I grew up in Los Angeles during the 1980s with a single mom on welfare in the seedy backlots of Hollywood’s money machine. I was meant to be a statistic, but graffiti art saved my life. Reaganomics was driving the depression and environmental degradation at the time, spawning a massive youth empowerment movement of free critical thought; half of it was fueled by creativity while the other half was enraged by the lack of accountability this corrupt system had to offer. From gangs and graffiti writers to tagbangers and skaters, underground hip-hoppers and punkers, we were latchkey kids in pursuit of pure vandalism and adventure, looking to get away with it. Simply put, we were dissatisfied souls and graffiti was our voice.
Being a radical teenager attracted to constant trouble, if not for psychedelics in the 1990s I would’ve lost my mind. It gave me a pass to see deeper into the mainframe of the physical illusion of reality and allowed these ideas to become the subject matter in my art. Early on I saw demons in authority figures and slaves in the working class. It was a kind of “Prison Planet” moment of realization. I made it my mission to critique this circus in hopes to help others see through the bullshit lies and propaganda of big government. Works like that of renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch inspired me to paint these visions as I experienced them on the streets.
My works became very popular with the counterculture that was penetrating the look and feel of our famed Melrose alleyways and Avenue, as well found mass appeal abroad in Tokyo and beyond. But this all came to a screeching halt on September 11, 2001, when our world changed overnight, creating an Orwellian nightmare for anyone who wanted to speak freely.
For me this was a kind of revelation that vindicated much of what my work, some of it prophetic, had illustrated up until that point. But this was no time for creating art that spoke truth to power, and so the censorship I experienced was extreme. I personally suffered a decade of disassociation and abandonment from many patrons and peers — I was dropped from magazines, and some galleries wouldn’t touch me.
Of course the grand irony is that what was previously deemed conspiracy has now been proven true. So while for some my work was dangerous, others found their reflection in it and a new subculture was forming. It wasn’t until the 2008 financial collapse and my participation in the Occupy L.A. protests that I learned about the Bitcoin network and subculture; I then began studying its radical philosophical substructure, learning for the first time the real history of fiat money and what the U.S. dollar actually represents.
Money has always been my greatest conflict as an artist because creating good art requires that you care deeply about what you create, even if it offends the public or the would-be collector. For me, the pursuit of truth in doing art was in constant opposition to the economic system underpinning its proper functioning. At times I grin and bear it; it’s a struggle to endurethe self-deprecating ritual of gaining and losing unbacked fiat currencies that continue to feed the beast of the U.S. military and pointless foriegn policy. This is where many artists find complacency and apathy as they acquiesce to the mundane. For it is said that we are taught what to think, not how to think, and now the byproduct of this has its roots in complacency and it is what they teach in government indoctrination camps manufacturing homogenized consent. What is required is the radical dissociation from ideas that have become obsolete and no longer serve their purpose.
Bitcoin embodies this revolution — it is the most important one of our time with a currency I can get behind, offering a new alternative economy based on non confiscatable sound money principles. It liberated me as an artist and in many ways, like graffiti art, saved my life a second time by empowering me to continue on creating conscious art for a community that reflects this same sentiment - Bitcoin is the new graffiti. Once you free yourself, you want to free others and in doing so art can be used as a psychic crowbar to the stubborn mind and is a commitment on a path you can’t come back from. It was time to take a strike at the system with my art in a new form and see how many heads I could awaken.
In October 2012 I traveled to London to paint a mural that would speak to the current condition of humanity. While on the flight I sketched out my designs for an iconic work inspired by my post-9/11 thinking on global politics and the economic slave system. Mayer Amschel Rothschild once said, “Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.” Using this as my ideological starting point, I chose to depict the likenesses of such early turn of the century ”robber barons,” specifically Jacob Rothschild, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Paul Warburg, as well Aleister Crowley who was a kind of philosophical guru to the ruling elite of that time and a well-known Satanist. These men and their dynasties, whom I believe don’t subscribe to any reasonable human code of morality, have put parameters around what our reality consists of; in doing so they are destroying our planet, indebting us in the trillions, profiting in the billions, while displacing millions and financing wars through illegal taxation. These wicked banksters have indeed been playing a game of Monopoly on the backs of the working class.
My mural evolved into a dark vision of an apocalyptic reality fueled by their greed, filling our skies with coal, nuclear and chemtrail pollution. It was situated rather poetically adjacent to “the City,” London’s financial center, perpetrators of these fractional reserve banking crimes against humanity that led to the collapse of the markets in 2008. It exploded throughout the liberal media and became the center of controversy and condemnation, not once but twice. In 2018, in the lead-up to the U.K. general elections the following year, self-serving politicians and their mainstream media puppets used my mural to conduct a ruthless smear campaign against then leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and myself. They dug up a comment Corbyn had made on my Facebook post in 2012 in defense of my mural’s removal based on grounds of free speech. Critics took liberty to weaponise my art and twist my words, conflating my anti-plutocartic message with a grossly false narrative as being anti-semitic, manipulative rhetoric and politricks designed to keep my mural from speaking the truth about the economic predicament we all find ourselves in.
The fact is that power concedes power to no one and is highly uncomfortable with free thought. This psychopathology implants nefarious notions into our subconsciousness and concocts divisive acts to keep us separated, fake news to keep us arguing, all while they continue to rob and pillage the earth. This is the world I painted, it is the world we live in now, and this dialogue is most important if we as a species are to make it to our next level of evolution.
This was a social media fight for my life that I do not wish upon anyone, but I’m glad it happened because it showed the world just how wacko the media, the politicians, and their financiers were becoming in their attempt to regain control over a society who is waking up. Since my mural’s creation in 2012 “Freedom for Humanity,” which I renamed “False Profits” in its later iterations, has been circulating as a powerful meme around the globe in its intended context.
Throughout my travels from Acapulco to Miami I find it continues to resonate with a generational movement of like-minded individuals existing under similar circumstances - anarchists, progressive radicals, as well many conservatives, libertarians, independents, free market entrepreneurs - people just seeking an alternative world without rulers and their unjust financial policies. The one common denominator that unanimously ties us all together is Bitcoin, there is only one.
Bitcoin gives us the answer to free ourselves from these statist shackles and tyrannical grip of the banking globalists and corporations ruling our world. It holds an electromagnetic power of attraction and compensation through our hard-earned proof of work that fills us with joy, stemming from the fact that we are not supporting other people’s conflicts.
Once you understand Bitcoin everything else becomes quite transparent. The illusion of our system and previous archetypes that have held position in our lives, holding back humanity from its evolution for most of our written history, these structures of society are completely corrupt and sick from the inside out. With this knowledge the cognitive dissonance dissolves and you awaken as a self-realized, self-responsible individual who is now in control of your autonomy, privacy and freedom, you hold the keys to your own destiny.
But no one is an island and the isle of love is uncharted. Therefore, we all need a destination, a goal, and each other to get there, and since finding this new community my life has changed course magnetically. I find my old 1990s mantra resurfacing again with new fire - if graffiti is the voice of the dissatisfied soul, and Bitcoin is the new graffiti, then Bitcoin is the voice of the dissatisfied soul and I am here to paint the revolution forward. PEACE, MEAR ONE
This is a guest post by MEAR ONE. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.