Privacy is the New Celebrity

Chris Martin on Privacy and Creativity in the Practice of Visual Art - Ep 20

March 10, 2022 MobileCoin
Privacy is the New Celebrity
Chris Martin on Privacy and Creativity in the Practice of Visual Art - Ep 20
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Josh interviews Chris Martin, a multidisciplinary artist based in Oakland, California, who explores the African Diaspora through subjects like religion, captivity, and freedom. Chris recently celebrated his  inaugural solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Francisco, which is on view from January 22 to May 1, 2022. Chris describes the inspiration for his art practice and Josh asks how privacy plays a role in his creative process. Chris is also a tattoo artist whose style blends traditional African American iconography with American traditional tattooing, an art practice with roots in San Francisco. Chris  describes the powerful intimacy generated by the one-on-one dynamic shared between tattoo artist and subject, and how this experience influences his views on personal privacy.

Speaker 2 (00:08)
Hello and welcome back. You're listening to Privacy is the New Celebrity. I'm Joshua Goldbard. And for today's episode, we're continuing a theme that Lucy started last week with Andrew Berardini, which is the intersection of art and privacy. My guest today is Chris Martin. Chris is a multidisciplinary artist based in Oakland, California, exploring the African Diaspora through subjects like religion, captivity, and freedom. Chris has been known for his vivid tapestries and illustrations, which have been shown in exhibitions across the Bay Area and around the country. Recently, he celebrated his inaugural solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, which is on view right now. And as an added treat, we get to have Chris right here in person in our San Francisco studio. Chris, thanks so much for coming by.

Speaker 1 (01:02)
Yes, thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Speaker 2 (01:04)
Chris, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your art practice. What do you work on?

Speaker 1 (01:08)
So yeah, I guess I work primarily within my fine art practice with Fabric. Just recently, I've incorporated new works into my practice soft sculptures. But for most of my shows, I create original hand cut and sewn pieces that are meant to be displayed at life size proportions. And through the applique process is how they come to life. Basically.

Speaker 2 (01:36)
Can you tell us a little bit about the themes of your art? What story are you trying to tell?

Speaker 1 (01:41)
So I try to tell this surreal story of someone coming from the south and reclaiming cotton as this material of oppression and using it as a free black man within contemporary times and creating a new narrative of different ideologies, kind of like meshed into one. So a lot of my work and images are inspired a reference from American traditional tattoos. I've currently been tattooing for roughly three years now. Professionally and diving into this practice, I found the strange crossing points between American traditional tattoos and how they intersect with the African Diaspora, two separate groups of people that seem completely far apart from each other. But through my art practice, finding a creative way to connect these dots and these two different stories of people that have passed across the Atlantic Ocean both willingly and unwillingly, and what that looks like within my current narrative and my current activations of different themes basically for different spaces.

Speaker 2 (03:00)
One thing I really love about the practice of your art is the way you reclaim this racist imagery in a way that I think takes something that is very profane and makes it more sacred or more playful. And I'm curious, did you grow up in the south? How did you start to think about this stuff?

Speaker 1 (03:18)
Yeah. So I grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and I went to an HBCU. I followed the footsteps of my sister, my mother. She also worked in the Department of Multicultural, and so people would come from all over the world to her office. And I just remember being like a child, just absorbing in all these different cultures and different things that would be dropped off from snacks to different artifacts and having this worldly view of others other than myself. And so it was interesting to go from that and then eventually evolving to find out. The narrative is a little bit different. The older you get, you start to figure out of oppression and other things like that. After attending an HBCU, they actually give you all the lessons of your history. They empower you of who you are. It was almost like stepping into this boot camp of blackness. It's just like my sister, she went to North Carolina State, which was a little bit more white populated, and so she had left that environment and then went to a Nt. And so she basically told me what she went through her woes with that experience and how she felt like she was just a number.

