Urban Gardening in the Age of Trump

I’m bringing back the original selfie, the good ol’ self portrait. I have decided to paint some representational paintings and I am somehow always available to model! I think that the tradition of the artist’s self portrait has a lot to do with the fact that artists spend a lot of time alone working on art. It’s difficult and time consuming to find someone to pose for you, but we are always there and will pose for free!

This painting is 18″ x 24″. It is acrylic and 24K gold leaf. It is called Urban Gardener (In the Age of Trump). 

This painting is a representation of what it feels like living in the age of Trump in a major metropolitan city- while understanding global warming science and loving nature.

When I’m not making art, I spend a lot of time gardening. I have a tiny back yard that I manage to cram full of vegetables and flowers each year. I have also managed to plant 25 fruit and nut trees on my property. To say I have a love and respect for nature is an understatement. I host hummingbird, wild bird and squirrel feeders. I water and feed stray cats. I have adopted dogs. I feel very connected to the natural world. I feel its my obligation to try to make my tiny piece of land better than when I found it. It’s my obligation to help animals and add to the oxygen producing plant world instead of simply taking. And to be this type of person while watching the Paris Agreement trashed and the protections for wild animals and  parks and public lands being destroyed, is beyond heartbreaking. Then, there is all of the regulations for pollution being stripped away. The current president of the USA is ordering power to be purchased from coal plants- the number one polluter or air and water. It’s a step backwards. A huge step. Unsustainable and downright ignorant. Billions of dollars in clean energy projects have been scrapped. Our country went from being a leader in clean energy and climate science to an evil villain in a plot to damage the earth and all its inhabitants. It’s not only heartbreaking, it’s terrifying. It feels oppressive and suffocating.

This painting is meant to express that feeling of me trying to preserve nature from my itty-bitty, little spot, in the middle of Los Angeles, with the knowledge that if the current president is successful in his bid to ravage the work done to protect the environment, then there is no way I will be able to keep out the smoke and pollution.

I lived in Los Angeles in the 1980s, before protections were put in place that prevented automobiles and corporations from spewing exhaust and smoke into the air. It was horrible. There was so much smog that you couldn’t see the mountains that surround the San Fernando Valley. You would drive from Hollywood over the hill and the valley looked solid brown. Your car would plunge into the valley as if you were diving into a dirty swamp. The air was thick. I have asthma. I can’t live like that again.

There is a lot of symbolism in this painting. My fingers, of which 8 are visible represent the terror of the idea of potentially 8 years of a Trump presidency. He has done so much damage already that the thought of what he could do to the world and and in a lesser sense, to democracy in that time is overwhelming to thing about.

The tree branches serve as a barrier to the smoke from the coal- burning smoke stacks. The birds, also 8 in number, fly within the protection of the braches but they are also an omen of danger. I am huddled under the canopy of trees that I know won’t be able to protect me for long.

Yes, there is real gold on that painting.

I know Trump thinks money is what matters and he coats his properties and possessions with gold details, but without a safe and healthy planet with protections for nature, his children won’t even have a place to spend it. Gold doesn’t matter if the water and earth is polluted.

I will continue to protect the critters and the nature on my tiny speck of earth knowing full well that my actions alone are irrelevant. I encourage you who can vote, to vote, and I encourage the rest of you to resist the Trump administration any way that you can.

I hope you enjoy this painting even though the underlying message is somewhat tragic. Stay strong and take care of the earth the best that you can.

More soon.

PS: If you have been following my Lens feed, you have been able to see this painting from its beginning. For those of you who don’t know, Lens is an app included in Patreon that allows me to make short videos that post to my feed that last 24 hours and then disappear. It’s sorta like Snapchat or Instagram stories only it’s an exclusive feed just for my patrons. You can access it via the Patreon app or by going to my home page. I have been posting daily works-in-progress as well as little snippets from my life and older paintings that I have done over the years and just stuff I think is artsy and fun.  It’s especially cool if you like to see the art making process or if you just want to hear from me on a regular basis. I do encourage you to drop in on my Lens feed from time to time.  It’s a tiny but happy place, I promise.

Amy Roth

Amy Davis Roth (aka Surly Amy) is a multimedia, science-loving artist who resides in Los Angeles, California. She makes Surly-Ramics and is currently in love with pottery. Daily maker of art and leader of Mad Art Lab. Support her on Patreon. Tip Jar is here.

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