In the centuries of artwork, it has served and continues to function as a kind of expression and communication, allowing artists to tell stories and spark revolutions via canvas, or a blank space.
When some artists use their resources as a way to showcase their ancestral origins, others utilize art as a response to political issues — that is called art as activism or simply, artivism.
Art as a form of expression
Across multiple platforms, including, but not limited to social media, the information, and text, artivism is a mixture of art and activism.
Art as activism can be traced back to many historical events. Among its most expressive eras was the 1960s, where many responded to the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement through their music and artwork. This motion prompted young people of all backgrounds to speak up and has continued to do so in the present.
Whether it’s through music, dance, art, or physical murals, all different kinds of artists are forming a voice through their passions.
The stories of local artists
Globally, San Francisco is famous for its street art. For some, these roads are a space for local artists to take their artwork beyond paper. These gifted artists all have different stories to tell, and unique expressions to share. We see artists express themselves in a range of ways.
One of the many recognized places in San Francisco is that the Mission District commonly called the Mission, which is famous for its vibrant and colorful murals that adopt the Hispanic/Latino culture of the neighborhood’s people. The art has become part of the community and provides an extra layer of personality. Lots of the Mission’s artwork can be found at the Balmy and Clarion Alleys. Furthermore, there are noteworthy murals spread across the city, on areas from businesses to schools.
Carlos Gonzalez is a Bay Area-based muralist who shares his stories and life experiences as an artist. Throughout his life, and throughout his career, Gonzalez has painted several bits throughout San Francisco. Gonzalez identifies his artwork as broadly photorealism together with impressionistic and geometric designs.
During this time he was mentored by a teacher who helped him apply his skills into artwork as a form of expression. Since Gonzalez was inspired by a lot of men and women who didn’t give him up, he continues to mentor youth for a prohibition officer, while also hoping to inspire them as an artist.
Gonzalez attempts to admit that people make mistakes, but for young musicians, sometimes it’s all about putting that aside and moving ahead. By inspiring others, Gonzalez is passing the flashlight while at the same time educating youth about”hustling.” Gonzalez believes the art business a hustle since it ties back to the people you know and how you use the links.
Recently retired, Gonzalez does commercial artwork, integrating different themes into his artwork. A prevalent theme in his bits includes the tales of La Raza, or “The Race”, showcasing the cultural identity of the community.
Art can be outrageous and offensive, or it may be timid, and everyone loves it.”
For Waters, it was his environment that inspired him. The tales that would form a part of who he is as an artist could start as a kid.
However, as a teenager and young adult, Waters put his soon-to-be-discovered fire to the side and started to get into sports. Throughout his early 20’s, Waters had other things to be concerned about such as his a nine-to-five job in a hospital.
Eventually, Waters realized that art wasn’t only his job after leaving the hospital, but also his life. Waters has dived deeper into his fire and continues to function as a fulltime artist. He contrasts art to music, in the sense that some music is joyful and a few musics sets out a message that makes you believe.