Speaker 1 (04:52)
And then when she went to A and T, she felt more accepted, like family. So I decided to go that route. And the curriculum, they empower you to feel strong and for you to feel empowered for who you are. And it's like after going from that experience, graduating, and then going into the real world, I graduated from the art Department, and I knew how to bring ideas to life, but not necessarily having a style that I felt completely confident in with conveying that to people. So after I removed myself from the south to come to California, I just had this in between time to just think about and reflect on who I am, what's my voice, where have I come from? And just find a way to have a practice that fully takes control of what the past was, but also what the future can be. So that's ultimately where I'm going with my practice.

Speaker 2 (05:57)
Privacy is the new celebrity is this idea that one of the most sacred things in our society now is not being famous, but having Privacy, having the ability to reflect. And I'm deeply curious about the space you carved out for yourself and what you found when you started to dive into this reflection on what is happening in your world and the outside world and how you merge those things together. What did you discover?

Speaker 1 (06:23)
Oh, wow. I mean, I guess I'm still discovering. It's like an ongoing process. But as far as Privacy, it's interesting, like putting on the hat of Privacy and being an artist, because to be perfectly honest, I would be perfectly fine with being home with my dog, chilling, making artwork, but that's not enough. There's so many different layers to go into the artwork, making the time to come here and chatting in person. That means a lot because I want the art to have an advocate for it.

Speaker 2 (07:02)
You want to have impact.

Speaker 1 (07:03)
Exactly. Yeah. The art itself is great to look at, but I put so much time and energy into what it actually means, and even the title of the piece can guide the viewer further into the narrative.

Speaker 2 (07:21)
I tend to think about art as context, concept, execution, and documentation, and I think telling the story of the art is part of the documentation. And I just really appreciate the way that you're coming out into the world, trying to announce the story, trying to tell what you're actually doing beyond just making the art itself. Can you talk about a little bit how you started to get into these themes of racist imagery? Because I think there's an element of tattooing in the south that I really want to dive into, but also just why you chose that as the thing you wanted to attack in your art.

Speaker 1 (07:56)
Interesting. Yeah. So, I mean, I wasn't actually tattooing in the south. I found that practice when moving to California. I was like, straight out of the boat when I came to California before this, I was just delivering pizzas, trying to save up money, like, straight out of College, just trying to scrap together some change so that the trip could be somewhat like fees as I'm transporting myself. But just being a black man in the south, we have our encounters. And I felt like when I finally had removed myself from the South, I was able to reflect on the past, the things I enjoyed as well, along with the agony of some things. But I felt like having that separation and also like Privacy and seclusion. Right. Because that's when we can really tap into ourselves and figure out what's really going on with the narrative that we want to speak about. And it was like, yeah, coming to California, it's like a clean slate. I was able to meditate, reflect, and just like using cotton as this material and touching points of race. And it was like when I came to California, when I finally made the connection to use, like, Sailor tattoos, because I didn't really know the history of San Francisco, I just came here because it was just like an awesome opportunity, and I just want to go for it.

Speaker 1 (09:39)
And I found out everything else after that, just like Sailor tattoos, what they mean to San Francisco, the history of these being like, this being like an epic Port for people to come to for tattoos. And I came from this designer background, graphic design. So I just really enjoy just creating a story, but with five lines rather than a completely drawn and painted narrative. Right. How can I convey my message, like, the most fast, hard hitting way with the least amount of lines, make it as bold as I can strip it of all color. And yeah, that's like, just what I enjoy. As far as the graphic element and seeing American traditional tattoos, how simple they were drawn, I just naturally gravitated to that style and referenced it a bunch. And then when I found out through the art practice. We think that, like, I'm cheating if I'm looking at something or referencing something. It was like the first art contest I won for Dare. Back in the day at elementary school, I just referenced the daily airline, and I just put some air force ones on them, and I was like, oh, this is tight.

Speaker 1 (10:58)
I just referenced two things that I like, and I just put them in one.

Speaker 2 (11:01)
So Banksy has a stone tablet that he carved that says, good artists. Imitate. Great artists steal.

Speaker 1 (11:10)

Speaker 2 (11:10)
And he attributes the quote to Picasso, but then he just crosses Picasso's name and writes.

