In support of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture's national day of action #Revolution of Values, I made these 'postcards' of defunct monuments. They refer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s April 4, 1967 Riverside Speech when he said,
[W]e as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
They are influenced by my memory of kudzu consuming all sorts of man-made structures in Mississippi when I was working there in 2009. Soon after I made these, a group of artists from Charlottsville, VA, contacted me to ask if they could use “Defunct Monument I – Racism” as a model for an activist campaign they’d imagined. This led to the “Kudzu Project,” who’s members have been covering Confederate statues with hand-knitted kudzu as a way of symbolizing those monuments roots in a racist ideology.
This is Not a Test
This is a new and ongoing series of graphics responding to the challenges we face as a result of the rise of xenophobia and racism across the U.S. Many are available as free downloads at Justseeds.
Exhibition at the Lawrence Public Library in 2018
THEM was an installation of cut-paper tableaus that followed Nimbys, Artisinalizers and Frame-up Specialists as they tried to purge their back yards, arts districts and border towns of Them.
They were exhibited at the Invisible Hand Gallery in Lawrence in 2011, and at 10@BNIM in Kansas City in 2014.
Poster for THEM show
Are you sure you want to continue?
View from inside BNIM offices
Cutting the ribbon at the Haskell Wetlands 18
Invisible Hand gallery installation
Pest Revenge mural for the Welling Court project in Queens, NY
Red Kate's 2013 release, "When the Troubles Come"
2009 - present
Since 2011 when Sam Brownback was elected Governor, Kansas has been in a state of economic collapse and ideological furor, resulting in the dismantling of nearly every state funded agency that serves the public good and the erosion of fundamental civil rights. This is due predominantly to xenophobic and cynical policies envisioned and enacted by the Governor and his supermajorities of house and senate supporters. These posters are my attempt to condemn and satirize the demagogues, while also supporting those who are fighting against them. I hope that soon they will be less necessary…
El Secretario De Xenofobia: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is best known as the architect of anti-immigration laws across the U.S., and rollbacks on citizens voting rights in Kansas.
The Feral Senator: State senator Virgil Peck who, during a March 14, 2011 senate hearing, said (when referring to a state program to manage feral hogs) that "If shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem."
Reject Brownback: After enduring one horror after another, from a draconian tax-cut plan that crippled the state to the elimination of the Kansas Arts Commission, I came to the conclusion that the governor was powerless to stop the destruction he was wreaking. Like some giant movie monster, he flails around pleading for someone (us) to stop him from doing more damage. This poster became a news story when it was taken down from an exhibition at a gallery a block away from the state capitol building.
Home(less) on the Range: In an effort to rid Kansas of all who get in their ideological way, Governor Brownback and Secretary of State Kobach have recently set their sights on the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, going so far as to file suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which has listed the bird as "Threatened" due to its diminishing habitat.
Godzilla and Tinky Winky: Although known to be mortal enemies, Godzilla and Tinky-Winky team up here to take oncommon foes in the Topeka capitol building.
One Kansas Governor
Microburst (zine distribution box): A printed and on-line zine created and distributed by Kansas artists, poets and writers that makes space for voices of dissent at a time of injustice.
Save Our State
2003 – 2008 Just about everyday for the last twenty years I have walked a path from my apartment in East Lawrence to a coffeeshop downtown and then over to my studio around 9th & New York. It is an unremarkable routine that was for a long time only a way of getting from here to there. Then, after years of being preoccupied with my destination and overlooking what was right in front of me, I started to see (and imagine) the places, creatures and people along this route as settings and actors engaged in the performance of everyday one-act plays. It was a refreshing new perspective as if I had discovered something hidden in plain sight. I looked closer, studying puddle reflections, following snowprint paths, glancing through window frames and tree branches, and exploring alleyways. Part wandering flaneur, part documentarian, and part what-ifer, I began watching snippets of these dramas and comedies unfold, never knowing how they began or how they might end. More overseen than overheard, I gleaned what I could from a distance in written and drawn sketches, and then daydreamed up the rest in the studio, the results being these short stories, all of which take place in a ten-block area in and around downtown.
All are ink on paper unless otherwise noted.
Sunday Afternoon Along the Levee
Bus Stop Film Noir
This Green Space
Tower Cam Kiss
(window installation in the front lobby of the Lawrence Arts Center), spraypaint stencil, acetate, sky
Tower Cam Kiss (detail)
Nickels and Dimes series, panel 1
Nickels and Dimes series, panel 2
Nickels and Dimes series, panel 3
Nickels and Dimes series, panel 4
Nickels and Dimes series, panel 5
Nickels and Dimes series, panel 6
Nickels and Dimes series, panel 7
2011 – 2012
In the fall of 2011, I was in Joplin, Missouri working on a community mural when news of the occupation of Zuccotti Park arrived like bolt of lightning. I immediately felt a strong affinity for both its process (horizontal) and purpose (to create a more equitable and caring society), and I wanted to help amplify those ideas even if I was way out in the Midwest. It didn’t take long. Friends associated with the Justseeds artists’ cooperative formed Occuprint, an open source platform for sharing Occupy posters, and I jumped in.
As with many of the posters I make, it was my hope that these would help spread the spirit of the movement and help inspire those involved. Visual art like poetry and song has great power to energize, expose, and question, and I am committed as an artist living here and now to have my work speak in service of the struggles and movements I believe in.
In 2013, Occuprint published a portfolio to help raise funds for ongoing work. My poster, “Tip of the Iceberg” was included as a special edition in the first twenty portfolios, one of which is now in the Museum of Modern Art.
"Tip of the Iceberg" was my response to the dismissal by many that Occupy was just a New York thing. It’s based on both a metaphor, that Zuccotti Park is an iceberg, and on a veiled analogy to the Titanic disaster. What’s not spelled out in the image, but helped drive my process, is the story of the Titanic and the hubris that led to its sinking. In early versions, I had a little ship about to hit the Zuccotti iceberg, and even tried out text like “Beware Captains of the 1%.” In the end, I felt like I was complicating my main idea — that the movement is much larger than the encampments — so I took out the Titanic references.
Up With Mutual Aid
A protester in the Chicago financial district with “Up With Mutual Aid.”
Tip of the Iceberg
Time’s Up for the 1%
“Occupy Together” in the Occupied Wall St. Journal
Holiday for 99%
2002 – 2007
SNAFU (the acronym stands for Situation Normal, All Fucked/Fouled Up, which was first used by U.S. soldiers in 1941) is a series of spraypaint stencil prints that address the use of state sponsored violence and torture during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. They have been shown in exhibitions, used in protests like Free State Against the War and included as illustrations for Z Magazine. They were made at a time when my studio in East Lawrence was serving as a neighborhood workshop for making art to be used in anti-war protests and vigils.
Be Liberated or Die
Real Men Say
Plan for Peace
Bush at Coney Island
Sorting Out Iraq
Prey and Predator
Bourgeois Pig exhibition (Lawrence, KS)
Love Garden exhibition (Lawrence, KS)
Olive Gallery exhibition (Lawrence, KS)
Free State Against the War (South Park, Lawrence, KS)