In 2000 Wilson co-organized the performance/protest series Art Strikes Back in response to the unprecedented and unrestricted level of gentrification and displacement in San Francisco during the "dotcom boom." In 2003 she curated and co-organized the international exchange and residency Sama-sama/Together, a collaboration between community arts organizations and artists from San Francisco (USA) and Yogyakarta (Indonesia) designed to foster understanding of Muslim and non-Muslim cultures following 9/11. From 2004 – 2008 she transformed her 1,600 sq. ft. living space into an installation that explored and challenged the meanings of “home” and “homelessness” through her project Home 1996-2008. Wilson has been a core organizer of the Clarion Alley Mural Project since 1998 and is one of the organizers of CAPITALISM IS OVER! If You Want It, an ongoing movement of interruptions/actions by artists from around the world in response to the need for a fundamental shift in our approach to Capitalism and the negative impact it has on the environment, health, and wellbeing of all. Wilson is also a writer and recently published The Gentrification of Our Livelihoods on Stretcher.org in June 2014. The article addresses how public-private partnerships between developers and the arts in San Francisco are affecting the gentrification of the city and our livelihoods.
My current work addresses the need for a fundamental shift from free-market Capitalism that puts profit before all else and negatively impacts the environment, health, and wellbeing of all (see my Points to Consider on the State of Free Market Capitalism 2014). We’re all active and/or passive participants in Capitalism. However, it’s not helpful to approach the existing system from a place of polarity - either you live completely off the grid or you’re a Capitalist. I’m interested in creative forms of engagement for provoking deeper considerations of these issues. Influences include philosopher and activist Dr. Cornel West, environmentalist Vandana Shiva, cultural critic and historian Thomas Frank, journalist and social activist Dorothy Day, economist, Raj Patel, social activist Naomi Klein, philosopher Slavoj Žižek, economist Richard D. Wolff, and economist Robert Reich.
Additionally, I’ve been a practitioner of Buddhism and Vipassana meditation since 2003. Both are closely tied to my art practice. I often create art that is conceptually rooted in elements of these practices and that is intentionally ephemeral or that I give away. Much of my work is no longer in existence because it was never meant to be permanent - forcing the viewer/consumer, as well as myself, to let go of any expectations of its monetary worth. This is not to say that I don’t appreciate or create work that’s collectible and/or consumer-based; I do create and appreciate such work. However, it is integral to my practice to challenge myself in ways that are always pushing me to evolve, including the creation of work that's impermanent or gifted.
The San Francisco Crappies 2015 - Anti Eviction Mapping Project
Piggy and Christopher Statton at the Pre-Crappies at San Francisco City Hall, 2015
SFCrap kicked off 2015 with the 2nd Annual Crappy Awards, the annual ceremony to recognize the worst players of the year in the San Francisco Takeover Venture. Up for nomination is Ed Lee, Airbnb's Brian Chesky, Uber, the Dropbox Dudes, Jack Halprin, Travis Allen, and more!
Piggy at the Pre-Crappies at San Francisco City Hall, 2015
El lema de este proyecto: si en la década de los sesenta las luchas eran contra las guerras, hoy lo son contra el sistema capitalista. ¿Se trata de una utopía o de un intento real para concebir una nueva sociedad? Hasta la fecha han participado más de 100 artistas internacionales con propuestas que van desde el comercio justo hasta los proyectos de código abierto.
The motto of this project : if in the sixties struggles were against war , they are today against the capitalist system . Is it a utopia or a real attempt to design a new society? To date, involving more than 100 international artists with proposals ranging from fair trade to open source projects.
When I'm not creating work in opposition to capitalism and in defense of housing rights, I'll meditate on another side of home that's a theme I often return to, especially when I feel the need for a space of quietude and reflection:
Growing up in Montana, I was surrounded by the iconography of the American West, and specifically that of the cowboy. Images of rugged men with their code of stoic endurance, self-reliance, loyalty, courage, and camaraderie, on horseback riding across the plains, wrangling cattle and spitting chew were everywhere - from the paintings of Charles M. Russell, Frederick Remington, and Will James to the landscape itself. However, what I remember being the most drawn to were the accouterments of the cowboy - the beautiful ornamentation and floral designs that adorned their trappings and presented such a delicate contrast to the rough and tough image of the wrangler.
You can view the new series HERE.
Who knew I was in Forbes earlier this year ... hehehehe ...
Nick Hanauer is a rich guy with a conscience. Over the last few years, he’s become the poster boy for plutocratic guilt, urging his fellow 1 percenters to get serious about surging inequality. In particular, he’s been a champion for raising taxes on the rich and boosting wages for the working poor.
But Hanauer is no bleeding-heart liberal. In fact, he’s driven by self-interest, not self-loathing. Rich people should be worried about inequality, he insists, not because it’s wrong, but because it’s dangerous. Continue Reading HERE.
About 15 years ago, during the first dot-com blast that unleashed a lot of money and greed in San Francisco, Megan Wilson started seeing a lot more people living on the streets of the Mission. And merchants and artists were being evicted from storefronts and studios on 16th Street as rents shot out of sight.
“The same thing is happening now, but on steroids,” says Wilson, an activist public artist whose gracefully crafted projects include various Clarion Alley murals and “Better Homes & Gardens,” her response to the 2000 Internet splurge and its fallout. The piece consisted of 250 hand-painted plywood signs saying “Home” — done in the font of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, with the “H” intertwined with flowers in the flowing style of William Morris — that appeared in the carts of homeless people and in windows of shops and restaurants threatened with eviction.
Wilson, whose Mission District work is part of the current “Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California” show at the Oakland Museum, has revived and tweaked “Better Homes & Gardens” for 2015. She and her boyfriend, Christopher Statton, a longtime advocate for the homeless who ran the venerable Roxie Theater for several years, are collaboratively painting 300 pairs of plywood signs in various languages, including English, Urdu, Chinese, Hebrew, Swahili and Tagalog. They’re selling them for $100 a pair. The buyer gets one of the images, and the twin goes to one of the local nonprofit organizations sharing in the proceeds from the artwork: Gubbio Project, the Coalition on Homelessness and At the Crossroads. Continue Reading HERE.
Drawing The Line by Eliza Ross, Llanna Lutz, Ali Deanne, and Paloma Tenorio
Christopher and I were interviewed (along with Chor Boogie, Nite Owl, and Howard Lazar) about art/graffiti/vandalism for this really well done short doc by Tamalpais High School AIM students - Eliza Ross, Llanna Lutz, Ali Deanne, and Paloma Tenorio.
MeganWilson and Christopher Statton in fron of their mural (with Mike Reger and Ronin Tomoshima) Wall of Shame & Solutions, Clarion Alley, San Francisco, CA, 2014, photo by Mabel Jimenez for El Tecolote