Speaker 1 (11:15)
Banks, no, that's it. There's, like, a whole pool of references out there. And we think that all these things and these ideas are manifested from thin air. Like, no, we have references. We have the emotional work that goes into it. But when I found out that the name of the game from Tattooing in traditional style was to reference but also change it in a way to where it was original to you, I was like, oh, I really like this. Taking a crawling Panther, something that's been done a thousand times. But to spot my Panther out of that lineup, that's what I enjoy. Just, like, something like that.

Speaker 2 (12:01)
Taking it and making your own. Can you talk about the body of work that you have on exhibit now?

Speaker 1 (12:07)
Okay. Yeah. The current body of work that I have displayed right now at the Museum is my most recent body of work, and it's basically a continuation from my last solo show in the city at Hashimoto Gallery. So that theme was of a slave ship that was making its way to America, and mutiny is declared. The ship gets turned around, and then the ship kind of, like, fades off into the distance. And I utilize this Museum as a way to kind of, like, pick that up and create a part two or, like, a conclusion to it or another phase of the story. And so this is basically me continuing that theme. The first show had a poem that correlated with the images of the show. This one has a continuation of the poem. Basically, the ancestors are guiding our way as we navigate the sea and return back to Africa. You can see on display, like, my fabric banners suspended from the ceiling, kind of almost in the.

Speaker 2 (13:25)
And these are big.

Speaker 1 (13:26)
Yes, these are life size. These are, like, three of me. It's just like I wanted the viewer to feel small. I wanted them to really feel like they're looking up at something bigger than them and just naturally just guiding their way through the space. When activating the show, I wanted to focus on one word, which was, like, to emerge. So I wanted to just completely emerge the audience into this storyline that's so surreal. And instead of creating an environment that was literal to making waves and water and building off of the ocean and the African diaspora. I felt like it was more fun to create a flow that people walk through the space, kind of like a maze in a way or mimicking tides. Instead of having someone walking, like, these 90 degree angles following a wall, like in most displays, the theme was to have this fluidness so that people can move through the space like currents and water.

Speaker 2 (14:38)
Where is this on display? The Institute of Contemporary Art is new in San Francisco. Can you tell us where this is?

Speaker 1 (14:46)
Well, more specifically, it's in the Dog Patch, 901 Minnesota Street, and it's a new Museum that's been created. They reached out to me initially just to help out with branding and to create a logo for them. And I was like, oh, well, we're like leaving our Mark. Where this new Museum have, like, this style of images that I use that involves arrows and it's puncturing these notes that have messages on them. So I was like, oh, let's come in like, Robin Hood style. Let's let the people know that we're here, we're leaving our Mark, and we have something to say. And so I created a logo that was based around that series of work that I've been playing with, and we basically took it from the logo into the Museum as a furthering of the exhibition space.

Speaker 2 (15:42)
One thing that I really love about your exhibition is that there's just no color in the whole thing. It's all black and white. Can you talk about that monochrome choice? Why did you do that?

Speaker 1 (15:53)
I feel like there's multiple reasons. For one, it's easier for me, it's faster, it's more efficient. Two, I'm not the best of color theory. That wasn't my strongest suit or practice, but also it's kind of like ultimately trying to give the viewer this Twilight Zone type of feeling, because when I make the work, I think of, like, this alternative reality to this one. And I hear things and I see things and I'm like, this can't be real. And I just feel like I have to make this into art for people to feel like it's something fun and conceptual. But I'm like, no, some of this is, like, reality as well. It's just like the way that you present it can change the whole story of it. But, yeah, just black and white just, like, takes the viewer into this completely easy to the eye, but somewhat surreal and dark experience. So I don't know, I just kind of just been utilizing that, and I don't know, I kind of just, like repeating a lot of stuff within my work to just also just stay consistent.

Speaker 2 (17:07)
So, as you know, Mobile Coin is a company focused on Privacy, and some of your art focuses on themes of captivity in the context of the Atlantic slave trade. And of course, one of the many horrors of slavery was the complete and absolute removal of personal Privacy from the Africans who were captured and brought here through the slave trade. So as an artist thinking about these themes, how do you see the connection between captivity and Privacy?

Speaker 1 (17:35)
Wow, that's a really good question. I mean, they both essentially kind of embody the same thing but are, like, pretty different.

