Still Dreaming

Being that it is Martin Luther King Day, I felt it was right to repost the following blog...

In the background of this poster is a piece of a letter written by Martin Luther King from his jail cell after he was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. In it, he defends his belief in nonviolent protest as well as one's moral responsibility to break unjust laws.
Here's some more background...

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"The Birmingham Campaign began on April 3, 1963, with coordinated marches and sit-ins against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Circuit Judge W. A. Jenkins issued a blanket injunction against "parading, demonstrating, boycotting, trespassing and picketing". Leaders of the campaign announced they would disobey the ruling. On April 12, King was roughly arrested with Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and other marchers—while thousands of African Americans dressed for Good Friday looked on. King met with unusually harsh conditions in the Birmingham jail. An ally smuggled in a newspaper from April 12, which contained "A Call for Unity": a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen against King and his methods. The letter provoked King and he began to write a response on the newspaper itself. King writes in Why We Can't Wait: “Begun on the margins of the newspaper in which the statement appeared while I was in jail, the letter was continued on scraps of writing paper supplied by a friendly black trusty, and concluded on a pad my attorneys were eventually permitted to leave me. The "Call to Unity" clergymen agreed that social injustices existed but argued that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts, not in the streets. They criticized Martin Luther King, calling him an “outsider” who causes trouble in the streets of Birmingham. To this, King referred to his belief that all communities and states were interrelated. He wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly… Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider…” The clergymen also disapproved of the immense tension created by the demonstration. To this, King affirmed that he and his fellow demonstrators were using nonviolent direct action in order to cause tension that would force the wider community to face the issue head on. They hoped to create tension: a nonviolent tension that is needed for growth. King responded that without nonviolent forceful direct actions, true civil rights could never be achieved. Against the clergymen’s assertion that the demonstration was against the law, he argued that not only was civil disobedience justified in the face of unjust laws, but that "one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
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This is not to say that I feel street art comes anywhere close to being as vital a rebellion as the civil rights movement, rather just as an illustration of something bigger. That there will always be resistance to re-shaping the world in any way. If you want to make a difference, you can only do so by pushing through those who will try to dissuade you, be it with indifference, mockery or aggression. In this day and age it is important to look back at history and see what kind of difference a positive, non-violent- yet unwavering quest for change can create. 
There are people out there who aren't interested in anyone altering the status quo. This is true in cultural issues as well as individual ones. If you want to change the world at large- or just your own world, life or circumstance, don't wait for someone to give you permission.

Elison

There's a pretty cool 10 page interview/article on my work in the latest issue of Elison Magazine. The issue's theme is youth and nostalgia- something I am pretty much fixated on. In fact, I'll say something that's going to sound pretty controversial... I'm not sure if they've ever made a video game better than Super Mario Brothers 3 for the NES. You can have your BioShock and your Grand Theft Autos- me? I rarely feel as free in real life as when I make Mario fly with a raccoon tail. Which, by the way- still doesn't make sense. Raccoons don't fly! Or do they???

Read the full issue HERE!

Still Time

January 4th is my birthday- I figured this was a good message to remind myself of- no matter what this meter says!

Noticed

I am aware that this is an ironic statement coming from a street artist- and yet it's one I've tried to consider from time to time. One of the reasons I've embraced a black and white esthetic is that stands out in contrast to the myriad of colors that many advertisers employ to grab your attention. I find this same sentiment to be true within social settings- especially when seeking romantic connection. The more you can genuinely shed desperation, the more you stand out.

So long 2014!

