The more I see and the more I go into the commercial world of advertising, the more I understand how unsustainable it is, the less I feel enthusiastic about it. I don't want to waste the short time I have here trying to sell something that often only benefits a select and chosen few... That's not the primary thing I want to be remembered for. It's not to call it a wash and say that any advertising is horrible... but we are in a tailspin of over-saturation. It's just not where my heart is.
It’s not about changing the world, it’s about being authentic in the work that I make. It's about doing what I think is important, instead of listening to this giant megaphone that is preaching down from heaven, and every TV channel, and every corner of the internet.
A lot of that for me has been turning down clients that I can’t work with in good conscience. It kills my conscience to do projects with companies that deprive people of their water resources, or attack labor union leaders, or proliferate the illusion of luxury as a viable route to satisfaction.
It's easy to talk about, but it's really hard for me to make the decision to turn down a paycheck. It’s hard to do work that you think is powerful and meaningful in a landscape that celebrates apolitical messages that neutrally and safely call for more of the same. Doing activist work, making political art is looked down on often, but I'm doing my best to have courage in being more blatantly confrontational when the time calls for that.
It's overwhelming to live like that. That's why it's important for me to try and keep a balance by focusing also on the good parts of this world, spotlighting things that might be ignored and are really beautiful about life. There are a lot of good things out there too, you just have to get out of your comfort zone and find them. Helen Keller says security is mostly a myth, it doesn't exist in nature... and anyway that's the funniest part about life, no one gets out alive.
For the past while, I haven’t really lived anywhere, I don't have a comfortable home to get back to. Actually, right now, I'm doing this interview during a motorcycling trip across the country. Traveling has shown me the things that you can do with little or no money. There's something desirable past the lures of career and comfort that end up feeling isolating and lonely.
Traveling is a very good metaphor of life actually. You can go to a million different places, but it’s hard to really step out of your comfort zone to get somewhere where you’re going to see something that really moves you. Those are the things I want to celebrate with my art.
The good parts in a really messed up world are really hard to find, but it’s worth going to the far reaches of the world to find them.
Engaged artist and traveler.
Engaged illustration protesting against new oil drillings in Michigan. Designed by Pat Perry in January 2014.