Make Art Not War

Photography combines skill and chance in pretty equal portions. The more you know your equipment and the situation the better the opportunity becomes for the chance part. That could probably sum up life in general. Depending on the level of skill you have to do one thing or another, the chances are better for you to mitigate the things that can go wrong! Of all the things I thought I might be thinking about at the new year, World War III was not one of them. Yet, here I am in March 2022 saying yet again, #MakeArtNotWar. Make Art Not War first original graphical artwork was created by Patrick Brill aka Bob and Roberta Smith in 1997. This was followed up with a now famous poster by Shepard Farley in 2014. He has just now released an NFT of it in support of the Ukrainian people. i think war is stupid at best and now in the 2000's totally archaic and unnecessary. Yet here we are at the mercy of a bully with a nuclear arsenal. One false move with this whack job (Putin) and its over for all of us.



Instead lets Make Art Not War! All profits from the sale of my photography through this website will be contributed entirely to the Ukrainian people from now until June 2022. I am currently investigating the best NGO to contribute to. I'm currently leaning towards the UN Refugee Agency because the need there is so obvious. Or maybe, the International Rescue Committee as they are on the ground in Poland already. More research this week! Together we can make a difference for the people of Ukraine. It's photos like this one, "Sunset Swirl," that bring me so much personal peace and joy. I have visited this micro outcropping of rock many times. Most of the time it is either high and dry or completely awash and underwater. In fact, one of my SeaDreams images is taken of them when I couldn't get the right conditions for a traditional shot! But in this particular session I actually was able to get several shots with this one being what I feel is the best representation of the scene and mood. Yes, I've been back many times since this session to try and replicate or continue what I started. So far, no such luck! I was going to call this blog post, "One in a Million," before the invasion of Ukraine began. I've spent the past two weeks trying to figure out how I can help and was browsing through prospective photos that could be a candidate to be the next piece of art hung here in my gallery. I do not take this regular unveiling lightly that I do with my photography. There are many photos who want to be here! But now, with the atrocities being committed by the Russians against Ukraine I want to be a part of the solution by offering my art, including this new photo, to help raise funds for them. It makes me feel less helpless!

I grew up during the Vietnam war. But as I became aware of what was going on as a teenager I was appalled at what we were doing there. The only reason I was not at Kent State on that fateful day was that the State Patrol turned my friend and I around. I was 15. I protested right through my 17th birthday when my lottery number for the army draft came in at 245. I would not be going to Vietnam unless i wanted to. The draft ended then. Nixon thought if he stopped drafting affluent white kids like me, we would all lose interest in protesting. Boy was he wrong. He resigned. The Vietnam war "ended" the next year complete with a made for teevee retreat et al... But America's proclivity to promote war in the name of democracy has continued unabated my entire life. Five major wars since WW2; Korea, Vietnam, Big Bush war, little Bush war and a collective, self imposed destruction at Afghanistan. At this same time (50 years) we have seen the infrastructure in the nation look more and more like a third world situation, near total abandonment of the education and health services for the populace, all the while the MIC (military industrial complex) takes all the money that could go towards doing good things instead of really bad things. Frankly I'm sick of it. I'm also very scared. One wrong move by any number of players could create the domino effect of a nuclear war. It's very real.



The 70's were my coming of age; from 15-25. So many protest songs to choose from too. I thought it would be easy. After listening to about twenty here today while writing this; Gil Scott Heron, "The Revolution will Not Be Televised", Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On," Neil Young, "Ohio," I could go on and on... This moment began with my excitement to bring you this soothing photograph. It truly is one of my most favorite images. But the songs also have personal meaning to me like songs do for you too. Not only am I sad and fearful for the people of Ukraine and all people of the planet. I am angry and frustrated. To think that we could drop back even further into chaos, hate and still more madness with the next vote is nearly too much to take. It's why I settled on this particular song by John Lennon. The beginning of the 70's saw Altamont, which definitely signaled the end of the 60's on December, 6, 1969. The end of the 70's culminated with Johns' murder in December of 1980. Is it ironic to anyone else that the country is split 50/50 between people who want to see nothing more than peace, love and progress while the other 50% are bent on keeping hate, bigotry and ignorance at the forefront? It's what made the two events I've highlighted here, happen. The scenario repeats itself over and over again defining the word; insanity.

I'm sorry if this post has become a downer but it can't be something we do not talk about or we seal our fate. The point here is that my hope is that art can heal pain and provide peace and joy. Make Art Not War is as poignant today as Make Love Not war was in 1965. If you are able to participate in my offer to give all profits to the people of Ukraine from the purchase of this or any photo in my gallery, now through June 2022, we are stronger together. It's a win-win-win and that doesn't get any better!