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
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.
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!!
Spinning with the Winds of Change
Medium: Oil on canvas.
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.
“… to the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971
Alinsky’s dedication at the beginning of Rules for Radicals is telling of his personal morality and ultimate goals. Those who blindly follow the current purveyors of his philosophy, within our government, higher learning institutions and social organizations, would do well to examine his/their true motives and the consequences of following in the footsteps of a man who would pay homage to the ideological embodiment of evil.
There is no need to put words in Alinsky’s mouth or take his ideas out of context. There is no need to spin his philosophy like some two-bit mainstream journalist. Alinsky’s words speak clearly for him and his intent in all their wretched meaning. For this reason, several of his quotes were utilized in the under-painting for The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice.
This painting is part of an ongoing series based upon stylized American Crow iconography I am developing. Though the series started out as an illustration of the OWS movement, it quickly grew to encompass progressive thought in general as well as the societal and individual consequences of its implementation.
(Social)Justice is an allegorical portrait of Saul Alinsky, one of the most influential progressives in American history. In Rules for Radicals, he laid the groundwork and strategy for an all encompassing transformation of American thought and culture across institutional, economic and social boundaries. This painting attempts to capture the essence of those ideas.
The Progressive Tactic of Fomenting Despair
Early in the book, Alinsky quotes Dostoyevsky: “… Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future…”
Do you see a connection between these ideas and the current events sweeping America today? This quote by Dostoyevsky, as used by Alinsky, points to an agenda that encourages people to disregard the historic failures and precedents of statist ideology and its implementations across the globe. It encourages one to turn a blind eye to the deliberate destruction and loss of life at the hands of an elitist few. It then calls for a blind faith in the motives and power of that elite few rather than in individual responsibility and participatory self-governance.
The Common Good
“The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people”.
With this quote, we start to see how the progressive movement started to change the people’s knowledge of America as a representational republic, to a belief in America as a democracy. This is based on an agenda of steering the populace toward support of mob rule, which devolves into tyranny and a dependence on the state for structure and support. The old saw goes: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to take it as truth”. Like the raucous caw of a crow, the populist mantra silences the voice of reason.
What is the goal of this redefinition of terms and intentional deception? First, it is anti-individual and purposefully vague in order to allow the elitist controlling class to redefine terms of duty and sacrifice as being for the common good. It softens the populace to the idea of redistribution of goods and services based on impact toward the common good. And, the very vagueness of the idea, gives those in control the ability to change course and redefine these very terms as needed.
People will rally behind the ideas of freedom and justice, even when they are denied these institutions themselves. The challenge and the power come in presenting an agenda in a way that appeals to the emotions first; to make people feel disenfranchised, victimized and entitled to compensation. Once this is achieved, it is a small step to organize them into an activist mob disinterested in the moral implications of their actions.
In fact, Alinsky goes so far as to consider moral concerns a bourgeois affectation; impracticable in the real world. His approach builds on Hobbes’ belief that men are essentially savages in a brutish world. But, rather than merely suggest that a leviathan state is the only method with which to control the vagaries of barbarism, he encourages his followers to take advantage of their collective barbarity at the expense of society.
Quotes in the Painting
I have incorporated some pop culture references and direct quotes from Rules for Radicals in the under-painting. Upon closer examination, the more relevant portions show through, inviting the viewer to step up and examine the painting closely. Of course, the crow stands alone as a piece of art, so it is not particularly relevant for you to know what it means. What it does is engage you directly as a means to open dialogue on the subject portrayed in the painting. The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice is intended to inspire a closer examination of Mr. Alinsky’s model for social destruction and reformation. I leave you, for now, with some quotes from the under-painting.
“Some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight 2008
“…if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise…” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971
“To me, ethics is doing what is best for the most”. – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the exception of editing typographical errors, this article has been left as it was originally written for MachinePolitick.
Medium: Mixed media.
Dimensions: 37w x 18h x 1d
Notes: Professionally framed with conservation glass.
This illustration is a commentary on the overwhelming hatred of George Bush that seems to infect most of the liberal population. Granted, all politicians have opposition, but I can’t remember hearing so many people wishing someone dead as there are for Bush. I’m not his biggest fan by far, but we could and have done worse.