Speaker 2 (17:45)
Different angles, right?

Speaker 1 (17:46)
Yeah. And that's kind of like touches back to what I mentioned before, those subtle yet surreal things that we try to connect the dots with. Repeat that last sentence one more time. I'm sorry.

Speaker 2 (18:03)
So as an artist thinking about these themes, how do you see the connection between captivity and Privacy?

Speaker 1 (18:10)
Damn, that's such a good question. Captivity and Privacy. Wow, that's a good question.

Speaker 2 (18:16)
If you want to try to answer it, you can. If not, we can go. We get another question.

Speaker 1 (18:18)
Damn. Let's come back to it. Cool. Yeah, I need to think on that.

Speaker 2 (18:24)
Can you tell us when you first discovered that Privacy mattered to you?

Speaker 1 (18:33)
I really figured out the value of Privacy within my personal preference of creation. When coming to the Bay Area for the first time, I was still working on my voice, my style, and I was doing a lot of street photography when I first came here, and I was doing that a little bit back home in North Carolina. But I found out I didn't like the flow of letting other people dictate what the narrative was. I'm basically just walking into the world, and I'm just open for anything that passes by me and just trying my best to capture that moment. And after a while, I was just like, you know what? This isn't for me. I need to switch gears, like have other things that I want to display, and it's just taking me way too long to capture that moment that is out there in the streets for me. So I then pivoted to the studio, started being more like introverted. Well, I've always been introverted, but just, like, tapping more into that side of me and accepting it, embracing it and. Yeah, just finding out that I enjoyed the process more of conceptualizing things and bringing them to life on my own terms.

Speaker 2 (19:58)
So you touched on earlier that you have these private spaces in which you reflect and you imagine these alternative realities, and you find a way to sort of, like, birth that alternative reality into the world. Can you talk about where the inspiration comes from in those private spaces?

Speaker 1 (20:13)
Yeah. I mean, inspiration honestly comes from anywhere. I take it as it comes, and it's just about being in a mindset where you can actually receive that information. I received it from documentaries, from the Blues, from hip hop, from poems, from conversations. And I've been diving into this style and this theme long enough to where I just hear it, and it's like a jolt or a spark of energy, and I'm just like, wait, what was that? And then I stopped. I put it in my phone, or I take a screenshot of the song where I heard the phrase, and I'll sometimes utilize that within my art. And sometimes it's just like a moment where I'm like, in seclusion, like, I have my cup of coffee, I'm thumbing through different references, and I see something, and I'm able to see what it could be rather than what it is. And taking just like those little in between times and really being able to put yourself mentally in a place to absorb those sparks once they hit.

Speaker 2 (21:32)
Can you tell us a little bit about the private space between the tattoo artist and the person receiving the tattoo? You have to imagine the tattoo together. You've got to get consent to place it on somebody's body. Can you talk about that private, sacred space?

Speaker 1 (21:47)
Honestly, that's a really great question. Me and my friends have actually banded together and created a somewhat collective of people of color, queer, trans tattoo artists with a new space called Tres Leches. We've been there for almost like, a year and a half now. Still feels fresh and new. But we have this manifesto, and we have this write up, basically, of what we're about what we stand for, so that when people enter the space, they have, like, disrespect or they know how to carry themselves. And there are certain tattoo artists that have rituals of incense and candles and breath meditations before getting into the tattoo. So it's kind of like taking these private practices that we hold sacred, and we willingly and selectively pick out people to engage into this experience. It's like we're not reaching out to these individuals. They find us, and then we tell them what we're about. They come to the space, and by tattooing them, we give them these mementos of feeling special about themselves, and then we share this conversation amongst each other, and then we kind of just separate from there. And it's just been interesting to see how people perceive my artwork personally when they have an appointment with me for my tattoos.

