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Activist "Social Art" Is Not Art

Yesterday, I talked about the abuse of men and how it has to stop. What inspired me to write that article — aside from all the anti-male stuff that has infected our mainstream society — was a set of billboards that popped up around Manchester in the United Kingdom that displayed stereotypical feminist messaging about men.

(READ: The Abuse of Men Has to Stop)

The billboards were created by a man named Martin Firrell, an artist who uses his “art” to bring about the cliche result of “starting a conversation” and “raising awareness.”

As you can see from Firrell’s website, his “art” usually involves superimposing messages in impact font over a picture of something. He covers topics from masculinity, the LGBT community, and even socialism.

Other works include projecting the word “breasts” on a cathedral as well as the words “God is a concept” on another building.

To be fair, there a couple of billboards with positive messages about men, but for the most part, what you see it hard-left messages displayed.

What bothers me most about these messages isn’t the fact that many of them are ridiculous and promote shallow, immature concepts. What really bugs me is the fact that there are people out there who label this as “art.”

I realize art comes in many forms and are meant to convey messages, but what we’ve come to call “art” nowadays isn’t even really art. There’s no artistry to it. In fact, what Firrell is doing is essentially just created a lazy meme. There is no artistry to it. No real talent was developed and put into this. Firrell sat at his computer and spent an afternoon putting these together and getting some rube to throw them onto billboards.

I’m not an artist, and I can do that too. In fact, I did. It took me less than an hour to make these pictures that mock Firrell’s art.

As you can see, I flipped Firrell’s messaging on its head and made mine about women, and telling everyone not to get mad because it’s “just meant to start a conversation.”

Thing is, in reality, saying “all women are incapable” or “abuse power” is just throwing insults their way. Hiding behind the idea that it’s just meant to “start a conversation” isn’t doing society any good. It’s not starting conversations, it’s just starting fights and promoting an already nasty and pervasive stereotype.

Firrell isn’t some societal thought leader, he’s a coward. So is anyone else who creates this “art” that prompts feelings of socio-political talk or thought that’s meant to be divisive by nature with the excuse that it’s there to start a conversation. Sorry-not-sorry to tell Firrell and people like him this, but if that’s your goal, then what you’re creating isn’t “art,” it’s propaganda.

Art has been the vessel of messages for ages, but artistry must first go into it to make it art. Take a look at these images.

All of these creations, including the one at the bottom that displays an explosion of color, are art. It took some sort of practiced skill to make in order to create something that wows the eye. They tell a story or transport you somewhere else.

Just because “social art” initiates thought and spark conversations like actual art does, it doesn’t make it art. I can initiate thought and conversation by simply talking to you. I do it every day in my articles, but neither of us would classify my articles as “art.”

If I took the concepts I write and turned them into a story that would transport you into a different place then it would be art. Taking the concepts from my articles and turning them into short, bumper sticker length messages is not.

In a world where we have the Sistine Chapel, the statue of David, The Starry Night, and Napoleon Crossing the Alps, I can’t look at Firrell’s work and call it “art.” It’s a devolvement of what we consider to be great works born from talent and dedication. Calling lazy social messaging “art” is an insult to people who actually practice and refine their skills in order to create something that actually moves the soul.