As the saying goes in A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Looking back at what 2014 held, there’s been a lot of monumental moments. It was a year of accomplishments that I’m super proud of, new friends, new chapters, fresh starts and memories I’ll hold close for a long, long time. On the other hand, it’s also been one of the most challenging years of my life. Close to the start of it, my wife and I suffered a miscarriage for what would have been our first child. It wasn’t planned but we were excited nonetheless. I wish I could say that the disappointment didn’t dampen the rest of the year but it did. I don’t say this in hopes of receiving sympathetic words, and honestly I’ve neglected mentioning it to avoid such a well-meaning but uncomfortable exchange. I bring it up now because I know a lot of you guys have had tough years too. Many of you have suffered blows I cannot imagine and are still recovering from them. While I’m right there with you in wanting to just say “so long 2014 and good riddance, you lousy bastard!”, I know that there are many things about this year we should hang on to. Not just the pleasant experiences but the lessons we’ve acquired from the unpleasant ones. That said, there’s a hell of a lot of emotional crap to jettison and I for one am happy to lighten the load a bit for 2015. I hope you’ll join me. Happy New Years, friends. To a better, brighter world. I wish you a hope that infects even the darkest parts of your heart. And mine too. Cheers.

When I Grow Up

Posted this on Christmas Eve. The background is made up of children's "when I grow up" drawings. I had a blast drawing them. My personal favorite says: "when I grow up I WILL be Batman!" - a dream I still hope to one day realize.

Poem for A Rainy Sky

A little rainy day poem. I pasted this up a couple weeks ago- right before the rain started. It's almost certainly gone now. I enjoy the sky in this photo. It looks a bit ominous and foreboding... And yet- there's magic in there- you can just tell.

Bound

"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."

- Abraham Lincoln

Arm Wrestling

Yesterday will always lose the arm wrestling match to today- but today will always lose to tomorrow. Tomorrow is like Sylvester Stallone in that film "Over the Top." I hope this knowledge makes getting up in the morning just a little bit easier. You just gotta spin your hat around and queue "Meet me half way."

Live LA Give LA

I was honored to be asked by Children's Hospital: Los Angeles to make a pair of these banners and work with the kids there making window art for their #liveLAgiveLA campaign. Hanging out with those kids and watching art therapists like Nicole and Amanda work to help them find their creative voice is always profoundly inspiring. These kids give me a small taste of what real courage looks like. The art in this piece includes a crumpled piece of paper because while hope can get tarnished and roughed up a bit, it survives- and in places like CHLA, it thrives. Check out Children's Hospital: Los Angeles' home page for way to help.

Toilet Humor

I left this in the bathroom of a gas station that you had to pay a quarter to use. When I left, a man hurriedly pushed past me- possibly to avoid having to pay, or perhaps he really needed to relieve himself. Either way, it was only then that it occurred to me that very soon he'd be wiping his butt with my face. Which I've decided is going to be the title of my autobiography. "Wiping His Butt With My Face: The Morley Story."

If Only

"Woman, graceful as the swan, 
A wise man did nurture me. 
Little palm, white neck, bright eye, 
I shall not die for ye."

- Douglas Hyde. 

"I shall not die for thee" is one of my very favorite poems. One can only hope to learn to write as well as they did in 1860.

Music To My Ears

The sound of her voice first thing in the morning is as comforting as any song that lulled me to sleep.

Our Calm. Our Storm.

"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."

- Willa Cather

This felt appropriate to post on one of southern California's infrequent rainy days.

Omelettes

It took some time but I have given up trying to please everyone with who I am and what I do. There's real freedom in accepting that. You will always bother someone and that someone will almost always do their best to punish you in some vague, petty, self-satisfying way. The only way to beat them is to continue on without heed. No one has ever found genuine happiness in life when the only thing they contribute is a narrow definition of what they deem satisfactory. The only people worth listening to are the ones who speak with the wisdom of knowing that we don't all have to fit the same mold, like the same stuff, create with the same voice and have the same ideas. Forgive my crudeness- but a wise man once said "Opinions are like assholes. Everyone's got one and everyone thinks everyone else's stinks." I'd just as soon not spend my day sniffing butts.

Gifts

I posted this on Thanksgiving. As you consider all you have to be thankful for, remember that our gifts are also challenges as to how we can use them wisely and at the same time, having something to challenge us day to day is a blessing all its own. So give thanks for both!

Echoing

Some memories echo louder than others.

Look Harder

No matter who you, where you're from, your race, gender, sexuality, religion, how much or little money you have in the bank, we all have at least one thing in common.

We're all in this together and in the bleak moments, it's difficult to see that. We have to look harder.