This painting was my favorite and spoke to me the most on many levels. I grew up in nyc before white people gave a shit about it and during the stop and frisk era when politicians were cleaning up the city so white people could come and give a shit about it. Politicians, commissioners, corrections, police forces and developers all formed together to create a giant monster that swallowed many lives whole and altered the face of the city. At a point, living in the city felt like being in a sort of tropical wilderness where to survive you had to have sharp brutal instincts like an animal. You couldn’t sit down, or stand up, or go to the store, or walk home from school,without being a possible target. This mobilization to restore the “quality of life” to these forgotten neighborhoods, was described as “the beast” by many. Because in its entirety, it was a giant looming monster that loved to feed on the poor should they ever be caught slipping. This experience gave me a greater sense of how this doesn’t only affect the people here and around me. But was also the modus operandi of the beast towards the poor and lesser classes of the world. I empathized with the struggles of Palestinian people and their conflicts in Gaza. The occupied people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Essentially the beast was a much greater monster than the one i perceived at home, and in fact was a monster of global proportions. When plain clothes officers used to hop out on us, and we would have to idly wait by there car while they ran our pockets and talked shit to us for 20 minutes. I remember the strange hum their cars would produce from powering the computer equipment they had in the car. The strange red glow that would come from the light they used inside their cars to see but maintain low visibility, along with all the foreign clicks and beeps from their radios. It seemed so futuristic and surreal. As if they were storm troopers from a star wars movie, antagonists in some epic saga of the constant imbalance between good and evil. And i would think of all the technological, computerized means which the beast implemented around the world to impose control. I would think of how just like me, some kid in palestine is going through the same motions and feeling the same shit, listening to the strange hums and beeps of those oppressing him, and how in their case the DT’s (detectives) were apache helicopters. And how instead of looking out for chevy impalas with antennas on them they were keeping their head up for black hawks. Crazy I thought. When i saw this painting, it basically articulated everything I felt about surviving my adolescence.
In this assignment we were asked to create an editorial illustration based on the current presidential election, that would convey a message of voter participation amongst students. I began to brainstorm certain issues that were affected by the coming election, as well as ways that i might tie them into the perspective of going to vote. I considered student debt as a primary concern for the target audience. However the issue that spoke the most to me was the apathy amongst many young voters towards the election this year. Many people feel as if voting is pointless because the candidates this year offer no true alternative or opportunity for change or progress on many of the issues concerning them. So instead i decided to work off that feeling, illustrating hillary and trump as two different candidates, in the same seat of power which i expressed as a military tank, doing the same war mongering life devaluating shit thats been going for the past 200 years and then some. The slogan, Perpetuate the death and misery of the developing world, at the hands of your own elected war monger nov 8th.