For today's edition of Gay Voices in The Huffington Post, the artist known as Homo Riot penned an essay/manifesto detailing how he and his work came to be.
Homo Riot in Halifax
In the essay, he points out that his work started out as a reaction to the passing of Prop 8 in California in 2008:
My belief was, and still is, that that vote to take away the option of marriage for gays and lesbians was mostly a reaction to fear -- fear that if homos were allowed to legally marry and have their marriages recognized by the state as equal to those of straight people, then all manner of depravity would follow. Drag queens would parade outside churches, leather-clad men in chaps would fondle each other in front of Walmarts, and tattooed dykes with strap-ons would aggressively seek to convert teenagers to the "homosexual lifestyle." So I told myself that if that's what they were scared of, then I would bring it to them.
Until recently, street art has generally been a site- and city-specific form of expression. Although there have been instances of certain street-based art becoming global phenoms -- Andre the Giant has a posse comes to mind -- the speed at which Homo Riot spread outside Los Angeles is rather remarkable. I wrote about Homo Riot one year ago, and his work has continued to spread around the world. A quick look at his Tumblr will give viewers a look as to how much his work has resonated with so many people in so many places around the globe.
Near the end of his essay, he states:
With my own street art, I had no idea of the impact it would have on people. In the same way that the Mormons and Orange County Republicans who
financed the Prop 8 campaign couldn't have imagined that their hate and
ignorance would spawn Homo Riot, I had no clue that my anger-fueled work
would communicate positivity and pride.
I would argue that Homo Riot's work communicates more than positivity and pride. It also communicates a desire to be heard, in as many places and in as many ways as possible. It is how democracy and art and the free expression of ideas is spread in the 21st century.