collaboration with Eric Baillies - photographer based in Madison, WI
oil paint pens over long exposure photo - f/14 15seconds ISO 400 - taken February 04, 2011 during Act 10 protests inside the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin
4 foot by 6 foot canvas
Eric on his thirty straight days of shooting photos:
"Craig Grabhorn and Nina Bednarski were creating art in the street (spray paint and stencil "SERF" signs & "trap the rat" screen print) giving them away, creating interactive art pieces that by design allowed others to participate as I photographed. The message and energy that was surrounding the capitol was felt from what was going on politically, which pushed and pulled the message of the art to interact with. As a photographer it was some of the most compelling and heart felt images I have ever created. The sadness and utter disbelief for other people was crushing and extremely divisive to witness. This collaboration is proof to the importance of human interaction and connection we need to remember to honor, for those who have sacrificed for their loved ones in the past."
The characters are drawn in a continuous line style demonstrating the unity of the protestors through literal form. They fill the marble floors going up to the hard edges of the signs - squishing together like the protestors. Certain people have faces inside of them representing the presence of those they are fighting for. The man kneeling was on a hunger strike and the circular face with protruding teeth on his stomach - separate from the other faces - symbolizes this sacrifice.
This collaboration to me celebrates the culture in Madison that amplifies voices of those that need it. Being a high schooler on the west side of Madison during the protests, I did not interact at the time. My family, first generation immigrants from Romania, turned away from left leaning, protest, "fight the man" ideas due to their experience of living in a crippling communist society. USA was the man, and the man was good.
After going away to college in Minnesota and moving back Madison, I found the culture of fighting for rights and being a loud voice in the middle of the country to be a genuine feat of my city that I had overlooked. Having been raised on the other side of town in a different atmosphere - my privileged perspective led me to sign my name underneath a rat tail I drew, an homage to the "trap the rat" screen-printed posters - a reminder of the power to acknowledge the monster or “rat” in ourselves as well as in corrupt government leaders.
- Stefan Matioc