On American Assimilation

It is understood that for a period of time in American history there was an overwhelming influx of immigration into the United States.

Many of us, are here as a result of an ancestor making the journey to start a new life. It is understood that they faced hard times at first, but prevailed, and the result is a comfortable life just a generation or two since.

Some are fortunate to have the stories told first hand by these ancestors, some (like myself) weren't so fortunate, and the connection to the old world died off before we could grasp our history, and some, even more unfortunately will never learn of a history because they were brought here on slave ships by force, their history erased completely.

I'm writing this through my experience. I learned some time ago that the only way to confront the issue of American assimilation and race is through my own history. This set me out on a journey to uncover my ethnic past personally.

I'm an Italian American, in Italy I would have been known as a Sicilian, a southerner, most certainly lower in class than a northerner. I am proud of the fact that I am full blooded, meaning to me that I have a connection to my roots unlike many Americans who have gradually melted into a mixed batch. I'm not superior for this, it only provides me with a less complicated key of connection to the world I came from.

I say this knowing that many African descendants will never know their past, or even the true name they came from, and that realization shook me to the core of my being, and fueled my drive to understand what it means to assimilate into this country.

 

 

It wasn't taught in school the harsh reality the new immigrants faced in the first wave that came in through New Orleans. The stories of American businessmen dividing the new lower class by using racial biased was never taught. It was never mentioned that the only way these new immigrants (who actually were the lowest class of the old world) only were able to pass into society by renouncing their ethnicity and using their light skin in order to rise above former slaves who's skin was too dark to, and find stable ground.

The history of Sicilian assimilation and struggle, was never mentioned in my family. Rightfully so, my ancestors became Americans, that's what they were, and to not be at the time, resulted in brutal retaliation.

I've never felt connected to the ideology of Whiteness. I never knew why because I didn't know my cultures history. It was erased in turn for a brighter future...

Generations down the line I feel we are in dire need to reclaim our ethnicity as the Ideology of Whiteness begins to rear its ugly head in the face of its slow demise in dominance.

As a Sicilian, learning of the ghettos in New Orleans, the media created "Mafia", The lynchings of March 14th 1891 ( 11 Sicilians - the largest mass lynching in American history -http://files.usgwarchives.net/la/orleans/newspapers/00000077.txt -) all because they refused to be melted into the new American culture had me realize the history of what got me here, actually isn't so bright. This was true for any ethnic traveling into the new found country, this is true for most of us Americans, there was a war on ethnicity in order to create a society dedicated to the newly found one. Complete abandonment was necessary in order to create a single ideology that encompassed most the western world into it, besides those less fortunate due to the hue of their skin.

Where the African slaves were ripped out of their millennium spanning histories, the poor and rejected Europeans willingly dismissed what built them, playing a race card created by the White elites who founded the new country. This is what creates the divide between black and white today.

The first step to dealing with race as a "White" person, is understanding that at some point we convinced ourselves that playing that race card and erasing our ethnic past was for the benefit of our future. It may have been, at the time. But we are much further along now. We can't deny that sad truth, we need to realize the consequences of that action not only for the sake of our darker brothers and sisters, but for the sake of 1000s of years of cultural identity that our ancestors erased in order to get an upper hand in a new society. We no longer need to play a race card in order to save our necks, we no longer need to assimilate in order to create a better situation for a families.

What we need is disassimilation.

A return to our ethnic roots in order to understand at one point we were divided and cleansed or else this society of destructive discrimination would never have worked to maintain the plans of the White Elite. This doesn't mean to renounce one status as an American, it means a realization that American is an idea, and actually may not be the most beneficial under the terms it was laid down as. It means that through understanding and cultivation of any amount of ethnicity within you, we can understand the truth about what it meant and means to become an American. It brings with it the realization that there actually is a privilege that comes with skin color, and it shows that it was created with an intent that is incredibly destructive. It means that beyond being American we have a history that has been completely neglected, one that can bring immense growth to oneself when properly understood.

American Assimilation was the creation of "Whiteness" and those who could not do so either left the new world or have lived in it as an other, and has actually lived an entirely different reality in comparison to that of a "White American"

Yes, you are lucky your ancestors erased their history and played that card, you may not be here otherwise.

But now it's time to reclaim your ethnicity where it can be found, and take responsibility for the consequences of those actions, the division it's created, and the false consciousness it represents.

For we are all of one tribe with different expressions and colors, none better than the other. To reclaim your past to is a dedication to your ancestors who had no choice other than to forget all they knew. It's a responsibility we must see as vital in reshaping what it means to be "American"

The Day the Sun Stood Still - how Cleveland's dominant return to the spotlight was written in the sky.

Just like many, I too was downtown Sunday evening as Cleveland was on the verge of overcoming one of its greatest setbacks in modern history. In a culture defined by the spotlight, sports seem to reflect mass religion in a way unparalleled to our other forms of entertainment (these qualities I will leave up to you to compare)

The feeling in the air was electric as I ran out of the 9 and saw the flooded east 9th street. Looking up to a solstice full moon I knew that the Stars had aligned for this city.

