“Oh, say can you see?…May Day, May Day!” (2008)

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* The first time this collage was exhibited was last night at the Occupy Venice Art Crawl in Venice, CA

“Oh, say can you see?…May Day, May Day!” (2008)

– Journalistic Art 

The 4 feet by 8 feet collage on cardboard canvas consists of newspapers and magazines representing the George W. Bush era. Many of the articles accompanied me during my move from New York City, where I gained a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 2005. After graduation, I reported on mergers & acquisitions as well as initial public offerings on Wall Street. When I moved back to my home state of California at the end of 2006, I started selling solar electricity for homes, from San Francisco to San Diego. Of course, I then added to my growing stockpile of “newspaint” with articles from local papers, like The Contra Costa Times in the Bay area.

I have culled the most poignant pictures and salient written reports from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Economist, The Week, etc., in order to present a view of the Iraq War, the Financial Crisis and the Bush years as it was all happening. I have also used various, highly accredited, named sources to present different perspectives and maintain journalistic integrity. Every section of the newspaper is represented, including Arts, Sports, and the Sunday Comics, so that the viewer gets a well-rounded feel of the era preceding the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, AIG, WaMu, General Motors, and on and on.

I was inspired by the freedom of thought and reinvented forms exhibited in the artworks of Robert Rauschenberg, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel when I started making the collage, but then I added a twist from Marcel Duchamp’s playbook. The collage is a living history made from a scarce and precious medium–the original printed newspaper articles and the original printed magazine covers. No one would be able to replicate it, and therefore it is unique because of its medium. It was sealed with a protective cover on May 1, 2008. Thus came the title “Oh, say can you see?…May Day, May Day!”

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Unfortunately, the picture on the makeshift wall at night did not turn out as well as the one taken against the tree during the day, before the official curating began. Although, the event coordinators did provide adequate lighting for in-person viewing and gave me a prominent location next to a piece done by Shepard Fairey – famous for the “Obey” (Andre the Giant) street art and the Barack Obama blue & red image from the 2008 election. Some people actually stood still and read the articles on my collage. : )

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