The civil rights movement was not just about freedom and equality but also about identity, an identity that demanded to be heard. Lone voices that became shared voices, shared voices that became a movement, a movement that changed history.
If African American men were regarded as second class citizens then the women were regarded as even less so, and yet, they were the backbone and even at the forefront of the movements success.
From the prison system, inmates are stripped of identity and dehumanised to a number, but in a society increasingly divided by the haves and have nots, where corporations and governments lay claim to more and more of our lives, we too have become numbers, statistics, computer code to be data mined, our identities irrelevant, dehumanised.
With more laws bought out to further curtail our freedoms, our choices, it takes strength. Strength need not come from violence or coercion but by a simple voice, the voice to stand up for rights or stand against wrongs. To say what we feel instead of denying what we feel, to be, not just a number.
This is uncivil rights, it’s about identity, it’s about strength.
There is a very British saying ‘ to keep a stiff upper lip’, to be resolute and unemotional in the face of tragedy or adversity. Ask a British person whose world is falling apart, ‘how are you?’ and you will usually hear ‘fine, thank you’.
Postcards from Grace shares our psychological need to tell ourselves and the rest of the world that everything is fine, because the truth out loud may make it more real, the truth out loud may not help us, the truth out loud may just crush us.
Postcards from Grace is about cancer.
When viewed under the microscope this still largely mysterious disease becomes a familiar landscape, in a place you don’t want to be, to the postcards you send, speak without saying, say without telling, these are the postcards from Grace.
Epilogue: As I lie here under this bridge with a shopping cart full of my belongings and my trusty dog toto, I can see the dimming lights of the yellow brick road to fame and fortune, and I think to myself………fucking Kardashians.
I remember the first time the branding of an artist really hit me.
I had gone to see an exhibition of Claude Monet’s ‘water lilies’ at the Tate, and although Monet’s work was never a great influence on me, I couldn’t help but be seduced by Monet the artist. The dedication to his craft, the love of his surroundings and the imposition of light were all beautifully captured upon the vast canvas’s of the’water lily’ paintings, paintings by an artist well into his twilight years.
After an exhibition I like to wander through the gallery shop, but this time my heart sank, here were Monet’s masterpieces stripped and regurgitated like a mad Toys R Us store in an eruption of puzzles, games, bags and stationary, all bearing the ‘water lily’ paintings.
Monet’s blood, sweat and tears had been reduced to a pencil case.
I wept for art that day, for art had lost its meaning, its purity, its soul, for art had become nothing, a commodity, a brand, a brand to sell you a commodity.
Gone were the days of coveting a postcard of your favourite artwork, today ‘like the art?, Buy the hat!’.
The world was changing, I was changing. The mere fact that I was exhibiting and doing interviews meant that, even unknowingly, I too was forming my own brand, but how to take that brand outside the art world? How to make my own star shine brighter, louder, how to make, my own perfume?
I decided to do the most logical thing, I decided to make a sex tape.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to make a sex tape, for one, there is all the depilation involved. (Word of warning to any men seeking first time hair removal, never go to see a North Korean woman who has just found out her husband is cheating, a baseball bat insertion is apparently not standard procedure) And two, would there be sandwiches?
Stepping out into the midday sun I contemplated the road to fame I was about to travel, but I had dignity, I had pride, I also had a video camera, hairless buttocks, and an address for the Kardashians.
Unfortunately I can’t really tell you what the Kardashians thought about co-staring with me in my sex tape brand extravaganza, due to their tears of uncontrollable laughter, laughter I could still rudely hear over the intercom while being unceremoniously handcuffed into the back of a police car.
Out on bail and with my genius idea sex tape thwarted, I went back to the drawing board and studied what marketeers refer to as USP or what is my Unique Selling Proposition, what makes me different from any other brand or artist out there, what would make the public put their faith and trust in me –
– As an artist by playing with art materials I have a natural affinity with children.
– As an artist I am sometimes introverted, sometimes shy and sometimes socially awkward.
Connecting these key points together laid bare my brand, and there it was, my Unique Selling Proposition, child serial killer.
Realising this could affect my brand of cuddly toys, I needed professional help.
I sold my house, car and furniture and invested my life’s savings into a team of top advertising executives, marketing men and brand analysts.
Taking inspiration from some of the world’s leading brands, we put together an intoxicating mix of the finest in filmmaking and sure fire brand advertising success; cool music, sexy girl next door, stunning cinematography and subtle branding, to create, as you will see below, nothing short of cinematic brand marketing gold.
I can already taste that fame and fortune.
Who’s laughing now Kardashians? Who’s laughing now?