Interview of “I’m CEO… Bitch!” painting

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How did you come to paint it?

Well, one of the ex-employees of Facebook saw the painting of my “This… is… Google!” painting and wanted to commission me on to do a Facebook version.

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“This… is… Google!” painting

What is the Google work about?

I learned of the debate with Google senior ranks of the hacking against political rights activists into gmail accounts by the Chinese government.  Then Google decided to move its operations out of mainland China to Hong Kong site only to avoid having to censor their own users for the Chinese government.  I was floored by their decision to “do no evil” by sacrificing profits for good will.

Why did you use such a wild title?

As stated in the movie “Social Network” about the formation of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg had his first business cards actually printed with the text “I’m CEO bitch!”  I verified this account as well. It really captures the wild days of the foundation and honesty of Facebook in the face of rigidity of social preconceptions as well.

What exactly are Facebook Stories?

These are the amazing stories of how long lost relatives found each other on Facebook, people founded great organizations via Facebook and other amazing discoveries.  Its kind of a bragging rights site, but truly shows the amazing power of Facebook in people’s lives to make a difference for themselves and empower groups.

What are each of the scenes of Facebook about?

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In the F letter, we have Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and face of the company founding.  There are conspiracies of the power of Facebook that people speculated about in its founding from DARPA to the CIA.

A and C Letter

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In the second letter of A, we have the battle in the internet of the new social media sites, competition and partners of Facebook.  The big one being Farmville game, which challenged Facebook’s patience at one point with all the invites.  Similarly, Candy Crush likely is testing the patience as well of current users.

In the C letter, we have the political rise of power using Facebook, namely in the historic campaign of Barack Obama in 2008 and the famous Hope Poster of Shephard Fairey.  Another important feature of Facebook and other social media was the impact in the Arab Spring with Time Magazine and the Protester cover image.

E Letter

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In the E letter, we have the mothers milking controversy of Facebook with mothers posting pictures of naked breast feeding.  There was an internal battle whether this violated the policy of Facebook with the users strongly influencing the decision to let them stay.  I playfully put in the corporate “Got Milk” ad campaign, since this is a competitor to mother’s milk.

B Letter

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In the B letter, we have one of the most popular Facebook web pages of South Park.  This cartoon in its self is very inflammatory testing society’s level of acceptance and hypocrisy.

O Letters

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In the first O letter, I took on the topic of breaking the barriers of hate via Facebook.  I posted an amazing ad by Benettonthat was pulled the same day it went up! The company was pressured by the Vatican itself to pull it.  It has the Pope kissing an Imam, which tears at the tenants of religious hate and the issue of religious views on LGBT relationships as well.  It is also a remake of an historical event of the USSR General Secretary Brezhnev kissing the Eastern German President at the time at 30th anniversary of Communism in East Germany in 1979.  Below is a Berlin Wall cynical painting in 1989 of that historic kiss.

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“My God help me survive this deadly love” painting

In the second O letter, we have the maps of the greatest users of Facebook pared with the countries of highest levels of censure against Facebook.

K Letter

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In the K letter, we have the initial beginnings of Facebook predecessors like Hot or Not and Facemash, which led to Mark Zuckerberg deciding to take the company to the next level.  Of course, you have to have the famous Like button as well included.

Is this work for sale?

No, the work is in a private collection currently.

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

 

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Interview on “Remember the 5th of November” painting

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So what is this title about in November?

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It is a line from the V for Vendetta movie in which V, the lead freedom fighter rescues a girl about to be raped by the secret police of the futuristic London and says…

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What exactly is he referring to?

In London, there is a Guy Fawkes holiday that falls on November the 5th, 1605.  It was the night that Guy Fawkes tried to overthrow the current King of England by blowing up Parliament.  Later it became a grand holiday that people dance to and light up bonfires.

In the futuristic movie, this holiday was banned and forgot, so the villain/hero decides to retry to blow up Parliament to overthrow the dictator Adam Sandler from power.

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Are there any parallels in our present day?

Well, if you look at UK they have over 1.4 million cameras run by CCTV to watch for crime.  This is equivalent to one camera every 32 people in the whole country mostly in urban settings.  This same use of cameras could be used as a way to control the population if an autocratic government came to power as in the movie V for Vendetta.

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In the US, the government set up Prism under the NSA.  The government story is that they only use it to check on the location of your phone number.  While Edward Snowden claims that they are using it to track any civilian virtually online with data up to 7 years in the past.  Sounds like a witch hunt of the civilian population.  This makes Nixon and McCarthy era look like Sesame Street in comparison.  This tool could easily be used to control a civilian population under an autocratic regime.  With the current Obama regime using the IRS to hinder the popular vote to possibly skew a popular election, you definitely have to be wondering where this is heading.  Are we still in a democracy?

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If you look at the US Constitution, the 4th Amendment strictly says government is not allowed to illegal search.  If you look at the NSA and Prism, this is an illegal search of the whole US population at will.  The government claims these are in check in under a secret court FISA.  Why does the court have to be secret?  Are the courts and President truly following the US constitution they are sworn to uphold?

