No matter who you voted for on November, 8th, it would be hard to deny that the results of the election have been controversial and deeply emotional for many Americans. It’s nearly impossible to escape the highly charged feelings that are dividing our nation right now. And with so much of our collective attention focused on the consequences of a Donald Trump presidency, artists from all over the country are feeling the pressure to create art and protest pieces that express their own emotions and political views.
Street artist, Gabriel “Specter” Reese, knows all about that pressure. He’s compelled to create art that speaks to the election results — even though he wishes he didn’t have to. To bring these conversations to the forefront, Specter creates beautiful abstract, 3-D paintings, which he places in spots normally reserved for selling you products (billboards, etc.). His work is often socially motivated, as he tackles subjects of homelessness and gentrification, and, of course, our current political situation. No elephant in the room gets ignored.
Street art isn’t about fame for Gabriel. It’s about the rush of adrenaline he gets when creating and putting up new art. It’s about the journey and process. And it’s about integrating a piece to a neighborhood, no matter how temporary. His art infuses color and passion into otherwise dreary urban landscapes and it speaks to the people who see it.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Gabriel recently about how politics is hijacking his current body of work and how we should all try to do what we think is impossible.