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I didn't realize it at the time, but over a decade ago, I was laying the foundation for a movement to #TakeBackOurCulture. For years, I had been struggling with the desire to create art that would sell and painting things that I found inspiring or meaningful. My passion and inspiration took me in the direction of meaningful work, but the more involved I became in the art community, the more I realized that, as a libertarian, I was an outsider.
Two articles by my partner at Liberatchik, Christopher Cook, describe the way I was treated, time and time again, when it became obvious to my peers that I did not share their social and political views. His articles Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist and The Top Three Reasons Why Liberals Hate Conservatives are both a great read.
Over six years ago, Christopher found me, compliments of the internet, and asked me to help him find other artists who were going through the same things and help him build a community where all of us could show and discuss our art and ideas. We have gone through many metamorphoses over the years and grown exponentially. Today, there are over 40 artists working with us in some capacity, though all do not share their art in our public forums.
Below is my artist statement, which hasn't changed all that much over the years. I look forward to the day when I can work in my studio or write, as the mood strikes me, without the need to fight for equal representation in the arts and culture or open-mindedness and honesty from the cultural elite.
In our current political climate, a new vanguard of artists are beginning to raise their voices through works depicting previously unexpressed (at least openly) conservative political views. As an individual expression, political art is a powerful tool for political activism, and arguably crucial to fomenting political change. Propaganda techniques are indispensable. Whether or not you agree with the artist whose work you are viewing, you should be able to respect their right to free speech.
As artists, I believe we have a duty and responsibility to put forth opposing points of view to that of the establishment, whomever they may be. We need to combat lies and misrepresentations with verifiable facts and expose the treachery of blindly following ‘approved’ ideas and agendas. It is time that those of us who still hold the individual supreme stand up and make our voices heard. We now face a turning point in the history of America, where we can succumb to the whims of the State and willingly accept bondage, or lead the way to a Liberty Revolution with the purpose of restoring America to a Constitutional Republic. Mrs. Pelosi once sneered, in a statement meant to squash open dialogue, “Are you serious?”; I say "Yes Ma’am, I Am".
As libertarians and conservatives, what should we be promoting through our art? Self-reliance, personal responsibility, a return to the principles of individual liberty and limited government. Freedom over tyranny. Reverence for beauty in reality and imagination, and the use of ugliness sparingly, as a means to illustrate a point, not an end goal.
We must define our principles clearly, then promote them effectively and repeatedly in ways that are quickly and easily understood. We have the ability to make a lasting and significant impact in this war of ideas, if only we can find the nerve and the strength to oppose the status quo.
Art, regardless of genre, has the ability to reduce complex concepts to easily grasped ideas, raise people and ideas to the status of icons, and reach wide audiences through a variety of means. It is my goal, through my personal art, to promote the ideas of Liberty and individual integrity. I believe that America is a great country and patriotism should not be a stigma. There is nothing selfish in taking pride in one’s accomplishments. I hope that America will one day return to a truly free nation, because it has not been so in my lifetime. I want to leave America better than I found it. My art is my tool for shaping that future.
Machine Politick: Art by Category