Creator of May Day Monopoly board mixes art and activism in upcoming film

By Andrew Lopez
Blogdowntown
Published: Monday, May 07, 2012, at 08:40AM
Photo by Hayley Fox / KPCC

John Wellington Ennis designed the giant Monopoly board as his finale for his forthcoming documentary, “Pay 2 Play.”

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES —

The climax of John Wellington Ennis’ upcoming documentary “Pay 2 Play” ends with the unveiling of a giant Monopoly board at the intersection of 6th Street and Broadway during last Tuesday’s May Day march in Downtown.

Ennis, 39, is quick to not take all the credit for the success of the work. It took street artist Teacher five days to fully realize and create Ennis’ idea for the piece.

Teacher is insanely handy and he just attacked it, Ennis said.

While exploring the “pay-to-play” system in politics, Ennis said he discovered that politicians weren’t only rewarding donors once in office, they were rewarding donors with government money. Money that belongs to the people, Ennis said.

But money isn’t the only problem with the system, he added.

“Besides the attack ads and tabloid TV news and negligent newspapers, you’ll see that there’s larger issues like redistricting and voter suppression and election fraud,” Ennis told Blogdowntown on May Day. “All of these things go into keeping the normal citizens’ voice from our political process.”

Ennis wanted to present the “really heavy, dry issue” of campaign finance in a way that would excite a younger generation. In 2009, Ennis began documenting political street artists like Alec Monopoly while addressing issues such as excessive campaign funding and its damaging effect on the democratic system.

He hopes his film will trigger a reaction and discussion from the public in the election year. The impact an individual can make cannot be discounted, he said.

Through his journey, Ennis has himself found a passion in street art. There’s blogs and documentaries, he said, but “sometimes you just got to get something out.”

A Kickstarter campaign was set up in hopes of raising $50,000. Ennis said he expects to have the documentary completed in about 4 months.

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