April 25th marks an anniversary that many Flint, Michigan residents would rather forget. Three years ago the city of Flint switched the city’s water supply from the Great Lakes Water Authority to the highly corrosive Flint River. Over the ensuing three years, Flint residents would stage protests and aim to expose politicians responsible for the disastrous switch over. Along with the help of protests from Flint residents and the work of veteran news reporters like the Michigan ACLU’s Curt Guyette the Flint Water crisis was brought into the national spotlight. Three years later and not much has changed, find out more about the Flint Water Crisis on the Michigan ACLU and on Detroit Metro Times.
To mark the three year anniversary of the switch over, 1xRUN announces the first release in an ongoing print series with a portion of the proceeds going to The Flint Child Health & Development Fund of the Foundation for Flint and the Michigan ACLU. In the current climate we feel it is imperative that we encourage impartial and thorough investigative journalism in order to help inform the public and expose politicians and public officials taking advantage of the residents they have been elected to serve. Both 1xRUN and each artist in the series will be donating a portion of the proceeds from all print releases to the Michigan ACLU and The Flint Child Health & Development Fund of the Foundation of Flint.
For our first release we welcome in legendary political activist artist Robbie Conal who tackles Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in his signature style with No More Water. The Fire Next Time. Watch the Michigan ACLU’s comprehensive documentary below to find out more behind the Flint Water Crisis, and read on below to find out more behind Robbie Conal’s print to help us kick off the series. To donate directly head to the Michigan ACLU here and The Flint Child Health & Development Fund of the Foundation of Flint. Stay tuned as we will be announcing new prints from some of the contemporary art world’s biggest names both locally and internationally in the coming months including Robbie Conal, Shepard Fairey, Doze Green, Maya Hayuk and lots more…
1x Thru Interview
No More Water. The Fire Next Time by Robbie Conal
1xRUN: Tell us a little bit about this piece, anything immediate you would like us to highlight about this image?
Robbie Conal: I’m very annoyed with Slick Rick Snyder, but to be real about it, he’s just a festering symptom of the fucked up values of a power structure that allows bottled water companies to pay less for water than ordinary U.S. citizens in many of the poorest of our communities. What kind of country do we want to live in anyway?
1x: Was this image part of a recent theme, series or show that you had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
Conal: As a matter of fact, it’s a “perfect” addendum to a series I’ve been painting since the Presidential election, “The Cabinet of Horrors.” So far I’ve done Trump twice—no, three times!—Kelly Anne Conway, Rex Tillerson, Steve Bannon, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and Betsy DeVos. Of course I have way more work ahead of me, as do we all…
1x: When was this piece created and what materials were used?
Conal: It’s gesso, acrylic and oil paint on archival illustration board, 30”x20.” As I type this, I’m almost finished with the fancy flames and the insane lettering.
1x: Tell us how the idea and execution came about for this image?
Conal: The whole “Cabinet of Horrors” series is painted this way. I just pinned up another board for Slick Rick, dunked him in toxic water and it spontaneously combusted.
1x: How long did this image take to create from start to finish?
Conal: That is ALWAYS the wrong question to ask an artist. But I won’t hold it against you.
1x: What is unique about this piece compared with your other work?
Conal: It’s about a bad guy in MICHIGAN!
1x: Why should people buy this one of these prints?
Conal: The only reason I can think of is to make it into a dart board.
1x: Describe this image in one gut reaction word.
No More Water. The Fire Next Time by Robbie Conal – Click To Purchase
Donate To The Michigan ACLU here + Donate To The Flint Child Health & Development Fund of the Foundation of Flint here.
1x: When did you first start making art? What was your first piece?
Conal: When I was a baby. A Siamese cat.
1x: What artists inspired you early on? What about now?
Conal: Early on it was Honore Daumier. Jose Guadalupe Posada. Francesco Goya. Diego Velazquez and Francis Bacon. As for now, it’s Leon Golub. Nancy Spero. Lucien Freud. Sue Coe. Banksy and John Heartfield.
1x: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Conal: Mostly I listen to Thelonious Monk. But also lot’s of other jazz and old blues, (especially Ray Charles, James Brown, and Professor Longhair), Ethnic World music, Tuvan throat singing and two crazy guys from the Alps, “Stimmhorn,” Hip hop, Rock’n’roll and Country & Western. (C’mon, you gotta give it up for the ole possum, George Jones.)
1x: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
Conal: I’m really not sure. Whomever’d put up with me. (A very short list.) Ditto.