Los Angeles based artist Free Humanity has been carving a new sense of public consciousness and political awareness on the streets of Tinseltown. Pirating iconic imagery and jolting it into the modern paradigm he uses both the classic and the pop to frame his striking statements about the pain and hypocrisy that society wreaks on individuals. We spoke to him
How long you been actively placing art on the streets and what first motivated you to take direct action?
I’ve been inspired by art in the streets since I was 8 and starting taking the bus to skate spots, but this year is when the opportunity to blast the Free Humanity idea came into being. My motivation comes from walking through the streets of L.A the past year and a half along with all my readings on Buddhists teachings and the interconnecting socio-economic- politic climate that I have grown up in and still see to this day.
Why did you choose the paste up poster format?
I like a lot of mediums but for the streets, stencils and paste ups offer the biggest message in a artistic way without having to spend hours at one spot hand painting or using spray cans on a wall an because everything is impermanent
Who were your mentors when you first started?
The streets, My skateboard. Siddhartha Gautama, Thich Nhat Hahn.
This piece is my commentary on the 30,000 Troop escalation in Iraq as Obama was receiving the Noble Peace Prize – a very sad irony in my eyes – War Begets War. There is a Black Power Fist holding a U.S missile on the beret symbolizing the struggle of class and power and the grasp the wealthy have on the global war machine. There is also the 4 petal lotus flower crossed with the Obama campaign logo, and the 4 Petal lotus flower is based on the Buddhist teachings of the 4 noble truths
Are you on a mission to free humanity?
No just on a mission to free myself and hopefully plant seeds in the subconscious minds of all of us that have been poisoned from corporate media advertising, religious indoctrination, separation, discrimination, and the other casualties of capitalism.The mind is a dirt field, the dirt being our sub-conscious and the ground above being our conscious. Our fields have been invaded by seeds that we consume with our eye,s ears and mouths that have turned to weeds that create craving attachment and suffering. Art counters this making new ideas possible that weren’t there before by planting seeds of beautiful flowers in the dirt field which in place kill of the weeds in our minds.
Do you feel insulted when someone tags your posters?
Not if its done well.
At first no. My boy Alec the Monopoly man inspired that and my friend Dave Soto is where I got the Pixel style from.Color has the power to evoke emotion and change thought direction so all my work is hand painted now or stenciled with some color.
You’ve worked with London artists T.wat / Leeks, how important are international collaborations to you?
Very important – that’s is where its at! It changes the atmosphere and I’d actually like to thank T.wat right now. Thanks mate Cheers
What connection are you making between rap / rock artists and Free Humanity?
I just want people to remember that Legends Never Die, Guru from Gang Starr, Biggie, Dennis Hopper. and all the people that have made marks in the minds of us all. People that have tried to light the way in the darkness
No response so far.
Traditional graffiti artists paint walls for other graffiti artists to appreciate their craft, who are you trying to reach?
I make different images for people from all walks of life from the hoodie kids and the orthodox Jewish kids in Hollywood to my mom and grandma
Do you have a centralised message or do you just shoot from the hip?
I do have a centralized message – we all suffer. let’s alleviate it. Free Humanity
More art and more collaborations
Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Enjoy life and be happy – our time here is very precious