Speaker 1 (23:23)
It's just like some people have a whole new respect because they know of the fine art and they know that there's, like, layers that go into the artwork. And it's just like. It's so interesting to kind of, like, gauge it day by day and how the artwork can change from someone's human body to this canvas and vice versa. Right. So sometimes I'll create a banner and somebody sees that as fine art, and they're like, hey, I want this as a tattoo. And sometimes I've made tattoos, and I'm just like, you know what? I would like to turn this into a banner. So it's all essentially meshed all into one. But having those conversations with people that collect the tattoos, they ask me, like, what does this flashpiece mean? And sometimes I'll just say what it means, like, flat out. And they're like, oh, no, I can't have that. I can't have that. But what does this mean? I'm like, that's just a rose. They're like, okay, cool. I'm going to go with the rose.

Speaker 2 (24:33)
Yes. These beautiful memento Mariah carved into people's skin, and the permanence of ink is just such a crazy thing, and I love it. Do you think Privacy is necessary for artists to create?

Speaker 1 (24:47)
I don't think it's, like, a necessity for all artists. I find it valuable within my practice. It was just like, for this show at the Museum, it was dropped on me to have this display. And then after that, I was just like, well, I need to figure out what the concept is going to be for this. There's a lot of channeling of spiritual energy involved. So a lot of the time it's just me smoking splits and just thinking to myself, well, what is this narrative? I have it, but I don't really have it. And the only way that I can really hatch those out is in Privacy. And yeah, it was like four months of just me locking myself in my studio, just making art literally every day. It was the most challenging body of work that I ever had to create, but it was a new way of me bringing things to life because I literally had zero time to think. I had to like, does this work with the theme? Is this, like, in alignment with the narrative and the story that I want to bring to life? Okay, cool. Let's turn this into a banner.

Speaker 1 (26:02)
Thankfully, the banners take about a week for each one, so I just didn't have time to contemplate too much. It's just like having this space cultivated to where I can just have seclusion and energy to myself to really channel and manifest these images into reality, like, in a fast way. It's easier said than done.

Speaker 2 (26:27)
Basically, creativity loves constraints. One of the things we say at Mobile Coin, and this is Steve Jobs quote, real artist ship. And you know what helps artists ship is deadlines.

Speaker 1 (26:39)

Speaker 2 (26:40)
When you get a deadline, it's a couple of months out. You work real hard to hit it for real. And I just have to say that it's so impressive that you shipped that body of work in four months. Just to put this in perspective, there's two rooms. They're like 50ft by 30ft, roughly. They're huge room. They have these giant wavy walls and these, like, whole room full of tapestries. What was the hardest thing about fabricating that art show?

Speaker 1 (27:07)
Oh, man. I would probably say it was just the hardest part was probably time management. When you're working on such a I know how to make the art, I can literally close myself off and work for 12 hours straight in a day, but it's like, wow, how do I actually manage my time to really bring this to life? And this is like, yeah, it was just mostly having, like, I guess it's just kind of just like a weight trainer or somebody who just, like, is a professional athlete or something. It's like you work out every day, but the competition is kind of you just showing up for yourself. I know how to do the reps, but it's just like, okay, now it's just time to execute. But there were some curveballs. Like, I was just throwing out as much stuff as I could to them because it's such a big space. I was like, how am I going to actually fill this out with artwork? So I was like, okay, I want to make three large sculptures. They're like, fine. I was like, okay, what else can I push? I'm going to put 100 arrows into the walls.

Speaker 1 (28:25)
They're like, okay, sure, go for it. And the thing is, they love that.

Speaker 2 (28:29)
They just gave me permission to do this.

Speaker 1 (28:31)
Yeah. Literally everything I threw at them, they were like, okay, yeah, let's do it. There were like, some hold backs. I want to fill out the entire space with black sand, and I want to paint the entire Museum black. And I was like, okay, this is a Museum that goes against everything that's traditional. We need to do the exact opposite. They have white walls. We have black walls. But they were like, no, let's not do that. Let's not fill it out with Sam. I was like, all right, that's less work for me to think about. But yeah.

Speaker 2 (29:03)
Banksy once very famously released 100 rats into an art exhibition in London.

Speaker 1 (29:10)
Wait, no. What?

Speaker 2 (29:11)
Yeah. He has all this beautiful art hanging on the walls. It's crazy graffiti and just all the crazy stuff that Banksy does. And in the art exhibition, there's 100 rats.

