the words of Alinsky, they are a movement controlled by “organizer(s) who must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent” in order to achieve their ends. Make no mistake — the kids going to jail are not the movement – they are the pawns. They receive marching orders from people who are removed from the violence and repercussions just enough to appear as if they are in the trenches – while avoiding the consequences of their influence.

Occupy is the organized Left. It is big money. It is lifelong activists and organizers. It is the unions and elitists with trust funds. They are monopolizing on the fear and uncertainty of their target audience. They are manipulating people. They will not stop until they destroy America.


Eat the Rich by Shephard Fairey

One of their central and most effective tactics is to dehumanize the enemy – us. When they objectify you and tear down your status as a person, it opens the door for them to justify violence against you. When you become a thing, evil, worthy of extermination, they can influence others to act against you without moral compunction. They start to feel morally justified in committing crimes because the are “RIGHT”. They operate under the premise of any means necessary.

They believe that “Freedom of speech is not compatible with good behavior”. They are withholding violence on a grand scale just long enough for an opportunity to have the most impact on society. They will create as many crises as it takes, and not let any of them go to waste. They will push. They will escalate. They will tear us down.

The most important message of this film is that we must fight back. We cannot back down. We cannot ignore them. They will not stop and they will not go away.

The first step is to become FEARLESS.

FEARLESS by Jimmy Arone
FEARLESS by Jimmy Arone
I will post separately on other issues addressed in the film. For now, please make the time to watch the film and share it with your friends. This is a message that must be heard

Jimmy Arone is a father, a husband, an actor, activist and artist. Originally from the great city of Boston, where the three most important things in people’s lives are sports, politics, and revenge. He has lived in and around Los Angeles since 1975. His dream is to one day return to the magical land of Cape Cod where his character was molded as a young boy.

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

Getting Ready for CPAC 2013

This article was written for BlogBytes.



A week from now, I should be meeting up with Lisa Mei for this year’s CPAC! The list of speakers and bloggers is more promising this year than it has been in the past, but I continue to be disappointed by their lack of interest in cultural matters. I will reserve judgment on that point for now and let you know what I think from the event.


These packets include my small Hand of Liberty prints, a copy of the Creative Conservative Action Tools, Liberatchik stickers (The Liberty Symbol), plus business cards, buttons and CDs from some of our artists and the beautiful promo cards my friend Christina made for us.

Liberatchik Packets

In addition to the marketing materials, I am making propaganda leaflets to distribute. The image below is the concept drawing (in progress) for “He is Watching” graphics. More images in this series can be seen here.

He is Watching

I have already started distributing these around the Atlanta area and will be leaving them along the way from GA to DC. If you would like to print and distribute some in your area, drop me an email for the file: frances@machinepolitick.com.


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


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.

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.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wraith
The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath  is the second painting in my series on the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the blog post, American Crow #1, I gave a little background on the movement as accompaniment to the first painting in this series. After many hours of reading articles and statements on the OWS web pages and related MSM articles, one thing stands out among the cacophony of demands – the idea that the world owes them something simply because they demand it be given them. This is the embodiment of the entitlement culture we have allowed to take hold in our nation. While politicians and elitists are most to blame for this development, we must also take responsibility for our own complacency. It is time to take a stand before our future is picked clean by these scavengers and rogues.

In this second painting from the series, I chose to draw an analogy to the Grapes of Wrath, by Steinbeck, to illustrate the natural outcome of irresponsible behavior and refusal to demand accountability of those who have created a system that preys on ignorance and envy. There is a lesson here for us in the way that history tends to repeat itself when people allow themselves to forget the past.The Great Depression was not an unavoidable tragedy and the government did not lift us up from the brink despair. Because this is not an historical essay I will leave it to the reader to educate themselves on the subject of the Great Depression and return to the topics of culture and propaganda more relevant to the art being discussed.

Like the Joad family in the novel, the OWS movement has set off for better opportunity and the fleeting promise of an easier life. In many cases, they are people who have become disillusioned by circumstances beyond their own control. The similarities quickly fall away however, in all but the reality that awaits them – that the government, it’s minions and those who have established themselves in the pecking order are in control and the needs of the people are not their ultimate goal. I would wager the OWS movement’s realization of their position as pawns is a long time, if ever, in coming. It is not by accident that they view themselves as victims.

About the Painting

The Grapes of Wrath

acrylic, tempera, oil, and glitter on gessoed wood panel

21.5″ wide x 32″ high x 3″ deep

completed September 2012


This painting is currently on display at the Helen Arts and Heritage Center. Please contact frances@machinepolitick.com for purchasing inquiries.