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Which scene is the painting about?

In the film, the hero/villain survives a violent fire of the labs they run human experiments.  These experiments alters his DNA to have super-human traits while at the same time inventing a cure to the terrible virus the government unleashes on the population to seal the absolute power they take over the government.

How did the fictional dictator come to power in the film?

The group uses paranoia of the virus infection, hatred of minorities and fear.  As the inspector in the film finds out the genius of the plan is the fear instilled in the population.

Are there parallels in today’s world?

If you look at modern TV anchors, rather than reporting the news objectively they state their opinions.  Usually, it is how one side or the other is racist, hates minorites and is not worth listening to.  In a true democracy, people debate the issues and concede when they lost a logical point.  Do we have that in the current TV shouting matches we have nowadays?

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Are any works available? 

Check my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ShawNshawNart

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact

Review of “V for Vendetta” movie

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What did you think of the movie?

When I first saw the Guy Fawkes mask and crazy spinning knives on the ads, I refused to go see it.  It looked completely comical.  One day I rented the movie and fell in love.  It captures how a democracy can easily fall into dictatorship, rebellion in such a state and losing your fear.

So did you change your opinion of the Guy Fawkes mask?

Totally.  In the movie, it comes to symbolize freedom from repression and how to overcome a dictatorship.  In fact, it became the symbol of Anonymous in their battle against extreme government and other groups controlling and corrupting society.

Have you done any painting related to the movie?

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Anonymous

Earlier I painted about the PS3 attack by Anonymous for over 23 days.  This painting encaptures symbols of the movie, quotes of Anonymous as well as the cover story of lost credit cards that Sony claimed was the reason for the attack.  The original reason was that Sony shut down the functionality of the original OS in PS3 and a hacker reopened it back up to the original stock OS.  Sony didn’t want to be bothered managing the original open OS system that programmers enjoyed.  So they sued the hacker and all downloaders.  After this heinous act, the PS3 network was taken down by Anonymous for exactly 23 days, which was the same number, 23, as a german cult hacker movie.  Needless to say Hollywood remade the movie into a paranoia movie with Jim Carrey, almost makes you think they hacked the movie to cover the original plot line of the movie 23.  In all likelihood, they just butchered the remake out of stupidity rather than a diabolic intention by Hollywood.

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How relevant is the movie today?

Well, after the NSA revelation with Edward Snow, we are starting to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.  Ironically, I just finished a painting on the Chinese government snooping on US companies and the warm virtual war we are already in with US vs. China in cyberspace.  Now with the public growing aware of how deep the government is watching its own citizens without warrant, a complete oversight of the 4th Amendment in the US constitution, we see how relevant this movie is.  If the government decides you are a “terrorist” based on a word count of your website, who knows what they will do.  Is this not the apex of the slope sliding down to what the Stasi did in the DDR in Germany?

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Riding the Dragon on the Plains of Slaves

You really think the NSA is becoming the Stasi?

Not yet, but the truly scary thing is the German Prime Minister Merkel is bringing up the issue with Obama in the current visit.  This just shows how extreme the US government is really acting towards its own citizens and cavalier attitude towards the US constitution.  Likely, the only cure is likely to ban the NSA outright as they will not stop spying on the US citizens.  If you look at the similar scandal of the IRS under Obama, you can see how the government is now trying to throw elections and sliding to some type of autocratic system of rule that is not backed up by true public voting of its elected representatives.

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Are there other popular media of a similar story?

A classic is 1984. It covers a totalitarian state where every word you write is overlooked by the government.  Each possible suspect is then detained and re-educated in camps.  The main character falls in love, but is then captured.  After being re-educated in a camp, he doesn’t even recognize his love of his life afterwards.

The funny irony is that Apple used 1984 type ad in its infamous Superbowl commercial to sell the Macintosh.  Now they are one of the US companies suspected of turning over private citizen data to the NSA.

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We currently have prisoners at Guantanamo being held without trial.  Now we believe that the government is holding them as some type of POWs, yet brings no charges on these war criminals.  If they truly have fought against the US citizens, then likely these charges would stand in court.  Why not bring this chapter to a close? Obama promised to close Guantanamo in his first 60 days yet kept it open another four years.  Are we really living in a democracy with full rights to a fair trial anymore?  What prevents the government from throwing more neutral opponents to the system in this off-shore prison? Nobody knows, you just have to trust Obama.

The truly sad thing is that the US government has regularly rounded up various minorities in times of war. Below are the signs of the Japanese intern camps of WWII only 70 years ago. They lost all their property in fire sales or illegal squatting by other US citizens.

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Previous to that the US fought various native Americans and eventually put them into camps called reservations where they had no historical connection and usually on worthless farming land.  One of the results of this policy, was the Battle of Little Big Horn by Custer.  Today these are some of the poorest communities in the US equivalent to third world conditions.

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So have you done any recent painting on the subject?

Stay tuned.  I just finished an abstract on the subject.

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

Yes. I send about every 4-6 weeks at http://shawnshawn.co/Site/Contact