Sometimes Picasso was political. Sometimes he wasn’t. In 1945 he did say the following:
What do you think an artist is? An imbecile who has only eyes if he’s a painter, or ears if he’s a musician, or a lyre at every level of his heart if he’s a poet, or even, if he’s a boxer, just his muscles? On the contrary, he’s at the same time a political being, constantly alive to heartrending, fiery, or happy events, to which he responds in every way[… .] No, painting is not done to decorate apartments. It is an instrument of war for attack and defense against the enemy. [Pablo Picasso, Statement, in Chipp, Theories of Modern Art, 487.]
I just released a new photo zine book called, “Faces of Color”. You can order it on my Zines page on this site. I decided to donate $5 of every purchase to Black Lives Matter Chicago. The reason for the donation comes from a very authentic source within.
I owe BLM for the man and the father I am today. I also need to thank all black lives that matter for my delving into street photography.
In the Zine I describe a critical moment in my life that drove me away from the gallery scene and into the streets of Chicago. Covert racism in other artists was the catalyst that pulled me out of the studio and into the streets.
For me, the journey took unexpected turns. I made new friends. I felt the pulse of a city. New life changed my life. I found myself listening to stories, reading books, and challenging myself as I went on this journey.
This new zine is a nod to the people that I wanted to meet on the streets and a celebration of their beauty. Do I support Black Lives Matter and other social causes? Yes. I tread carefully as an ally and as an artist. An ally should, in my opinion, steer people to the voices that need to be heard, not oneself.
There are black visual artists who need to heard, seen, and in the galleries I used to be in. This zine is an act of love, but it also recognizes I am a white visual artist. The least I can do in this endeavor is ensure that BLM gets a larger cut than I do from each limited edition book. It is my hope that the contributions enable them to continue the work I admire and the work that has changed me.
Like Picasso and so many of my current peers working as professional photographers and visual artists, we are business owners. But art is more than a widget, it contributes to the social equity of us all and reflects who we are as a people. I have to be true to my conviction and I can better serve my clients if I am authentic to what matters to me and to others.
Through pottery and art archaeologists learn about a culture’s folkways and mores. How they lived, what mattered to them, what they aspired to as well as what they feared. But in the very act of exposing your political views, you risk alienation from potential clients.
In my case, it is a risk worth taking. I live with certain privileges that the black person, the brown person and the LGBTQ person do not have.
Buy the Zine! I only published 25 Hardcover editions and 75 softcover editions! It is a labor of love with people who changed and enriched my life. It is my hope they do the same for you.
I also wanted to give a nod to someone named Scooter who inspired this. Scooter runs a podcast for people who have trouble sleeping. It is called the Sleep With Me Podcast! He is, like me, a middle aged white entrepreneur who not only believes Black Lives Matter, but showcases it on his website and in every episode of his show. He takes it a step further to provide resources for those of us who need to learn.
Thank you for reading, thank you for purchasing.
May you discover the color of life in the grey-scale!