Portland Resistance Artist creates to wake people up - to the increasingly violent nature of America's police
The images are intensely politically dark. The artist calls them non-official public art. Images of police, cops, storm troopers - the darth vaders of the corporate world. Alex started drawing and printing cops when he was a teenage skate boarder in the mid-Willamette valley. He says the cops followed him everywhere and harassed him and beat him up - his only crime was skate boarding on city streets.
He started to draw and study cops. He became interested in their thinking, body language, and psychological makeup. He could not understand why some human beings chose to be controlling, manipulative and violent. Since Seattle-WTO Alex says the police of this nation have become intensely violent - in their demeanor, in their dress, in their arms, and in their tactics. He says some of them they lie and twist reality to suit themselves. They talk in "verbal judo", using manipulative questions and are very controlling.
He draws, etches and screen-prints what he sees. Alex says his art is his truth. He says he's been an artist all his life. He speaks through his art. What he sees now in America is a buildup of a police state. He says he prints the images to try to wake people up!.
The show now at the Red and Black holds etchings of cops silhouetted against a backdrop of symbols of oppression. The images were created in reaction to different protests and actions Alex has attended.
Alex's Resistance Art is being shown at the Red and Black Caf? on 22nd and SE Division. The show will move on to Scary Monster's Music (2924 NE Alberta) as part of the Alberta street art walk on July 24th.
One etching called "LA Cop" (above)was created during the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
Another, a etching of a riot cop with a stick,(above) was created at the WTO protest in Seattle.
One of the most disturbing images (above)is a print of policeman with a shotgun that was created at the recent Hunting Life Science protest in Portland. Alex says people were protesting vivisection and the torture of animals and cops showed up with shotguns. It was a peaceful demonstration that could have become disastrous for the demonstrators.
Besides showing his work in local restaurants and art shows, he also "wheat pastes" them to the sides of empty buildings, posts, and other empty space as a form of non-official public art. He says he prints several hundred images and then thows a pancake feast. "Punk art kids" are invited to the feast. After cooking and eating the cakes with his friends, he makes up a nice paste of the batter and he and his friends use it to paste the resistance art images all over Portland. One of his favorite places to wheat-paste is the east end of the Burnside bridge on building that used to be called "Baloney Joe's". He says the images come down pretty quick but that a good showing would be for his prints to be up for a couple of days or longer. He also pastes in the SE industrial area near the now-closed Corno's produce building. His says he tries not to paste the images in places that will "totally piss people off". Alex says he shares the open spaces with other artists and that he takes it as a complement if anarchists or other street artists let his image stay up next to theirs.
The printmaker will only create art for organizations that he feels are supporting a just and peaceful earth. He has created tee shirts for Earthfirst and anti-grand jury posters for CFA and other earth defenders.
The artist/activist also likes to include his images in actions. His next act of resistance art will be at the Division-Clinton Street fair parade on Saturday, July 27th. He is asking people to show up and carry his prints in the parade as an act of resistance. Any person who will become part of this resistance will receive a sign copy of a print. The parade starts on SE 12th and Division at 10:00 AM. The parade will move up Clinton to 60th Ave. At the end of the parade is a street fair with bands and entertainment.
Again, Alex's Resistance Art is being shown at the Red and Black Caf? on 22nd and SE Division until Tuesday, July 23rd. The show will move on to Scary Monster's Music, 2924 NE Alberta as part of the Alberta street art walk on July 24th.