The level of hatred and overwhelming anger exhibited by these people reminded me of the Two Minutes Hate in George Orwell’s novel 1984, so I set to work making a visual representation of the phenomenon. I have personally had conversations with people who broke down and screamed “Bush is a fascist” when the discussion didn’t go their way. It seems to be a mania, or dementia, or compulsion to call a person a Nazi when you can no longer carry on a rational conversation. I guess the point I’m making is, it’s a little scary when people get so angry they can’t be rational anymore.
Accordingly, I used excerpts from the book that illustrate the point I’m trying to make. Each excerpt is accompanied with a graphic image that is a visual representation of the thought expressed in the novel. they’re arranged in a gritty, sequential art style that is supposed to make you feel a little edgy- the way those people make me feel when they start raving. I’ll be the first to say I’m guilty of the same behavior, but I like to spread it around a little. I tend to think all the politicians are the problem, and our government could stand a little less of itself.
A great deal of thought went into this piece and there was much research into the visual elements as well as the literary. The celebrity quotes are from a variety of sources and I didn’t document them as well as I normally would, but they’re out there if you look hard enough. The rest of the quotes and statistics are referenced below.
The Origin of the Double Standard
Michael Tremoglie www.mensnewsdaily.com
Hate Speech from the Left
Jeff Jacoby December 29, 2003 www.townhall.com
Like, I’m Psychologically Disturbed
Cal Thomas July 29, 2003 www.townhall.com
1984, George Orwell
Excerpts from Chapter 5 www.online-literature.com
The American Psychological Association Psychological Bulletin Study on Conservative Behavior www.wam.umd.edu
I was recently invited to join the Big Dawg Radio Blog, BlogBytes, as a contributing writer. Though my first article has not been approved yet, you can view their page at the link provided. I will post the article link on Liberatchik’s FaceBook page when it goes up.
As part of my responsibilities at BlogBytes, I have been asked to write some articles explaining my work. I realized that some of you here are not familiar with my early paintings and drawings and decided to write those articles now.
This painting was donated to the 2011 Art Papers Auction in Atlanta. This is a prestigious annual event that raises money fro art grants and projects supported by the organization. As a participating artist, I received 35% of the final bid on the painting.
Medium:Acrylic and china marker on masonite
Dimensions:24w x 48h x 2d
This painting is a statement on the power-hungry nature of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Since Hillary is the most guilty of this vice, it could be said the painting is an homage to her hunger for power and esteem at the expense of all else. I’m sure Bill has just come along for the ride. The Clintons, like so many of their peers, will stop at nothing to be in the spotlight. They do this even at the expense of their own party, movement and supporters. They will literally suck the Democratic Party dry if it will achieve their goals. Amazingly, some of their liberal counterparts have grown wise, and have become a great source of quotes on the subject. These quotes form the under-painting of this piece.
**Update, January 2013 – the links to the original article are no longer active. While I normally provide a bibliography for my research, I will have to leave it up to you to verify the quotes at this time.**
The emaciated donkey is the Democratic Party when it has lived out its usefulness to the Clinton political machine. Bill and Hillary are the flatworms emerging from the spent carcass, eagerly looking for the next victim. Though a flatworm can be excused for its nature, the Clintons cannot. The worm cannot help being a parasite. The Clintons, and so many like them, are aware of the damage they do and the cost their constituents bear – and take full advantage. All of the quotes come from a single article which contained many more. There just wasn’t room in one painting for all of them.
This is one of the most recent paintings I have completed in the OWS series I am working on. I will write a full article as soon as I complete my research on the historic background of the phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!”
November 12, 2012
Let Them Eat Cake: Part One
This painting was created in order to explore the hypocrisy and double standard in the Liberal community when dealing with the subjects of wealth and status in American society. Liberals would have you believe several false precepts in order to turn you against conservatives and wealthy individuals – things that are not mutually exclusive, as they would also have you believe.
1. Those who are wealthy, got that way by stealing from or taking advantage of someone else.
2. There is a finite quantity of resources, a pie if you will, and the rich are keeping most of it from you. The conservatives help them do this through favor.
3. America is an empire with a caste system, much like an aristocracy, with very little upward mobility. That which is available is granted to friends and family.
