Artist Statement 2005
I learned it first from my Brother. He didn’t teach me; I watched it. They will pin a word on your chest and use it against you. They will create a word that’s excuse to take your humanity away. I saw it happen to him.
And everyday, this: A word to make you serve, and one to make grateful for it. There is a label out there just for you. This will make you easier to catergorize, and sell to. There is a word for the man next to you that makes you comfortable with the fact that you have so much more than he does. There is a word for you that tells you what to settle for.
There are the voiceless, who cannot speak for themselves. These are the easiest ones to shrink down. There are words for the non-conformers, simple words that can be quickly acknowledged by those that buy in. Crazy. Faggot. Gang. Rich. One is sinful, one is lazy, one is violent by nature and one is always, always good enough.
It’s such a precious thing that no one wants you to have it. You can’t be trusted with it. It’s such a delicate thing that it turns to something different in different hands. They might bury it but you can dig it up. You are strong enough for the Truth.
From my hands, my mission: To free the oppressed; to champion the persecuted, and the submissive; to liberate through revelation the actualized Self in those proposed by some to have no self at all. It’s in every single one of us, somewhere underneath that word on our chest.
In my hands, my version: All art is political in some sense, be it through conformity, reflection, propaganda or rebellion. My paintings are rallies and trials, photographs of a moment when Truth was made public, and Mercy known.
Question why a villain is villainized, a victim martyred. Ask why a group is demonized, and the motives for control. See for yourself what the truth looks like in your hands. Dig it up and hold it for a while.
This work you see, it’s my Truth. But please don’t take my word for it.