It was no coincidence that such a rare moon was hanging in the sky as a city on the rise overcame it's greatest goal. The days leading up to, and from that moment only proves how our city was about to self initiate itself to elite status, once again.

When the new year rang in the powerful synchronism that was the year 2016 (216) it was clear that there was a certain sort of alignment setting itself on Cleveland.  With news of a National Convention planned for summer and a top 5 Nba team, it sure was set to be despite a championship or not.

The numerology involving this city revolves around the number 9 - and is manifested through it's area code, it's Main Street, and it's newly opened luxury hotel. The 9.

 

 

 


Months earlier the news of a cicada invasion was set to hit north east Ohio. Slowly but surely they were making their way into the city, and by finals week they were in full swing. 

 

 

 



Cleveland's history is worth looking into, it has produced some of the most prominent family names in the industrial age, it was once the center of the world, it had "Millionaires Row" - but its been troubled with a past of those elites leaving for brighter futures, Cleveland was left in the dust plenty of times, and then came a kid from Akron, Ohio.

 The initial resurrection of Cleveland was fueld by Lebron James, the young man who rose to elite Status and brought the city into the spotlight with him, only to bail and leave it in the dust for bigger and better things.

That's right, Lebron leaving was the best thing to ever happen to us. It forced us to look within, and we did. What rose out of his departure was the revival of local business and a sense of pride that could be heard louder than ever before.

Through our death we rebirthed as a city who could do it their self.

Then Lebron came back. And the archetypal pattern of the heroes story was set back into motion. The king returned to a city of self made kings and queens, but it needed its recognition, we needed the stars to align to finally move on from our troubled past.
 

It is no coincidence that on midsummers eve a new king was crowned under a full moon so rare that few see it twice in their life time. It is no coincidence that as the streets flooded with joy and release, we were setting ourselves up for one of the largest solstice rituals ever experienced. And it's no coincidence that it happened in the 216.
 And once again Cleveland was the place everyone wanted to be.
 

As the sun rose on northeast Ohio Tuesday morning, so did over a million people as they made their treck to downtown Cleveland. The solstice King and his team were about to make their way through the streets on a celebration hailed to be like no other. In the tradition of the summer solstice, the longest days of the sun are meant to be spent from sun up to sun down in joyous glory and festivities. 

 

we cheered in unison for the king and all his glory, we cheered under the sun in all its glory, releasing with us the struggles of our past as individuals and a collective, living trough the live drama that is NBA basketball. As a city we released our struggle and. Realized our power, we set intention for a positive future by the millions.

It was a once and a lifetime moment, it was a mass ritual manifested as a championship parade to bring the greatest harvest this city will ever see.

Our ancestors would be proud.

Cleveland,

image.jpg

You can pave the crumbling streets

And pay for big bright welcome screens.

For when the republicans come they will see

A great new city has risen from defeat

You can plan their routes around the houses falling to the ground,

and show them that there's no longer any rust to be found. 

For when they come they will see your hardworking image that sells this town.

But before the private jets land,

they cant help but look down upon East Cleveland.

And should they stray off their path,

the republicans may just see what hides behind those welcome screens and butter smooth streets.

Last Phase

image.jpg

A few years ago the politicians passed a bill that led to the removal of all homeless from the metropolitan area...

They didn't anticipate that over 75% of the population would end up homeless years later.

Now when you walk through the city it's a ghost town...besides the CEO's sinking with their sky reaching ships. The rest of the population was shipped out on trains and busses.

I walk the streets alone, but in a business suit, because otherwise I too would have been shipped out years ago.

Are we still dreaming?

image.jpg

I proclaimed a dream

in which all were equal

and no man held the status of a king.


Equality, Unity. and Peace rang true

in my every action, still I would

be placed into solidarity for the reaction

in which I created out of a final push against

centuries worth of weight carried by a race.


Still Today “I Can’t Breathe”

cries the streets.


Still Today “Black Lives Matter”

flood me feed.


For it seems the dream has

escaped our grasp

Like sand through a closed fist

Or the last breath

Of a young man

Who didn't even

Have a

Chance.

Timeline

image.jpg

 Something about seeing a glimpse of

The universe in someone's eyes.

 

In that split second

 

The beginning of time

 

The  rise of humankind,

 

Thousands of lived lives.

 

All the meanwhile it's as if the walls

you've built of lies come crashing down

to your side and for once you can't run

and hide

 

because the person across from you is you but from the other side.

"The order of things"

image.jpg

There was a man who said we are dying of a mysterious disease.

He calls it, "The order of things"

We harvest the mother for all she is worth, digging deep for things only valued by a civilization based on combustion.  "The byproducts", he says, ends up in all you "use, wear, and eat".

The byproducts are much heavier than us, their order, far below ours in the sense of placement. We confuse these scales with sense of purpose.

These things are trying to return back to the ground, and they're taking us with it.

"It's just the order of things"

Ascent/Decent (never ending ladder)

 

 

42" x 60"   BFK Rives paper, mixed media with charcoal and Gold Leaf

42" x 60"  

BFK Rives paper, mixed media with charcoal and Gold Leaf

Climbing a ladder that never stops,

besides when  I look

down below me

and see

nothing

 

but look up to see everything.  