4. Wealth is not earned, but rather taken from one group and given to another.
Anyone with a basic understanding of economics can see these falsehoods for what they are; but what about the uninformed voter. As we learned in the recent election, the entitlement mentality, wealth envy and general ignorance of the American people outweighs rational thought.
While I was working on this painting, I came across a CNN iReport called,
A Tale of Two Cities- GOP says, “Let Them Eat Cake” written in December 2010. Aside from the fact that it was poorly written, it gives some insight into the perspective of the people we are dealing with. You have to understand the way propaganda works and the amount of time that it takes to do so to fully grasp how someone could assert the following idea: “While he did reduce government expenditures, opponents in the parliaments successfully thwarted his attempts at enacting much needed reforms. (Obama and the GOP)”.
In the context of the article, this is a clumsy comparison of Obama to Louis XVI, while also asserting that he has cut spending and struggled with unreasonable opposition and defeat of the programs he has tried to institute on behalf of the downtrodden. It is a perfect illustration of the way the Liberal elite twist history and facts to suit their agenda and influence the American public. You can learn more about this issue and some ideas I have for conservatives in The Creative Conservative Action Tools, written by myself and Christopher Cook of Western Free Press.
Because Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities was sited in the article, I decided to grab a copy and read it. Much like the phrase “Let Them Eat Cake”, which has been falsely attributed to Marie Antoinette, I was surprised to find that the book was not a story of the rampant evils of the aristocracy, although they certainly did exist and were represented fairly in the story. It also painted a picture of the ‘revolution’, it’s any-means-necessary and the ends-justify-the-means mindset. One could almost pretend it were a B-rated snuff film with limbs and blood flying indiscriminately if it were not for the historic accounts to back it up as having been horrifically real. The Reign of Terror falls short as a description for the atrocities committed under the pretense of “Liberte`, Egalite`, Fraternite`!” It is quite telling of the CNN author’s mindset that he would assert in his article the idea: “The French Revolution was a dark time in France’s History. That time gave way to increased freedom and more equitable distribution of the country’s prosperity.” I encourage you to read up on the history of the French Revolution if it is unfamiliar to you – we are on much the same path.
New Book Questions “Is the American Dream a Farce?”
Savannah, GA – September 26, 2012
Cover illustration provided by Frances Byrd.
Concerned about the negative impact of our nation’s $16 trillion national debt, runaway government spending and governmental overreach into our private lives, eighteen-year-old Mark Taylor has written a book called Is the American Dream a Farce?published by 5th Corner Publishing. Frances Byrd’s painting “The Hand of Liberty” is featured on the book’s cover.
When asked what motivated him to spend his summer writing a political activism book, Taylor replied: “My book exposes the farce of big government. The skyrocketing $16 trillion national debt will certainly affect my generation. In fact, the detrimental effects of our government’s policies can already be seen in high college tuition rates and dismal youth employment statistics. The time has come for the next generation of Americans to voice our concerns and require elected officials to enact common sense solutions to the economic challenges facing America.”
Taylor continued: “What we need is a back-to-the-future approach—meaning solutions to our nation’s problems can be found by studying the Founding Era. We can learn a lot from the Founding Fathers’ accomplishments. The Founders certainly did not get everything right, but they provided us with an extraordinary plan for constitutionally-limited government, free-market economics, and strong national defense, which allowed Americans to enjoy more freedom and prosperity than any nation in the history of the world. We can maintain American exceptionalism; we just need to follow our owner’s manual for freedom—the United States Constitution. I believe Young Americans of the 21st century will either go down in history as the generation who sat back and idly watched the American dream dissolve, or as the initiators of change who took action and saved our republic from ruin. Young Americans are not just the future; we are the now. It will take all of our efforts to save the American dream.”
Taylor is no stranger to grassroots activism. In 2010, Taylor was selected as one of 72 youth nationwide to attend Young America’s Foundation High School Leadership Conference in Santa Barbara, California where he learned about the political and economic philosophies of President Ronald Reagan. Taylor is a graduate of Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School and a TeenPact alumni. Taylor completed a Constitutional Law course at Patrick Henry College in the summer of 2011. Currently, he is a student at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia.
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
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.
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. (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.
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 email@example.com for purchasing inquiries.
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.