NRA Question Period illustrates the ludicrous view that to solve gun violence, everyone should have a gun. American values, the fight for liberty somehow equals the freedom to own a gun. My work shows a twist on Rockwell’s American dream. I chose to illustrate a romanticized style of a dystopian future.
Artists have the ability to be imaginative activists, discussing ideas in a fresh direct way. It's 2015, shouldn’t we take on intellectual discussion responsibly ? Human rights, environment (an incredible artist discussing pollution in Asia) or Amy Schumer andSofia Vergara are putting their voice to #endgunviolence in #everytown. TedTalks open great discussion and debate about how to tackle public opinion on guns. 330 Mass shootings in 365 days this year -- over 50,000 violent incidents in in the USA and rising. Gun violence was something I wanted to approach in a visual manner.
“Avoid Religion or Political talk at Parties" is what I was taught. One social evening overseas, our party conversation was about the upcoming US election. We agreed the world should contribute their vote to the American Presidency. Giggling, “Why not?” If Superpowers directly affected the world – shouldn’t the global community contribute a tiny vote to foreign policy? Does the world need the divisiveness of #Trump? Will Trump #feeltheBern!!
Naïve, or idealistic? We didn’t feel judged. International news, witty banter, evocative ideas and real concern were enjoyable. Sure, we were solving the world problems with a martini – but one more voice means one more vote, a little push of political momentum. Expats from countries so far away from Canada politically and culturally, were connected. Voicing concerns feels so good, better than political apathy.
Everyone’s voice can start a dialogue.
Believing that corporations win, and the hearts of people don’t -- is debilitating, soul numbing. My digital pen is only as mighty as public opinion. Maybe I didn’t think of every angle, maybe I need more practice. Maybe more activists out there will inform my ideas. Why do so few people illuminate their concerns? Fear that you can’t stop? Can’t change your mind? Can’t do it well so don’t try?
Taking a risk for positive change is admirable.Jim Jefferies keeps his cool with paying guests. An entertaining take on gun control starting with The Port Arthur massacre in Australia, he tackles a difficult subject to an audience that paid for a lighthearted approach. What Australia could do, and America couldn’t. Comedic timing for a great cause. #artprotest
We all have leadership qualities. International galleries show more human strife than Canadian ones. One gallerist in South Africa told me, “Canadian art is so boring! All Landscapes!” #WhatdoCanadiansthink? Do I agree with Harper selling the Canadian Wheat Board to Saudi Arabia? Are my children safe at school? Canadian first world values were admired when I was abroad. #Trudeau seems to re-establish Canadian's inclusive voice.
We are a considerate nation with concerns.
A Canadian ‘Sorry’ is not apologetic, it is empathetic. I’m sorry you hurt yourself, because it was painful – not because I was to blame. Provocative and evocative are different things. An image you can’t un-see because your soul engaged in dialogue, doesn’t have to be aggressive, repulsive. You’re accountable only to informing your concern. A sad laugh, a happy tear, a scene that touched you, stirs up important self-discussion.
Your character shows. We can’t hide our response to the power of the image. Even dismissive politeness says something. If art doesn’t engage you on some lasting level – powerful, engaging, cathartic, meditative -- why bother make it, why own it?
NRA Question Period is romanticized image that can be beautiful and repulsive. I wanted to create an insightful, editorial that speaks of my concern. Artists can create intensity and beauty. Graceful emotional dialogue makes a very entertaining dinner guest.
Thank you #JoAnneMiller for having me in the Directory of Illustration, page 499.