The Grapes of Wrath is the second painting in an ongoing series on the Occupy Wall Street movement. As discussed in previous articles, the crow is being developed as a symbol of envy, ignorance and thinly veiled violence in pursuit of an entitlement culture devoid of accountability and personal responsibility. The crow and the movement are scavengers on the droppings of the elites and harbingers of a future where our culture has been destroyed and replaced by dependence upon a corrupt establishment.

As the gluttonous dancing crow celebrates his ravages upon the grapes of his neighbors’ labor in the foreground of the painting, the world burns in the background. The flames are not evident yet, but the ruddy glow has discolored the storm-clouds that are building on the horizon. And, like the crow, the OWS movement is focused only on the short-term and immediate gratification of consuming something that they have not built with their own efforts.

Working sketch for The Grapes of Wraith from my first Occupy Wall Street art journal
Working sketch for The Grapes of Wraith from my first Occupy Wall Street art journal

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.

Burbank resident puts 9/11 remembrance on full front yard display

Congrats to my friend Jimmy and his recent write-up in his local paper!

The front yard display commemorating the 9/11 attacks at Jimmy Arone's house.The front yard display commemorating the 9/11 attacks at Jimmy Arone’s house. (Raul Roa/Staff photographer / September 11, 2012)

September 11, 2012 | 4:22 p.m.

Jimmy Arone knelt on his front lawn and placed his hand on a wooden plaque he created listing the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the September 11 attacks.

“Every person there has a story, has someone that loved them,” he said, as he kissed his hand while fighting back tears.

In addition to the plaque, Arone created a 5-by-10-foot collage of a black-and-white photo of the twin towers, a banner that reads, “Never forget,” and an American flag. He installed the piece on the front window of his Clark Avenue home Sept. 1, and planned to dismantle on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old Boston native created the piece last year for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. While the front of his home is an unconventional spot for a piece of art, the actor said he hoped to connect with passersby.

“It’s a nice way to connect with strangers aside from watering my flowers,” Arone said. “We kind of get isolated, stuck in our houses, stuck with our mobile devices — it’s nice to connect when we can.”

As time continues to pass, Arone wants to forever commemorate those whose lives were lost.

“It’s forever in our bones, in our being,” he said. “We can’t ever get away from these stories of men and women who just got up to go to work one day, and lives were forever changed.”

Arone plans to donate the piece to a museum or gallery.

“It definitely will not be destroyed,” he said.

— Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and Twitter: @atchek

American Crow: The Occupy Wall Street Series

The American Crow is a large black bird with iridescent highlights across its body. It has a very striking physical appearance and behavioral characteristics. It is considered an ill omen by some and a dirty scavenger by others. What better imagery could be used to describe the Occupy Movement?

I am currently developing this idea and related imagery into graphic forms via a series of paintings, drawings and mixed media projects. I recently completed the first painting in the series, working out many details in style and technique. Here is a detail from the painting illustrating the idea that OWS protestors are merely cogs in the machine of The State:

Detail of American Crow #1

In an effort to present a factual and reasoned defense of this analogy, I have spent a great deal of time on the OWS.org website and the Occupy Atlanta page in order to learn exactly what they are demanding. It turns out to be just about everything, but that is a topic for a future post. In addition, I subscribed to the Facebook page for Occupy Atlanta in order to get timely updates about events in my area. It’s infuriating at times, but it helps keep me focused and inspired.

OWS journal; study for The American Crow #1
OWS journal: definitions and research topics

For now, I leave you with the culmination of my idea and the model for future works of art depicting what could very well destroy the culture of America.

American Crow #1

About the Painting

American Crow #1

acrylic, tempera, oil, and glitter on gessoed wood panel

22″ high x 29″ wide x 3′ deep

completed August 2012


Please contact frances@machinepolitick.com for purchasing inquiries.

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.

American Crow Painting #1 Preliminary Photos

It has been quite a while since I have had the time to post on the blog. My personal life has been a whirlwind of activity lately and I have been making a concerted effort to spend more time in my studio than on the computer. Consequently, I have photos of new work to share.

This is the first in a series of paintings depicting the OWS movement, their demands, and my general opinion of them. I will refrain from posting any thoughts at this point as I am currently in the midst of slogging through their websites and news articles for research.

This painting currently consists of an acrylic under-painting on a wood panel. Hopefully the texture will show through most of the completed painting. I have set myself a strict goal of simplicity for this series in an effort to produce as many as possible and streamline the underlying message. Whether I maintain this goal or not remains to be seen, as I have an affinity for detail that mortified some of my professors at SCAD.

The gears are metallic acrylic and tempera and the text is china marker. The final layers will be in oils. I finally dusted off my oil paints and liquin this weekend in order to start on this series of paintings. I forgot how much I miss the smell of the paints and mediums. I haven’t worked in oils since my son was born, but I think I’m coming back with a vengeance on this series.

More photos will be posted as the paintings progress.

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.

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.


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.


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.