Free Humanity: Street Artist

   

Free Humanity

Seen all over Los Angeles, find out more about street artist FREE HUMANITY, who appears in our film.  He uses Star Wars imagery in his social issue artwork as well as Buddhist themes.

He is another artist appearing in the new street art book Where Else But the Streets, available only through our Kickstarter Campaign.

 

 

 

He had me at "Political Star Wars Street Art."

From lotus flowers to veiled women, Free Humanity has been getting up all over Los Angeles for years now. Pastes, stencils, installation pieces, Free runs the gamut in his artistic arsenal of urban utensils used in applying his artwork all over. Though his work appears in fine art galleries, he largely relies on a street art palate of spray paint, stenciling over his cut out designs, finished with brushwork.

But of course, in art, it's ultimately not about your techniques as much as it is what you are trying to say. And Free has plenty to say. From Monsanto to drones, from Obama the Besieged to Obama the War Criminal, Free Humanity's artwork is intensely political, while fueled by Buddhist principles of egalitarian selflessness.

Over the course of making my documentary PAY 2 PLAY, I sought to follow individuals who were using their voice however they could to speak out about the crisis of corporate influence in America today. My exploration was rooted in the disastrous Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court, which granted the proxy of corporate personhood the Constitutional right to flood our elections with outside spending, under the guise of "free speech."

But I started to notice things here in Los Angeles that seemed to connect with the stories I was following in D.C. and Ohio. Corporate speech wasn't some abstract form of paid communications during elections. It's advertising. Particularly when corporate speech takes the form of outdoor advertising, the bombardment of products and mandated beauty takes a toll on the psyche. It's not uncommon to secretly wish to respond to this environment somehow.

That's why I was so drawn to find out more about Free Humanity, and how he managed to get his Star Wars themed political messages up all over the city without getting incarcerated.

After time and patience, Free granted me an interview and let me go out with him at night while he worked. The resulting footage appears in PAY 2 PLAY in a pivotal context about the double standards enjoyed by corporate personhood.

Following is an excerpt of my interview with Free Humanity, which appears in my book Where Else But The Streets, a photo journal of the street artists I documented while making this film. This new short documentary depicts Free Humanity on his own, how he typically rolls.

FREE HUMANITY:

I don't think I've ever been part of society. I think growing up in America, there's not much for the youth. This generation doesn't have much. And we're all looking for something -- something good, something meaningful to do, something worthwhile. And I guess I've been trying to do that my whole life, and I guess the easiest way to do it was put my art up illegally to represent my perspective. And I think it's changed my life and hopefully made people think about something, whatever it be, or maybe make them smile hopefully. I think that's very -- most important.

Basically what I'm trying to do is steal back the humanity that's been stolen from social manipulation and plant positive seeds through art and consciousness.

Should street art be considered a crime? I think that goes back to almost this age old question, like who owns the public space? Who's to say that a corporation that has millions of dollars can take over the skies, take over the skylines....And let's say if you try to put up a piece of art you might go to jail for what you feel might be beautifying the city.

The public space has been turned into a corporate advertising canvas. So you have these millionaire marketers that get paid millions of dollars to try to make people feel insecure that they need to buy a certain car, look a certain way, have a certain pair of shoes in order to fit into society.

The public space has been turned into a corporate advertising canvas. So you have these millionaire marketers that get paid millions of dollars to try to make people feel insecure that they need to buy a certain car, look a certain way, have a certain pair of shoes in order to fit into society.

Street artists are trying to plant a certain seed out in society that isn't there at the moment with art, and seizing the opportunity of doing it illegally -- even though they might get arrested, even though they might be thrown in jail -- to share a message with the public that isn't out there at the moment. And I think putting your art on the streets is key. It's the biggest gallery in the world.

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