Ron English recently appeared on CNN to explain his recent art that has appeared in the Manifest Hope show. I had to opportunity to sit down with Ron this year at the Manifest Hope show in Denver during the week of the Democratic National Convention. We were both busy putting back a few drinks that night and we talked about everything from Shepard Fairey, advertising and the government. He is a pretty funny guy and like most of us in the art and design fields, highly opinionated about a lot of different topics. It was a real pleasure to meet him as I have always admired his work. Its great to see him getting such great coverage. He’s worked his ass off for it and deserves it.
Alright, it is almost 3am and I still have to go to work tomorrow because I am a regular person and not quite famous enough to call my own shots. But, I have to write briefly about the single most surreal night of my life so far. This week I have met and spoke with Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Date Farmers, a producer for the Charlie Rose show and several other people that I guess are important and I didn’t even know who they were when I was talking to them. I was invited into the VIP section of the Manifest Hope show tonight since I was a contributing artist and it really just blew my mind. Ron English knew who I was, so that was fucking awesome. The reason he knew me though was because of my rant about Upper Playground and his poster. He said this blog was the only blog he has ever left a comment on. That was kind of awesome. Shepard Fairey talked to me and a coworker about having a family while doing the crazy shit we all do. That was a hot topic since my wife is ready to start a family of our own. It was the last thing I ever thought I would talk to Shepard Fairey about. Pretty weird.
I saw Moby tonight at the show. The VIP show also had Sarah Silverman speaking, she was hilarious, along with the mayor of San Francisco. He is one good looking politician. I was then treated to a private show by Ben Gibbard, the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie along with the members of The Postal Service and Rilo Kiley. Rilo Kiley admitted it was the first time she had ever played guitar for a live audience. That was cool. Sam Flores, David Choe and I have no idea who else were all walking around.
A friend and local artist who was in the show went out wheat pasting with Shepard Fairey this week and will be featured in his documentary about the entire Manifest Hope show. His artwork in the show was all purchased by Morgan Spurlock, the guy who starred in the Supersize me documentary.
In a nutshell, it was wild. Just wild. I was so excited to be there. It felt like the culmination of a long hard road we have all fought to take as artists and designers who have thrown our full weight behind the Obama campaign. It was fantastic to be around all of these people and know we were all there together for something we really believed in.
Ron English is awesome by the way. He knows a lot about politics and I was lucky enough to get to talk to him for a while. I watched him work his way into a potential interview with Charlie Rose as well. Damn would I like to get to do something like that someday.
Oh and I also sold my poster featured in the show and apparently I had sold a bunch of posters at the Manifest Hope official store. That was good news but I decided to donate my sales back to the Obama campaign and back to benefit the cost of putting on the show. I will be selling the remainder of the posters, signed and numbered on the site soon though for about 75% less than what they are selling them for at Manifest Hope.
I will do a full image posting about the show later this week.
I haven’t yet posted news about Upper Playground’s ongoing Obama poster series because of mixed emotions. I haven’t been able yet to determine if all the money they are making is going toward the Obama campaign or not. In times like these, I say give if you can and if you are earning money from Obama’s image, give that money back to his campaign. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great the Upperplayground is contributing. I just think it’s a little immoral to be turning a buck of the Obama trend on one hand and touting support with the other. This is America though and that is how capitalism works I guess. Like I said though, I could be totally wrong, they might be giving a small amount of money to the artist and then giving all the rest back to the campaign. With each poster costing a whopping $200 in this economy, with a target audience that is most likely comprised of artists and creatives, I hope they are putting that money towards a good cause. If they are, then I applaud them whole-heartedly and apologize sincerely for any misperception on my behalf.
That peace being spoken, the poster by Ron English really is noteworthy. Not just because Ron English is such an interesting and controversial artist but because of his interpretation of Obama in his poster. It stirs a lot of emotions looking at the image he has created and it also brings about an idea of a circle in history finally being closed once and for all. I think it’s a brilliant idea and speaks a lot about the intelligence behind English’s work. Of all the posters so far, I would say this one, if you have the actual money to spare, is worth the cost. It’s a brilliant effort by English and beautifully conceived. In a world of clutter it is so often the simplest images that speak the loudest.