 

image.jpg

 

image.jpg

The effect of intention based on the myth of ascension

BFK Rives paper, Ink monotype, acrylic, gold leaf, vintage stamp collage, Pink chalk, Screen Print 22" x 30" (2015) 

image.jpg
image.jpg

Vandalism is Human

An inked and etched surface. Portofino, Italy (2010)

An inked and etched surface. Portofino, Italy (2010)

 

We impose ourselves on our environment because we need to leave a trace. Our infinitesimal existence is so daunting that we only find solace in leaving what we consider permanent  behind. From Cave paintings and tree carvings to skyscrapers and tombstones. We obstruct "nature" not out of spite or separation, but out of fear of our own inevitable fate. 

Funny how no matter the construction nature swallows it up.  

Our permanence exists all around us. This body is only a moment in which we have an alternative perception of ourselves. 

Go ahead and leave your mark. It is embedded within us, to not leave one would be denying humanity one of its most primal motives for a sense of purpose. 


Manifesto

Written in 2014 -

 

It seems to me that at this point we have strived so hard to free ourselves from the suffocating box that society puts us in that we may have lost sight of our purpose here as artists.

 

I know art to be a magical thing, it contains in it the ability to function as a gateway to our true purpose as humans on earth.

 

In a work of art, the artists thoughts and intentions, their soul is encoded. This idea has been lost amongst the need to sustain a practice according to where the market goes, or what a critic claims to be “pure”. We rightfully fought our way out of the restrictions set by institutions, only to place ourselves into another box under the pretence of artistic freedom.

 

As artists we strive to say something, to alter the viewers experience in any way shape or form. Our purpose is to question. Our purpose is to connect the viewer to the artist that has been silenced within each and everyone of them. Unfortunately, some art created today seems to have the opposite effect, instead of a viewer feeling that eternal connection with creativity, creation, and pure emotion, its making viewers question Art’s purpose at all. That is not why we are here, to bring arts purpose into question.

 

We are here to put society into question, to critique the essential parts of life as we know it while at the same time expressing its beauty, and its horrors.

 

The world we live in now is much different than that of artists before us. An art object can be seen by many moments after its creation. The power in this ability to communicate seems to be misunderstood, and seen as an easier way to profit by making commodified work that speaks on no more than its process and material form. The true power lays within Arts ability to be free from all restraints, to say whatever it wants to say. This privilege was hard fought, but with it comes a responsibility thats also been lost amongst the ever increasing need for financial stability, and the overwhelming state of art in general.

 

Art must return to its function as a gateway to the world beyond the physical, to the world of emotion, spiritual connection and truth. Art has the ability to capture the imagination of anyone who encounters it, but what's its purpose if the furthest it takes you is to the card on the wall.

 

Art needs to reconnect humanity with its soul, with the invisible forces that shape our reality. Art needs to speak to its audience from a point of truth; not from preconceived ideas set forth by agendas ultimately pushing for arts demise.

 

Its falling victim to these false notions of purity and formal beauty that has placed art into question instead of as an educator to the masses of our own flaws and accomplishments.


Purpose isn’t defined by a market, it’s defined by the ability to transcend the human race from one state to another. With freedom comes responsibility, the artist must be responsible for everything they put into the world for it is a reflection of the world itself.

72

image.jpg

 

In Ancient Egyptian creation, Thoth is credited with the formulation of the 365 day caleneder. It was said that he gambled with the moon with dice, and in winning received 1/72nd of the moons light, granting earth with 5 more days.

-------------------------------------------------

The recurrence of 72 can be found throughout our reality. It is a master number.

72 hours is the life duration of an ovule 

72 beats per minute by the average human heart

72% of water makes our bodies 

Every 72 years the earths axis rotates 1 degree, contributing to the precession of the equinox.                                                  72 prints in 60 minutes.

It's occurrence is universal in the world religions.

-------------------------------------------------

Time seems linear to us because we face the past, each moment defined by the one we had just experienced. Through the repetition of printing a single image the true nature of time is revealed, each image a different representation of the same event. In a new moment, tied only to the past by our knowledge of what preceded it. 

In this case, 72 images of "lunar symbol 1" printed in 60 minutes is a reflection on time, human production, and repetition of a single symbol manifested as a bridge linking us to the unknown (spirit, consciousness, nature), the very thing which makes time exist to us. 

I worked my body and my matrix to the limit. 

Finishing with 72 is a testament to my eternal connection as a human to the universe.

I am not a machine, I am human.

Where the moon meets the sea.

image.jpg

 

Come with me onto this boat

Into the ocean.

We will sail until the moon just barely

Touches the surface.

I'll pull out a ladder and Rest it on a crater

So we can climb onto Its shining face.

And sit and watch the World spin in space.

We will laugh at those who called us crazy, 

And cry for the ones who were lazy.

And as the phases slowly cause 

Her shining face to fade.

You'll find us back on earth again.