Archive for February, 2009

Price of Fame Catches Up With Vandal Shepard Fairey

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Shepard Fairey likes to think of himself as a graffiti artist, street artist, master of marketing, and a man above the law. The young and college art students around the country think he’s the – whatever the word they use for someone who is cool. Many of them want to be Fairey wan-a-bees. He may be a talented artists and super designer, but I’ll always think of him as a vandal – a person who maliciously destroys property – public and private. No matter where his career goes – part of his legacy will always be as a vandal.

Fairey is a Charleston, SC, native, who attended the College of Charleston, and placed thousands and thousands of “Obey” (Andre the Giant) stickers plastered on just about everything in Charleston and throughout the country. That’s what got him fame to begin with. Now, young art students and street punks who want to be as famous as he is – are putting their stickers everywhere on everything. Designing a small sticker is about all the talent they have. Soon, another nickname for Charleston will be Graffiti Town.

During Barack Obama’s run for the Presidency, Fairey lifted an image from an Associated Press photo to create his popular poster of Obama known as “Hope”. It became so popular the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, purchased it for its collection. But now, he is being sued by AP and counter-suing AP over the rights of the use of the image. On the way to his first solo exhibit in Boston, MA, Boston police arrested Fairey on two charges of graffiti vandalism. Nice way to start your exhibit career.

It seems that Fairey’s past is catching up with his fame.

I was young once and liked sticking it to the man, but I never destroyed other people’s property doing so. Lots of young people haven’t paid for what they have and don’t own much property yet, but once they do put their hard earned money into property or taxes for public facilities – I hope they see the other side of street art and graffiti. They don’t have a right – even the excuse of not being grown up yet, or to destroy other people’s property or public property. Tax dollars and human resources are being wasted cleaning up Fairey’s art and his follower’s art.

I wonder what Fairey and his adoring followers would think if the people they have vandalized went to his studio and home in LA and trashed it – while he was spending time in jail – protesting his view on his right to use other people’s property as his canvas?

If this view makes me an old fart who doesn’t know art or how to have fun anymore – so be it. Hopefully, those who don’t get it will grow up someday.

SC Arts Commission’s Budget Threat

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Here is something I just found posted on the SC Arts Commission’s website.
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SC Arts Commission FY2010 Budget Request

For more than forty years, the Arts Commission has worked to build a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of where they live or how much money they make. With leadership and vision grounded in public planning, we have used programs, partnerships, staff services, and grants to achieve some remarkable results. We have helped to build a statewide arts network that brings quality arts experiences to people throughout the state—from Beaufort to Travelers Rest, and from Bennettsville to Belton. We have aided communities like Pacolet, Newberry, and Cheraw, as well as Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia, in their efforts to revive their downtowns and attract tourism. Through the nationally recognized Arts in Basic Curriculum partnership, we have helped schools in every region of our state improve their performance in and through the arts.

Now, despite constraints of the current budget situation, we continue to work toward the targeted outcomes of our “Creative Edge” initiative, which seeks to gain competitive advantage for South Carolina through the arts.

The three key outcomes of this initiative are:

1. More creative and culturally literate students, better prepared to take their places as citizens and workers in today’s global marketplace.
2. More culturally competitive communities that attract members of the “creative class” and the industries that cluster around this highly educated and mobile workforce.
3. More wealth created through small business development within the arts community.

In order to continue making progress toward these long term goals, we must solve one serious short-term problem: this year, and for the previous two years, a substantial part of our work in each of these three areas has been supported by $585,000 in one-time money, appropriated by proviso. The loss of this money, in combination with the significant cuts to our base appropriation that we have already seen, would be devastating. It would mean cuts in the neighborhood of 65% to nearly all grantees in nearly all grant categories. Therefore, we are urgently requesting continuing one-time funding for next year.

We understand the necessity of the budget cuts that all state agencies are receiving, and we will manage these cuts and continue to fulfill our public mandate. However the additional loss of $585,000 would undermine forty years worth of work in building our state’s arts industry and would arrest the progress in arts education that has made South Carolina a model for the nation. We cannot afford this long term damage to our state’s competitiveness and quality of life.

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What a load this is! Are you kidding me? If we (the Arts Commission) don’t get some more “one-time” funding for the “third” time – 40 years of our hard work at making SC’s a model (for anything) for the nation will be wiped out. And, on top of that – you will make us cut the funding we give to the arts groups (“we like”) – 65%.

Oh, and by the way, we’re still not going to fire anyone of our staff – no matter how much you cut our budget, if it takes every penny we used to give in funding!

So let’s review.

Funding that was given to the Arts Commission – twice to accomplish the three long-term goals stated – that by the way, are unknown to most in the art community and have not been reached – if not given a “third” time – as “one-time” funding – will destroy everything the Arts Commission has accomplished in its 40 years of existence.

Well, I guess that wouldn’t be hard to do since they really haven’t accomplished most of what they claim and it only goes to reason that losing any further “one-time” funding dollars would have the effect of reducing regular funding (which has already been cut by 25% due to state budget cuts) another 40% – a total of 65%.

I guess it really doesn’t matter what these people say! It’s mind boggling to think that someone might believe this (fill in the blank). And, you have to feel sorry for the folks they do give funding to as they have to take this with a smile – they have no choice. They have to take the concept of how the lack of a third – “one-time” funding will reduce their funding from the Arts Commission another 40%. It’s highway robbery.

Man, I’d just love to see that list of small businesses the Arts Commission has created through this two year effort – what a hoot. I can’t wait for a explanation of this – but wait – that’s right – there never is an explanation offered. The rule book says the best way to defend criticism is to ignore it. The Arts Commission is good at that!

We also have another math problem. How did the Arts Commission get “one-time” funding twice and how did “one-time” funding factor into their overall budget? When you get “one-time” funding – it is for one thing – one time. It should have no effect on your regular budget or programs – much less have the ability to wipe out 40 years of effort if you don’t get “one-time” funding – a third time. Did the people at the Arts Commission go to school in Arkansas – even SC schools teach better math skills.

Did they really expect to get “one-time” funding for this long-term project – year after year? Wouldn’t that just be an increase in their budget? It’s hard to think who is fooling whom here. Is the Arts Commission that stupid or do they think the Legislature is? Oops. That didn’t come out right.

I’ll give the Arts Commission credit for one thing. They have made me a regular visitor to their website and the State’s official press release website. When I need a good laugh – I just click the bookmark. It never fails. Only in these times, I tend to laugh so hard – I start to cry.

Snowing Again in Bonneau, SC

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

It is snowing again as I write this entry – for the second time in just a few weeks. The temperature is 27 degrees at 10:30am and unlike the first snow last month – if we get enough – it could accumulate! But, I hope not. Linda is working 911 today and that would make her day – oh so long. People don’t know how to act when snow comes south – especially when it comes to driving in snow. I’m not sure I still do after 35 years in the South. But since we are getting such cool temps – why not have snow too? I might even break out one of my sweaters that have been packed away for years.