The virtual Unity Artwalk is the response of seven cities in the greater Phoenix area to the pandemic situation, which has meant that many MLK events had to be cancelled. The Millet House is pleased to be able to participate along with many other fine artists and institutions. Our portion of the virtual Unity Artwalk is entitled, “Imagine: What Keeps Us From Unity?” Below are the pieces that artist Jarel Aubel has brought to this show.
Jared Aubel (b. 1980) is a contemporary painter who mixes classic painting techniques with elements of Pop Surrealism, Lowbrow, and street-art. Educated at Arizona State University, Aubel graduated with a bachelor degree in fine arts, with specialty in sculpture. The unique diversified course study at ASU allowed Aubel to experiment with multiple artistic mediums and techniques, leading to his skillful mash-up style of old and new, high and low. His content is usually inspired by lived experiences, night life, and eccentricities of modern society. Clever jokes and visual puns are created by layering elements of nostalgic pop culture, symbolic icons of religion and war and modern fears of the American lifestyle. Aubel has exhibited work in the gallery setting, sticker art on the street, and gained an international following for his prints through his website.
I have always made art to create a reaction. My aim is to charm you with witty, twisted, and sometimes nostalgic narratives that both celebrate and satirize contemporary culture. My work is open to interpretation but often contains a joke or visual pun that inspired me, and viewers join the experience when they read the layered elements together and get the joke.Influenced by the genre-bending styles of Pop Surrealism and the Low Brow art movement, my work blends elements from pop culture, symbolic icons of religion and war, and modern fears of the American lifestyle. In addition to mixing concepts and imagery, my work mixes classical oil painting techniques with a wide variety of media: stencils and spray-paint, drawing, acrylic paint and found objects. As a thrift-store-loving child of the 80s, I often incorporate vintage finds in surprising ways, such as creating the backgrounds of many paintings by using lace tablecloths as stencils for spray-paint. My audience has grown through gallery shows, a growing international audience for my print sales online, and as stickers on the street. Join my debauched brain in this artistic journey, where the only rule is “don’t take life too seriously or you’ll never get out alive.”
IT WAS ALL A DREAM (DREAM BIG) • Spray paint, acrylic and oil on wood panel • 24″ by 30″
I painted this piece a few years ago. The idea is to show the juxtaposition of Martin Luther King and Notorious Big (biggie smalls). It started with the comparison and similarities of their uses of the Dr. King’s “I have a dream” speech and the beginning verse of Notorious Big’s song Juicy, “It was all a dream, I use to read word up magazine”. It’s a fun mash up of the two icons but also carries a heavy racial injustice meaning because they both had their life struggles and used their voice to combat it. Unfortunately we are still dealing with these issues today.
THE USUAL SUSPECTS • Acrylic and oil on wood panel • 24″ by 36″ Dumbo is one of my all time favorite movies. I love the black crow characters in this film however they are very ‘black’. This movie was created in 1941 when sadly racism was much more acceptable. I had read that Walt Disney was a anti-semite, misogynist, and racist so I painted these character in a police lineup to convey the racial profiling that African Americans have dealt with over the years.
MR. ROGERS HOOD LIFE • oil, acrylic, and spray paint on wood panel • 18″ by 24″
This piece is one in my “knuckle tattoo” series. Mr. Rogers is known for his children’s tv show “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” on PBS. He was an Icon that helped shape the mind and hearts of children all over the world. He was also know for treating everyone as equals. In 1969 there was an episode where Mr. Rogers took a stand against racial inequality when he invited the black police officer to cool off his feet in the pool with him. During this time there was a social injustice and Blacks were not being allowed to swim in public pools with whites. I love Fred Rogers for this along with all the other kindness and morals he taught over the years. I think we could all use some of Mr. Rogers advice and be more neighborly towards each other.
MANIFEST EQUALITY • oil, acrylic, and spray paint on wood panel • 30″ by 30″
I created this painting for a “MANIFEST EQUALITY” national art contest by artist Shepard Fairey and obey giant. The call was to create artwork reflecting the themes of equality, justice, respect, unity, civil rights, and love. Unfortunately my piece was not chosen for the show but I love how my painting turned out and what it represents.
EQUALITY • acrylic on canvas • 20″ by 30″
Arizona can be a hard state to live in and has made some national news with their extremely poor laws by its radically right wing government. I created this piece when Arizona passed a law that allowed business owners the right to discriminate and refuse service to gay, lesbian or anyone in the LGBTQ community. I have many gay and lesbian friends and I couldn’t believe that a law like this was passed in our day and age. It goes to show you the importance of voting and electing open minded, caring, empathetic politicians into office that care about the rights and well being of everyone.