Speaker 1 (29:21)
What? Why?

Speaker 2 (29:22)
Because he wanted to challenge people's conception of what it meant to go to an art exhibition. Do you have to feel safe to go to the art? Q Herring did all these paintings on the streets of New York. In order to see it, you have to travel on the streets of New York, which wasn't always the safest thing to do.

Speaker 1 (29:40)
True subways. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (29:41)
A lot of the most beautiful art is in favelas and places like that, and you have to get out of your comfort zone. You have to leave the shelter of Privacy to go and see the art in the world.

Speaker 1 (29:51)
Yeah. I've been thinking of different ways to activate the work within public spaces. It's been fun as well, but I haven't gotten to it. But ideally, I would love to see my banners displayed as a flag on top of a ceiling hoisted from a flagpole. Like interacting and dancing with the wind. Certain things like that I want to still activate within the artwork publicly. And it's like, yeah, like changing those narratives of, like, how is a Museum enjoyed and displayed? And so many people saw how because this basically is the quote unquote meantime program for the Museum. So they haven't put up the fresh walls yet. The floors got stripped of this crazy blue carpeting because it was like a kid's gym. The space is super wrong, like bare. And people enjoyed that.

Speaker 2 (30:48)
People perfect.

Speaker 1 (30:49)
People enjoyed it. And I was just able to have fun with it. Just, like, just drill a bunch of holes into the wall and just basically make it my playground. But the aesthetic works with the theme as well. I can't imagine it being, like, hitting as hard with these stark white walls.

Speaker 2 (31:08)
I'm also curious to hear about what kind of art you're most excited about these days, what art inspires you right now?

Speaker 1 (31:17)
Honestly, I've been leaning more into music. Yeah. I mean, I played the guitar growing up in the south and playing around with the harmonica just a little bit. But just having fun with producing music within the hip hop genre and bringing to life these soundtracks that I basically hear when creating the artwork, because when I imagine the artwork, it's like in its entirety. It's basically a film, and I don't have the budget to make this film, so I'm thinking of all these creative ways to get around that. So, like, I have the banners, I have the installation work, and I'm trying to create this theme and this feeling and this experience as if it was a film, but it's more so in person and interactive.

Speaker 2 (32:14)
Are the artists that you're inspired by right now?

Speaker 1 (32:19)
Honestly, this artist, Kara Walker, has been a really big inspiration for me. And when I get stuck in moments, I'll sometimes go back to her work and reference what she's done. She has a similar aesthetic of just using black and white and creating these images where you look at them at a first glance, and then you have to do a double take to really see what it is. I think that's kind of like the American experience. It's just like that first glance. It's like, wait, did that just happen? And it's just like seeing what it truly is for what it is. Finding those special moments and playing with the audience and the viewer in a way like that. I really enjoy that. So I referenced from her with more so a vibe. And then after that, I dive into the American traditional references of various different artists with books that I've collected and basically just asking myself or not taking for granted what these images are doing a little bit of research behind them and see if I can make this strange connection between this narrative. It's just like you could look at a sailor and see their entire life story at the sea, just like from their tattoos, and we see, like, an anchor piece.

Speaker 1 (33:45)
It's like this cheesy Popeye type tattoo, but it's like, oh, no, that means you actually cross the Atlantic. That's your badge of honor. So, like, finding the Atlantic Ocean and these narratives that have already been created and finding a way to bridge that gap with this African diaspora. It's just like it goes back to Privacy and captivity. Right. You have these individuals who have willingly volunteered to make this voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, and you have this other group of people who have been forced to make this trip across the same body of water. And it's like when you tap into being an artist, that's when you're able to connect dots from completely different polar opposite sides of the story. Right.

Speaker 2 (34:39)
Yeah. I think one of the main differences between indentured servants and slaves is contracts. This idea of, like, did you sign the contract? Were you forced to sign the contract? Well, at least you had the choice.

