Confrontational Art

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Creative Work by Michelle Davey

When Iย asked for feedback from my classmates on the G+ community regarding whether they think activism that is being demonstrated live (in-action) or as an art piece, such as a graffiti or sculpture, is more effective in terms of conveying their message the overall consensus was that of a live performance. The more โ€œin your faceโ€ the art is, the more impactful it will be. Visual activism through art is a way for the artist to convey their feelings or opinions in a non-confrontational way that allows the audience to see their view and decide for themselves what they want to believe. Art has the ability to create an emotional experience with the viewer. Art is fluid in the way that it connects people who may live in different countries or continents. The topic of animal cruelty is a universal one that many artists are cognizant of.

Throughout this assignment I have been researching many different artists and the mediums they use to showcase their opinion on animal cruelty. I have shown artists who use photography, paintings, books, and art in a more comedic, subtle way to show the consequences of animal cruelty. For my creative work I decided to use a program called Emazeย as a way to show what I have learned throughout this project concerning visual activism.

In this final blog post I am going to explore more in-depth some artists whose work I believe to beย the most effective. One organization I find to be most influential is PETA. On their website under the category โ€œWhy does PETA use controversial tactics?โ€ They replied with โ€œWe will do extraordinary things to get the word out about animal cruelty because we have learned from experience that the media, sadly, do not consider the terrible facts about animal suffering alone interesting enough to cover. It is sometimes necessary to shake people up in order to initiate discussion, debate, questioning of the status quo, and of course, actionโ€ (PETA, 1). There is no shortage of activism videos in PETAโ€™s playlist but the one that I will be focusing on is a protest outside of a Louis Vuitton store that exposes the violent skinning of crocodiles in Vietnam who are being killed to create these leather bags. Three women whose bodies were painted to look like bloody, dead crocodiles draped themselves over an oversized crocodile-skin bag. With this grotesque image PETA has no doubt captured the attention of onlookers as well as the media. Their message to urge shoppers to buy vegan alternatives is clear.

Another artist whose work captured my attention is Sue Coe. Sue grew up next to a slaughterhouse that is the inspiration for many of her graphic paintings and drawings. Her art can be described as dark and nightmarish yet very impactful. It reveals the harsh truth behind how we obtain our meat. Anyone who views her art will undoubtedly feel her impassioned fury behind these works and while it may not change your mind, it will show you a powerful new perspective.

PETA and Sue Coe are just two of the amazing artists using their creative works as a tool to speak up for those who canโ€™t speak for themselves. They challenge our perspectives on an issue that a lot of us just choose to ignore and put to the backside. I am finishing this blog post with a quote from Nicholas Mirzoeff, โ€œOnce we have learned how to see the world, we have taken only one of the required steps. The point is to change itโ€ (298).

Works Cited

Mirzoeff, Nicholas.ย How to see the world. Great Britain: Pelican, 2015. Print.

โ€œWhy Does PETA Use Controversial Tactics?โ€ PETA. PETA, n.d. Web. 29 May 2017.

Officialpeta. โ€œBody-Painted โ€˜Crocodilesโ€™ Protest Outside Louis Vuitton Store.โ€ YouTube. YouTube, 10 Feb. 2017. Web 29 May 2017.

Yeung, Peter. โ€œThe Artists Pushing Animal Rights Further.โ€ Dazed Digital. Dazed Digital, 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 May 2017.

Activism Responding to the Impacts of Animal Cruelty

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Painting by Dana Ellyn ย 

Moving from the general to the more specific issues concerning animal cruelty. I will be looking at why this topic is important and affects all of us and that this is why so many visual artists and activists are incorporating anti-animal cruelty into their works. Why do people abuse animals? Animals are innocent creature that Mother Nature has created. They are here to co-habit with us. They are not here for us to abuse, neglect, or rule. Every living creature has the right to live in peace. It is our social and moral responsibility as human beings to ensure that no living being is abused and neglected, human or animal.

Many individual artists know this and incorporate animal cruelty into their works. There are even whole organizations such as PETA who have activists dedicated to this cause. This activism is done in a number of ways. Through visual protests, campaigns, posters, photography, etc. Sometimes activism done through art can have a more profound effect on people than by simply lecturing or giving facts about the cause, especially if these artists and activists have agency within the community. Viewers are able to visually see the effects without the message being too overbearing and are able to interpret the message for themselves as well as feel the impact. I have researched many ways in which this can be done. Through graffiti, public protests, artwork, and art installations just to name a few. Nicholas Mirzoeff in Chapter 7 of How to See the World tells us โ€œGraffiti is a way to reclaim public space for discussion. It can reach people who might not see mainstream media let alone go to an art gallery (264). A very informative website that I found, OneGreenPlanet, showcases many artists and their works of activism, such as Gale Hart who is a sculptor, painter, and multimedia artist. In 2010 Gale released a collection of work titled Why Not Eat Your Pet that focuses โ€œon the hypocrisy of human treatment of food animals.โ€ PETA also has a link on their website that highlights artists such as Jo Frederiks, Dana Ellyn and Banksy just to name a few who use pictures and art to speak up about animal rights. In my final post I will go more in depth with the mediums and strategies used by these artists to communicate this global issue.

 

Works Cited

โ€œArt and Activism: A Spotlight On Animal Rights Activists (Part 1).โ€ One Green Planet. One Green Planet, 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 25 May 2017.

โ€œPicture Perfect: Artists Speak Up for Animal Rights.โ€ PETA Australia. PETA Australia, 15 Nov. 2016. Web. 25 May 2017.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas.ย How to see the world. Great Britain: Pelican, 2015. Print.

How to See the World: Introduction

The author, Nicholas Mirzoeff, begins the book by recounting how many people believed that seeing the image of “Blue Marble” significantly changed their lives. That they were finally able to see the world as a whole and because of this they were all linked to one another.

Later on in the introduction Mirzoeff talks about how in 2012 another photograph of the world was produced. This “Blue Marble” seems as if it was taken from one place in space like the original was, but this is not accurate. The image wasย composed of many different pictures of the earth from different angles and assembled to look as if was just one. Mirzoeff says, “It is a good metaphor of how we see the world visualized today. We assemble a world from pieces, assuming that what we see is both coherent and equivalent to reality. Until we discover it is not” (Mirzoeff, 10).

Mirzoeff goes on to explain the concept of visual culture and the mental model that we all create based off of what we previously know to be true. The world of social media and more evolved media outlets over the years has altered this concept of social media. “The difference between the concept of visual culture in 1990 and the one we have today is the difference between seeing something in a specific viewing space, such as a museum or a cinema, and in the image-dominated network society” (Mirzoeff, 13).

The introduction to this book was intriguing and I am anxious to learn more and to continue moving forward in this class.

Works Cited: Mirzoeff, Nicholas. How to see the world. Great Britain: Pelican, 2015. Print.