Last week I had the pleasure of being featured in the East Bay Express's first "Best Of The EastBay : People Issue" edition for 2016. I was contacted by EBX writer, Sarah Burke, who wanted to do a feature on me for the following issue of the East Bay Express. It wasnt until she explained to me that I realized it was for the "Best Of The East Bay: The People Issue" edition which was unexpected. Every time I do an interview describing the history of my project, I realize so much has happened in regards to my project and also the overall matter of police terrorism on black and brown bodies since I began this work at the beginning of 2014. It amazes me how far and wide these images have been shown around the world starting from the production of every single portrait on my computer. "Justice For Our Live"s is a project that has had minimal financial support but given the accessibility of these designs online has allowed members of the community to freely use these images as a tool to push these conversations and to shape our ideas towards racism and prejudice in the justice system. There are so many other movers and shakers out here in The East Bay that deserve recognition like this but its an honor to be considered "Best Of the East Bay" by EBX. Thank You!
A key aspect of this art project is the way in which it can be used as street art beyond its typical use during public demonstrations. Using the streets as a frontier for disseminating propaganda is critical in a society that enforces the censorship of content that challenges the white supremacist power structure. Our mainstream media has not and never will depict a proper narrative of marginalized people, especially black and brown folks. So along with sharing these designs on social media, at demonstrations, in the classrooms or in art galleries, its imperative that our public space also serves us as a means of sharing information allowing us to be aware of the dangers of police terrorism in our community.
The installations pictured below where a an undertaking having to piece together each portrait. I started off with splitting the design into four within an 8.5x11 dimension. I printed each on colored paper using10 colors from hot to cold tones. I had the prints cut into 4 halves, with glues I pieced them together row buy row in a pattern that reflects a color spectrum. The larger portraits on each side (Luis Go'ngora Pat / Alex Nieto) where printed large scale to measure up to the colored arrangement on each side and then painted in the portraits. Lastly, went out to a location and wheat pasted this installation on a black wall that wasnt serving any significant purpose.
The exact same thing can be done with the .pdf files I have available on this website of each individual. Do me up show me how creative you can get in your city that will force viewers to take an extra look of who we want justice for and the movement we support #blacklivesmatter
Today marks 3 years since the police killing of Tyrone West in Baltimore.
Tyrone West, 44, died after a struggle with Baltimore police officers on July 18, 2013 during a traffic stop. He was profiled and pulled for the usual reasoning of suspicious activity. Based on eye witness accounts he was beaten to death by the officers during a struggle when he resisted arrest. One witness told investigators that police officers pulled West out of his car "by his dreads and started beating him with batons and maced him, he got up and called for help and the cops knocked him over again and beat him to death, then tried to bring him back." Tyrone was killed almost a week after the acquittal of George Zimmerman on July 13 and two years before the killing of Freddie Gray while in custody by Baltimore police. His sister, Tawanda Jones has been holding weekly vigils, West Wednesdays, every week since her brother's killing. Its been 1008 days and there is still no justice for Tyrone West.
This piece was commissioned by Greenpants/Luminous Intervention based in Baltimore including fellow artist/activist Ada Pinkston who have been projecting on city walls, amongst other visuals, images of people whose deaths have inspired the Black Lives Matter movement. Download & SHARE this image at www.justiceforourlives.com/tyronewest
Luis Gongora Pat, a victim of the latest SFPD killing on April 7th, was a 45 year old Yucatec Mayan man who was homeless in San Francisco. Video survelance shows police shooting Gongora Pat about 30 seconds after they arrived at the scene in which he was allegedly waving a knife although eye witness said he was not posing a threat to anyone. He did not speak english which would of been the reason he did not understand orders from officers to to drop the knife let alone the short amount of time he was allowed to do so. His family was been unable to carry out a proper burial for him. He was unjustly murdered by SFPD gangsters and his body has been wrongfully treated and delayed of his sacred burial ceremony according to his ancestral tradition. He becomes yet another victim of police brutality by way of gentrification by way of capitalism by way of colonization that continues to affect indigenous peoples on both sides of the border. Luis Gongora Pat was a father, hard worker, futbal player and a loving friend. This design was commissioned byAdriana Camarena with the Justice For Alex Nieto coalition. To download and SHARE go towww.justiceforourlives.com/luis-gongora-pat
By Michael Johnson
Posted April 26, 2016 11:00 am
Today (Monday at 1 p.m.) I happened along just in time to meet Oree Originol, the artist who created the now iconic, much shared, and much bitten art posters honoring the lives of unarmed black and brown people who have died by way of police violence. He was hanging his work on the “free speech” wall on Valencia Street. Great to meet the man who created these well known artworks. Here is a piece from KALW on the Oakland-based artist.
