99% is a public art/street art project that speaks to the need for a fundamental shift in the status quo approach to current economic models, labor, the environment, human rights, and the health and wellbeing of all. In support of the OCCUPY! movement, I am making a series of hand painted signs (1000 to start) with the statement “We Are The 99%” in different languages (so far I have English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu, Hebrew, Hungarian, German, Roma, Serbian/ Bosnian/ Croatian, Russian, Tagalog, Bahasa Indonesian, Thai, Japanese, French, Italian, Czech, Slovakian, Polish, Dutch, Danish, Yiddish, Haitian, Swahili, Georgian, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Turkish, Vietnamese, Tamil, Armenian, Urdu, and Estonian).
The signs all have bold black text on a color background painted on ¼” plywood in varying sizes. These are being distributed initially in San Francisco and Oakland to:
1. OccupySF and Occupy Oakland participants to be used at marches and protests – participants will be asked to display their signs in their home windows and/or tents when not in use.
2. Folks who might not have time to participate in the actual occupation, but want to lend support – to place in their windows in solidarity of the movement.
3. Small businesses to place in their windows in support and solidarity of the movement.
I am working to raise the funds to employ assistants (artists/sign painters who are currently unemployed) at $20/hour (a livable wage in the Bay Area) to help create and distribute the signs.
If the project is successful in the Bay Area, I will work to expand it to additional cities around the county and ultimately around the globe.
This Little Piggy Went To Market
In July/August of 2010 Piggy could be found in San Francisco’s financial district every Tuesday and Thursday representing corporate America and handing out gifts for all. Like the leaders of corporate America, Piggy’s role is that of a trickster. Bright pink, cuddly, and wearing a big grin, Piggy pushes a shopping cart filled with “gifts” and offers them in a gesture of kindness. However, in truth Piggy is doling out tokens of a more sinister intent: “Lies,” “Toxic Debt,” “Homelessness,” “Sludge,” “Dirty Tricks,” “Jobless,” “Dead Birds,” “Toxic Waste,” “Poverty,” and “Cancer.” Piggy was also always accompanied by a Handler, who would act as part bodyguard, part propaganda distributor.
As foreclosures and evictions continue, Wilson’s “Home” stencils are marking the sites of displacement in the Bay Area. The project is an extension of her project Better Homes and Gardens that began in 2000 in response to the evictions during the dotcom boom.
Mural On Clarion Alley
As part of CAPITALISM IS OVER! Wilson created a mural on Clarion Alley, San Francisco in June 2011. Wilson’s messaging campaign uses the same multiple-site tactic that advertisers use – utilizing select sites with targeted visibility – however, here the effort is to raise consciousnesses around the timely and critical need to challenge our current social/economic model. The project’s messaging goal is twofold: (1) to heighten awareness; and (2) to cultivate a dialog within communities and amongst disparate groups.
As concerns continue to rise globally for the economy, unemployment, environmental degradation, food shortages, and human rights abuses, the call for “SOLUTIONS” has become the mantra of the masses. While primarily wealthy, privileged pundits and politicians debate this need and how best to address it on cable news, millions have taken to the streets throughout the world to demand action. Until our voices are heard, the call for revolution will grow louder.
SOLUTIONS! is part of this call to action. However, rather than taking to the streets through direct protest, the project is using the same strategy that corporate advertisers uses to influence the public – utilizing strong graphics at select sites with targeted high visibility. With a colorful, pop interface and choice locations, SOLUTIONS! puts forth the messages that are being demanded by millions, yet denied by an elite few.
Megan Wilson is a visual artist and community organizer based out of San Francisco. Wilson’s large-scale installations and public projects utilize a broad range of pop culture methodologies and aesthetics as a point of entry and engagement for the issues she addresses conceptually. She’s used traditional crafts and interior design to explore the meanings of “home” and “homelessness;” public murals and street art as a strategy for challenging corporate values and the surface aesthetics of capitalism; and performance in the form of a bright pink, cuddly pig with a big grin to represent corporate criminals, doling out their token “Lies,” “Toxic Debt,” and “Dirty Tricks.”
In 2000 Wilson co-organized the performance/protest series Art Strikes Back in response to the unprecedented and unrestricted level of gentrification and displacement in San Francisco during the “dotcom boom.” In 2003 she curated and co-organized the international exchange Sama-sama/Together, a collaboration between community arts organizations and artists from San Francisco (USA) and Yogyakarta (Indonesia) designed to foster understanding of Muslim and non-Muslim cultures following 9/11. From 2004 – 2008 she transformed her 1,600 sq. ft. living space into an installation that explored and challenged the meanings of “home” and “homelessness” through her project Home 1996-2008. Currently Wilson is a co-organizer of the Clarion Alley Mural Project and one of the organizers of CAPITALISM IS OVER! If You Want It, an ongoing movement of interruptions/actions by artists from around the world in response to the need for a fundamental shift in our approach to Capitalism and the negative impact it has on the environment, health, and wellbeing of all.
Wilson received her BFA from the University of Oregon and an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art (S.F.), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Southern Exposure, Intersection for the Arts, The Luggage Store, the San Francisco Arts Commission, Sun Valley Center for the Arts (ID), thirtyninehotel (Honolulu, HI), Green Papaya (Manila), Print It! (Barcelona), and LIP (Yogyakarta). She has created public projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tokyo, Japan; Yogyakarta & Bali, Indonesia; Jaipur, India, and Manila Philippines. Wilson is a recipient of grant awards from the Gunk Foundation, Artadia, the Asian Cultural Council, the Ford Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and the San Francisco Art Commission. Wilson’s work is included in FRESH 1: Cutting Edge Illustrations in 3D and FRESH 2: Cutting Edge Illustrations in Public edited by Slanted; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 75 Years of Looking Forward, edited by Janet Bishop, Corey Keller, Sarah Roberts; Street Art San Francisco Mission Muralismo, edited by Annice Jacoby; Mural Art: Murals on Huge Public Surfaces Around the World by Kirakoss Iosifidis; Illustration: Play – Craving for the Extraordinary, Published by Victionary; and Sama-sama/Together: An International Exchange Project Between Yogyakarta and San Francisco, Published by Jam Karet.