ABSOLUT (ELY) NO INTEGRITY
In spring of 2011, Clarion Alley Mural Project was contacted by two PR firms on behalf of Absolut Vodka – Therese Vreeland with EVB productions and Teresa Rad, Director of Art Production at TBWA/Chiat/Day. Both wanted to shoot artists and murals on the alley. I communicated that I would need to check with the two other organizers at the time (CUBA and Jet Martinez); however, it was highly unlikely given CAMP’s policy against corporate promotion, sponsorship ties, etc. Following several days of email exchanges and phone conversations, I conveyed that I wouldn’t have an answer until the following week, reiterating the likelihood that it would not be okay and in the interim it was definitely NOT okay to do any shoots.
However, rather than respecting CAMP’s wishes, Therese Vreeland and EVB completely disrespected our request and went ahead and filmed anyway – without permission – and used the footage for Absolut’s campaign. Absolut’s complete disregard of CAMP’s wishes reflects the corporation’s sense of entitlement and disrespect for the very community that it’s using – read: contemporary colonialism or ABSOLUT CRAP!
TAX THE RICH!
TAX THE RICH
Clarion Alley Mural Project
Clarion Alley, San Francisco, CA
TAX THE RICH is part of my ongoing work in support of the need for a fundamental shift from free-market capitalism to a new way of being that’s rooted in compassion, generosity, and true equality for all beings. The current model puts profit before all else and is literally destroying the environment, health, and wellbeing of the planet and all its inhabitants. As Cornel West has noted: “We’re living in a society where everybody is up for sale. Everything is up for sale.” Integrity has become a rare anomaly in our contemporary culture.
While taxing the rich is not a long-term solution, it is a much-needed step in the process for attaining equity. Ultimately, the global community must move away from capitalism and the use of “profit” and “growth” as indicators of success and prosperity and instead develop new models and alternative measures such as Bhutan’s Gross Nation Happiness (GNH) index that uses the collective indicators of Psychological Wellbeing, Health, Time Use, Education, Cultural Diversity and Resilience, Good Governance, Community Vitality, Ecological Diversity and Resilience, and Living Standards.
The mural was painted on San Francisco’s Clarion Alley in July/August 2013 during the 2013 America’s Cup hosted in San Francisco and sponsored by Louis Vuitton, each an emblem of wealth and excess. Capitalizing on this convergence of affluence, I used the classic Louis Vuitton brown as the background, the highly recognizable SF Giants colors for the text, and added Louis Vuitton artist/designer Takashi Murakami’s floral smiley faces to my own iconic flowers.