Click here to read the article http://missionlocal.org/2016/04/oree-originol-on-valencia-street/
By Jonah Owen Lamb on April 17, 2016 1:00 am
Mario Woods. Alex Nieto. Oscar Grant. Michael Brown.
The names go on.
The portraits can be found everywhere: plastered on city walls, printed on T-shirts and in the hands of activists at various meetings and protests. The clean, thick black lines describe each face, turning them into something more than reproductions of the dead.
From Baltimore to the Bayview, effigies of the dead are not unusual at Black Lives Matter protests. But one local man’s images in particular have become commonplace.
Oree Originol began the project Justice for Our Lives in 2014 after he visited an Oscar Grant memorial at the Fruitvale BART station. Grant was fatally shot at the station on Jan. 1, 2009 by a BART police officer who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
How Oree Originol is pursuing justice for Alex Nieto through his art.
Take This Hammer artist Oree Originol tells YBCA how his #JusticeForOurLives portrait series became a ubiquitous visual symbol and tool in the movement against police violence.
Take This Hammer: Art + Media Activism from the Bay Area is on view now at YBCA:http://ybca.org/take-this-hammer #TakeThisHammer
Kayden Clarke was a 24 year old transgender man who struggled with Aspergers syndrome and other mental issues. He was shot and killed by Mesa Police after they responded to a call about a suicidal person. He had been going through tough times dealing with not being able to transition gender because doctors and therapists wanted to “fix” his Asperger’s before he could start testosterone treatment. A close friend to Kayden received a worrying call from an animal seller about him looking for a place for Samson, his dog. Being aware of his previous attempts of suicide, she decided to call the police to come over to check up on her friend. After police forced the friend to step away from Kayden when they arrived, she recalls, it took about 2 minutes before they opened fire on him as she was being escorted outside the house by another officer. Officers claim they felt "threatened" when he "lunged" at them with a knife instead of attempting other ways to subdue him. To download and SHARE visit www.justiceforourlives.com/kayden-clarke
On October 12, 2012 Corey Kanosh, a 35 year old father and member of the Paiute tribe of Utah was shot and killed by Millard County Sheriff Deputy Dale Josse. His mother called police because she was concerned of him riding in her car and drinking alcohol with his best friend Dana Harnes. She was in fear of them being in an accident and hurting someone they know in their small community. After speaking with the sheriff's deputy, authorities where then alerted that he was searching for armed suspects with a stolen vehicle. Harnes, who was driving the vehicle, and Kanosh where on their way back to the reservation when police attempted to pull them over. Harnes drove away past the reservation into off-road terrain until they hit the rocks and where stuck. Harnes remembers running out the car, west towards the reservation and Kanosh ran east, towards the mountains. “I was running and fell, and I heard the cop talking to Corey, and then the ground disappeared beneath me and I ended up in a ravine. I came up on the other side and heard two guns shots, and then I heard Corey scream" His constitutional rights where also violated by the officers neglecting to provide medical attention after he was shot. Both men where unarmed. Corey Kanosh was well known for his traditional Native American artwork. He was also a champion traditional dancer and a Paiute “Salt Song” singer who performed traditional songs for those who had passed away. Download and SHARE this image www.justiceforourlives.com/corey-kanosh