Friday, May 16, 2014

Shepard Fairey Empire State of Mind Print Release

Obey Giant will be releasing Shepard Fairey's newest print Empire State of Mind next week. Shepard talks about the idea behind the design.

This explanation of my Empire State of Mind print may sound familiar, because it shares the same theme with my Oil & Gas Building print. The print is inspired by, but not based on, the Empire State Building.
Industrial power has been a point of pride in America since the early 20th century, and many impressively iconic, if monolithic, architectural landmarks have been erected as symbols of industrial and American dominance. The Chrysler building, the General Electric building, the Sears Tower, and the Empire State Building come to mind. Dominant industrial forces may build great monuments to their success, but those physical manifestations of their power and ego often correlate to the dangerously disproportionate influence they have on politics and policy. America has had an empire state of mind for the last 100 plus years, but the dangers of thinking the world is ours to dominate and plunder are staring us in the face. The flame on top of this building is not a torch of glory, but a fire of reckless over-consumption This Empire State of Mind print is about the volatility of giving an industry with too much power the ability to manipulate politics in its favor despite the dangers to the environment and climate change. The situation is going to blow up in our faces metaphorically, and already has for too many people literally as well (remember the BP explosion and spill?). A lot of people freaked out that the Obama administration lost taxpayers about $600 million by investing in Solyndra, a solar panel company developing a new technology, which went bankrupt. However, few people seem upset that the U.S. government gives approximately $25 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to the highly profitable oil and gas industries. The Solyndra investment did not work out, but the need to fund new, renewable technologies, should be obvious when the rapidly depleting oil and gas sources become more difficult and dangerous to extract each passing day. The only reason the government subsidies are so disproportionate is because of the massive power the dying oil and gas industry still has.

The Oil & Gas industry, which includes multi-national and independent oil and gas producers and refiners, natural gas pipeline companies, gasoline service stations and fuel oil dealers, has long enjoyed a history of strong influence in Washington. Individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties since the 1990 election cycle, 75 percent of which has gone to Republicans.

Though oil is finite, our reliance on it is so extreme that the power wielded by those who control oil is virtually unlimited. Oil and gas companies and the car manufacturers who profit heavily from gas powered engines used their power and influence to overturn a zero emissions law in the state of California, effectively delaying electric cars arriving on the market accessibly for 10 plus years. It is dangerous for an industry to have that much power.

We need to cultivate renewable alternatives, and for the sake of the future, we need to push the government to support the developers of new technologies rather than subsidizing old fossil fuel models moving toward obsolescence.

Check out this article on the political influence of the Oil & Gas industry -

Empire State of Mind is an 18 x 24 inch screen print.  Signed and numbered edition of 450.
Release date: May 20, 2014 at a random time in PRINTS.

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