We need to change our ‘Distorted Perception’
Ignorance is a scary thing. People fear what they don’t understand and this behavior hinders social growth as a whole. As I was reading through the comments of the article written about the mural being defaced, I realized how far this really reaches. Some people are so quick to judge the character of a person who paints in a graffiti/street art style, just because they think they represent a thug/gang mentality.
This shear argument was the whole premise of ‘The Distorted Perception’ when i started the original project back in 2007. I quickly realized this when I went to college that because I have a hard New York accent, have a controversial artistic style, unlike many of the ‘safe’ styles of many of my classmates. Originally some of my teachers were almost intimidated by me because i came across tough and ‘gruff’ as one put it. Maybe thats just because I live in NYC and if your not, well you won’t survive. It took time but every professor quickly recognized that they’re pre conceived notion, or as i now phrased it ‘Distorted Perception’ was completely innacurate of my actual character. Not only do I still talk to most of my professors years after graduating, but they invite me back every semester to teach a seminar on graffiti and street art, and the basics of using spray paint. After years of being shunned for the medium of spraypaint, i’m now they’re resident expert. Ironic twist in my opinion. I became ‘The Distorted Perception’ of a preconceived notion of street art, which is why it’s the name of my blog portfolio.
It seems to be getting more acceptable these days, and commercially exploited at the same time. But comments by small minded towns people really reflect a demographic of ‘hate what you don’t understand’. Not only do i know most of the artists personally, but i look up to a lot of them for inspiration. They’re some of the nicest guys ever that would take their shirt of their backs for you. As a younger artist, most of them being 10+ years older than me, they have shown me nothing but love and shared techniques to help me grow as an artist.
Joe Iurato, who’s hooded character was the target of the roller wielding vigilante somes it up great.
One last bit about the mural:
For those of you who may not know, it was defaced last week. Someone took a paint roller to the hoodie. I don’t care to speculate about who may have done it and why – it doesn’t really matter. It’s public art and shit happens. Needless to say it came back to being news. Some folks have questions and I needed to get something off my chest. I want to share the only statement I made to the press regarding my feelings about it all:
“I’m not surprised or angered by the act of an individual who wielded a paint roller to our mural in a show of disapproval. I’ve accepted long ago that public art is nothing more than a fleeting moment in time; creating it is like writing your thoughts in the sand. Like it or not, while physicality is only temporary, its presence is not as easily erased.
What upsets me is the ignorant, classless chatter that has surrounded the mural since it was revealed back in March. Rather than formulate opinions based solely on the art, many have made it a point to look beyond the dabs of color and draw conclusions as to what kind of people we, the artists, are and what we represent. A recent comment, made by NJ.com user reb3504, does a good job in summing up my sentiments. “The owner of the building ‘supported’ it because the so-called artists would’ve likely paid him a visit with bats and chains if he disagreed,” reads the post (cited ‘Trayvon Mural Defaced in Elmwood Park’). And this is not a unique statement. It seems to be a reoccurring theme amongst those who strongly disagree with either the message of the mural or the graffiti style it was created in.
We have been labeled as low lives, thugs, and vandals based on preconceived notion, not on fact. Some have even called for our prosecution after it had been well documented to be a sanctioned wall, painted with the owner’s permission and at his request. These stones have been cast and judgments passed without merits. And it saddens me to think this irrational thinking is alive and well far beyond the reaches of our mural. I believe the higher up the chain we we go, the more dangerous these thought patterns become. The wrong person with a good persuasive speech can lead millions into a senseless war.
I’m hoping the future is full of progressive, open-minded, and informed thinkers; people who will question everything, assume nothing, and tear down the foundation of hate instead of build upon it. The world can’t flourish and thrive if it’s oppressed by ignorance and fear. We need to put the damage in reverse if we want our children to move forward peacefully, and with mutual respect and understanding of one another. Otherwise, our own existence will soon be nothing more than a few words written in the sand. – Sincerely, Joe Iurato ”
If your interested in viewing some of the comments of hate from people who lack the mental capacity to understand anything past a Thomas Kinkade painting, heres the link.
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