Speaker 1 (34:50)
Exactly. Yeah. I mean, shoot, that's another side of being an artist as well that I'm starting to learn. It's just like, take the time to read the paperwork like the devil is in the details, and you'll sign away your whole art practice to somebody without even knowing it. Thankfully, my manager has been helping me out recently with just, like, redlining certain things that just don't resonate at all. And yeah, it's just like, you have to like, I'm finding out the more as I'm venturing down this rabbit hole, being a full time artist, that most of it is not about the art.

Speaker 2 (35:29)
I remember hearing the locks on the radio and they were talking to P Diddy and they said, Paddy, we did like, twelve albums. When are you going to let us out of the contract? And PG and E says you're going to do twelve more because in a contract where he had, like 85 or 90% of the royalties for all their albums forever and they just signed the wrong contract. And that's something about the art world. It's about the music world. It's the same thing if you don't read the contract. One thing I've learned in this life is that contract keep friends, knowing what the terms you sign up for is really important. But also, you got to make sure you do honest contracts. You got to do contracts that you can believe in. Contracts that make sense to you.

Speaker 1 (36:09)
Exactly. And you got to have community, like, people to fact check and say, like, hey, is this something that's on par to what I should be signing up for? And I've had Homies just tell me, like, yeah, you shouldn't sign that because you're not getting what you're worth. So just having that community to actually keep this in check because artists, like, we don't have a Union or nothing like that, we have to talk to one another to ask, what are the price points that we did for a mural, for a design work? What do we get paid to even just drop the design? You know, certain things like that we have to, like, keep within this, like, bubble or process of, like, communicating, because without it, we just get screwed over.

Speaker 2 (36:59)
I remember Kanye West had this moment where he just tweeted out his entire contract and people got so mad at him, they're like, how can you do that? How can you put the contract on blast? And I had this moment.

Speaker 1 (37:10)
Why not?

Speaker 2 (37:10)
Why? I had this moment where mobile, coins, all of our code is all open source, so you can just see it because we don't want to have any secrets. And I just wonder what the music world, what the art world would look like if everybody just published their contracts. Would that be better or worse? Is the Privacy in the contracts better? I think on some level it might favor, like, the top 1% of artists, but it certainly is hard for the majority of artists because they can't look at the other people's contract terms.

Speaker 1 (37:37)
That's true. And, I mean, I don't resonate with the conversation of contracts. The wording is completely over my head. I remember it was like this one survey that I heard about where the actual number of people that read the contracts that they sign up for, like in a website or something like that. And it's just like, astronomically low. We all just accept and we all just move on and we just accept the terms and conditions for what they are. But it was like this weird survey or public experiment that they did were in the contract that said they were basically signing away their soul to the devil. And it was just like everybody just basically just signed their soul over and just I didn't even bat an eye. Like, wait, what is this? I don't know. I just want to use the app. It's just like, just keep it moving.

Speaker 2 (38:30)
Just want to use the app. Well, I just want to say this has been a sincere pleasure. Let me ask you, if there's one thing that you can leave our guests with about your art, about what you're creating in this world, what thought do you want to leave people with?

Speaker 1 (38:45)
I guess personally with my art. I just want people to feel engaged and enjoy or feel more enlightened of the experience of the African Diaspora. There's multiple elements to it other than grief. I try to paint this picture that covers all angles to the American African experience and just don't think about it too hard. Enjoy it. But, yeah, I'm always here for all the questions, if anybody has. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (39:21)
Chris, thank you so much. It's been wonderful to have you on Privacy as the new celebrity.

Speaker 1 (39:25)
Thank you.

Speaker 2 (39:26)
Just thank you so much for making art and thank you for being here.

Speaker 1 (39:29)
Yes, thank you.

Speaker 2 (39:41)
Our guest has been Chris Martin, a multidisciplinary artist based in Oakland, exploring the African Diaspora and many other important themes. We'll see you next time. Don't forget to subscribe to Privacy as the new celebrity. Wherever you listen to podcasts and check out to explore the full archive of podcast episodes and to catch our radio show every Wednesday at 06:00 p.m.. Pacific time. I'm, Joshua Goldbard, our producer, Sam Anderson and our theme music was composed by David Westbomb. And remember Privacy is a choice. We deserve you.