On the morning of January 12th, San Francisco woke up to wheatpastes around the city of an incensed Sarah Palin illustration with the text “Enrage them with fear until they feel justified in their violence” emblazoned across bottom. Attention everyone, street artist Eddie Colla has something to say.
Political street art is about one thing- the message. The message, like anything in life is where you will find meaning. At some point artists, creatives and public figures must ask themselves what message does my work send? And that is the theme that artist Eddie Colla’s latest work would like to emphasize.
“Enrage them with fear until they feel justified in their violence.” explains the artist, “I’ve associated it with a number of people from Glen Beck to Palin, Pinochet to Pol Pot, Hitler etc. Sometimes events unfold in such a way that your message becomes so much more relevant and you have an opportunity to really make an impact and communicate. That’s timing and timing is important.”
The recent Arizona shootings made the timing of Colla’s piece especially poignant. The tendency to oversimplify the issues turning them black or white, leaving room for minimal, if any, intelligent discourse struck a chord in the politically conscious street artist.
“Fear mongering, simply intensifies the likelihood of violence. If people are made to feel that they are in eminent danger or threatened, there is a fight or flight response. Based on that principle you are guaranteed a percentage of the responses are going to be violent.” says Colla.
Colla wants to be clear, he does not blame Sarah Palin for the Arizona shootings- what he blames is her vitriolic
rhetoric that have become her character trademark.
“Whether or not Palin influenced Jared Lee Loughner, is rather beside the point. Her actions and her language have been consistently hyperbolic, manipulative and irresponsible. Palin gives speeches and the crowd tends to react to the tough-talk and rhetoric, so that’s what she continues doing it… That behavior is typical of people who participate in pageantry, but that’s not leadership. In light of the past weeks events it might be a good opportunity to examine what is effective or appropriate rhetoric and what we as a society deem unacceptable.”
That is a sentiment that has grown virally, among the masses, much to Colla’s surprise. Offering free versions of the posters available for download, Colla has watched his message resonate with people looking for ways to more accurately sum up the scope of their feelings.
You either will agree with Colla’s message, or you won’t. What’s important, is the message and power of timely street art. It is perhaps the most free form of creative expression within our society. We are always in awe of how many people see street art. Just remember to look- it’s the sentiment of the people. To quote Banksy, “A wall is a very big weapon. It’s one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with.”
– by Lyrica Glory for Warholian.com
To find out more about Eddie Colla, visit his website here: