60" X 108" X 1.5"
Acrylic on canvas
Photographs By: Eric Voigt
I started this painting on Election Day November 3, 2020 and worked on it every day until the majority of the American people accepted the outcome of this election.
During the last 4 years of the Trump Administration, I’ve seen the symbol of the flag adulterated. Disturbed by the growing divide of our country, I was dreaming of ways that America can recommit to its people. So, I made a flag to express what this country means to me as an artist in 2020.
Day One: November 3rd. I decided to stretch the white-gessoed side of the canvas against the stretcher bars to make it appear that the start of painting is coming from a natural and raw place, knowing this country was built on white supremacy even if we refuse to see it. The large yellow center is a marker of joy and freedom that most in this country aspire to. The pink and green represent our differences, not necessarily the Democratic or Republican party, but the growing polarity of the separation we all feel.
Day Two November 4th. It was time to add states/stars to this flag. I ripped 50 states out of painter’s tape to represent the arbitrary nature of borders. Can you imagine if we didn’t spend the early years of this country making rock wall boundaries but rather learned to respect our neighbor’s space? I painted a thick white line over the states, because our borders are washed in white. It is essential to acknowledge where we are in order to move forward for what we dream. In order to make this an American flag I added the patriotic red and blue. Paintings can represent the figure, the stretcher bars as the bones and the canvas as the skin. I intentionally applied the blood red paint in a way that would show the imprints of the stretcher bars to honor and remember the bones of those who have died for this country.
Day Three November 5th. In this flag we honor the people, not the borders separating us. We honor individuals of all shades and colors existing on the same plane with equal rights.
Day Four November 6th. What is the purpose of a flag if it doesn’t connect those individuals to the land? The land is the highest point on this flag and we are the stewards of land. All of us have the responsibility to protect and serve our ecosystems with the highest level of care and respect. For without the land there is no reason for a flag.
The title of this work 'Freak Flag' comes from the saying “let your freak flag fly”. If we all find a loving peace with our own self-realization and liberation, we will find freedom.