Interview on “Equality 7.2521” painting

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What do the numbers mean in this painting?

Well, Equality 7.2521 was a character in a novel written by Ayn Rand called “Anthem”.  The number was his randomly assigned number by a purely socialist government in the future.  In the book, the character uses only the “We” form of talking as “I” was banned by this severe government by all for all.  All is well, until he starts to discover individuality and lost secrets of the past.  Interestingly, the author was between major novels and decided to take a “break” by writing this small novella sized novel in between.

anthem book

Why did you want to paint on Anthem society?

The character really crystalizes in an extreme form the move to further and further elements of socialism and away from a pure individualism type of society.  Its ironic that during the Obama administration that new department heads were formed with czar titles, symbolic of Russian autocratic rule.  Examples include:

Czar of AfPak

Czar of AIDS

Asian Carp Czar

Car Czar

Autoworker Czar

czar obama czar

with a total of 38 czars in a supposed democratic society.  It really demonstrates what the intentions of this type of leader are using autocratic leader terms for a democracy.  What respect of democracy does he entertain? Below you can see the parallels between his propaganda and CCCP Soviet propaganda:

change cccp poster

What was this society based on in the book?

Ayn came from Russia and actually oversaw the fall of the Czar to a republic and then the overthrow to red Communists.  Later came the purges to stimmy any voice of dissent.  If you look to modern parallels you can see any voice of dissent against Obama is labelled racist and rewarded.

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Even Oprah supposed called critics of Obama racists.  Its really a sad day when leaders use scape goats rather than accept the blame for failed leadership not driving the change they campaigned on.

nikola

What are the images in your painting background?

In the background I have a light surrounding the numbers 7.2521, which symbolizes the rediscovery of electricity by this future society. Many will ask, isn’t that preposterous to “lose” an invention.  Actually, if you look to the Roman Empire, they invented cement, but after the fall of Rome in the post 300s AD, people actually lost this technology as the craftsman with the knowledge were no longer valued in the chaos that followed.  It took almost until the 1800s until cement was actively used again in the “scientific” era.  There is a real danger when a society crumbles that key technological advances get lost.

internationale

Other elements are the anthem of the Soviet Union “The Internationale”.  Its only fitting reference to the meaning of the words “Anthem” and the reference to a perfect socialist society Ayn Rand emigrated from before the Iron Curtain slammed shut on that opportunity.

 

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Check my shop at www.shawnshawn.co

 

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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

 

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

Interview on Don’t be a Square Daddio! paintings

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So what does the title mean exactly?

This is a play on words from the movie “Pulp Fiction” — the classic movie that set Tarantino up as the MUST act in movie director for actors. I wanted to connect the sense of Putin’s criminal behavior in a gangster way towards this punk rock band as well as a reference back to the Malevich’s famous square paintings in the Suprematism style.

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What inspired you to do a series on 3 paintings on Pussy Riot?

Well, I saw this legal case on the absurd charges of hooliganism and the outrageous name “Pussy Riot”. Once I looked into the case, I found they had caused no property damage, but merely made a fool of Putin and the head of the Orthodox church as corrupt leaders of Russia. I painted three to symbolize the three band members that were initially arrrested.

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If the paintings are on three women, why didn’t you paint portraits?

Originally, I had found the photos I was going to use, but kept delaying finishing the paintings. The current format is the stage right before adding the images to it. I really loved the idea of square painting reference to Malevich, which would have been much less obvious with the images inside the boxes. Malevich was celebrated in the Suprematist movement as the Soviets came to power. Later his extreme modernism was rejected by the party. Sadly, most of his works were confiscated by the CCCP party as extremist and bourgeois under the paranoia of Stalin. So in a way history is repeating itself as Putin’s grandfather was the cook of Lenin and Stalin, which Putin admired for strength of character.

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So why do you include the church in the paintings?

The obvious one is that it was the place of the “attacks” of hooligans. It was carefully chosen by the group to protest the lack of courage of the church to stand with protesters on Putin’s third term as president, which is close to illegality based on Russia’s own constitution. The church was heavily oppressed by the original CCCP government, which was only allowed freedom of religion after the fall of the communists. During the 1930s this church was even demolished by Stalin to crack down on religion. Now the church is rehabilitated by the post-communist leaders, but has said nothing about Putin gobbling up all the political power since his rise. I personally find it shameful to have a power that could stand up to Putinism, but does not take a stand for freedom.

What do you take of Pussy Riot rejecting the material support in their cause? They were quoted as saying:

“We’re flattered, of course, that Madonna and Björk have offered to perform with us. But the only performances we’ll participate in are illegal ones. We refuse to perform as part of the capitalist system, at concerts where they sell tickets.”

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I think its consistent with their message of pure protest and hard core nature. They basically exist to bring the corruption down upon the leaders. If they did for a commercial band, they might lose some of their “street” image. Personally, I think they just want to overthrow Putin and a return of government reformation that started under CCCP political thaw from the 90s. Putin had his time and now is going too far to return back to authoritarism vs. true democracy that Russia had the chance to capture in the late 90s.

 

Are any works available? 

Check my shop at www.shawnshawn.co

 

Do you have a monthly newsletter?

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

Qatari poet jailed for life for poem celebrating the Arab Spring

I found this great blog on http://www.artthreat.net. Check it out!

Qatari poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami was sentenced to life in prison for writing and performing a poem celebrating Tunisia’s Arab Spring.

The poet’s lawyer, who is appealing the decision, has said that the trial was held in secret, the poet was not allowed to defend himself or even to enter a plea. According to an article inThe Guardian, Ajami was charged with “insulting the Gulf nation’s ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and inciting to overthrow the ruling system”, a crime punishable by death.

Ajami is a third-year student at Cairo University studying literature.  The poem came to public attention after a video was posted on Youtube. Ajami has been in solitary confinement since his arrest in November 2011.

Qatar is home to the international news network Al Jazeera, including Al Jazeera English whose coverage of the middle-east and international news in general has garnered increasing respect from Western audiences.   It is a cruel irony indeed that the government that funds such journalistic integrity also restricts freedom of speech in such a violent and reactionary manner.