History 101 vs. Introduction 102
After reading the Introduction to the July 2009 issue of Juxtapoz to find out what the latest issue was featuring, I was deeply offended. The Editor asks the question: How does the Obama Administration change strict immigration laws to allow foreign artists to live, work and thrive in the United States of America?
Although I have nothing against legal immigration in general, I and some fellow artists find it offensive to focus on artists from other countries instead of those American artists who remain hidden despite having paved the way for this graffiti & street art movement. It seems to me that an entire group of people who have contributed tremendous amounts of creativity to American graffiti & protest art go ignored unless they are in some kind of trouble (arrested), sick on drugs, or half dead on a PBS documentary. Yet, it is the very influence and impression left behind by these unsung pioneers fueling many careers that reach stardom or the “American Dream,” as the Editor puts it.
The Editor blames the dilapidated state of education in America for this cultural over site, and suggests that the Obama Administration would best serve the community by addressing this issue. While I partially agree with that sentiment, I also believe that education goes both ways. The “Art World” – high or low – needs to take a look at itself and realize that there is an unbalanced focus in terms of value exposure & marketing when it comes to educating the public from a cultural perspective.
Aside from music & dance, American museums, galleries, publications, and media tend to overlook the reference source and instead promote its byproducts. Point blank, African American artists have too long been shut out of the American art market. Why look outside the United States for talent when there is a group of indigenous people who have been clamoring for recognition. Before creating any mechanism for importing foreign artists, the existing value at the root of American culture must be mined and utilized.
This letter is my personal opinion and not the subject of my artwork and should be read with that in mind. However I have touched on social political topics that become popular in the media.