Back in May, New York based artist Jesse Hazelip installed a massive mural on the historic Red Fort building in Venice Beach. Created in conjunction with the Venice Art Walk, Hazelip's mural titled 'Hearts of Oak' sends a political message of the excess and gluttony of Wall Street and the suffering of the working class that we as a nation have experienced over the years.
Statement from the artist:
The term “Bailout” has become a household term amongst the American people who lost their jobs, their homes and their savings to the crooks on Wall Street whose wrongdoings were answered with government charity instead of penance.
This mural, titled “Hearts of Oak” (Cockney slang for broke), depicts an aggrandized and inflated version of the pig to represent the excess and gluttony of Wall Street. The pig is being chauffeured in an ornately gilt vessel on the back of the bull, which I use as metaphor for the working class. Adorned with blinders and the bondage of a service animal (slave), the horns have been rendered useless leaving the bull vulnerable without any form of defense. My viewpoint is that the working class has suffered greatly, having carried the burden throughout the financial crisis while the leaders of financial institutions continue to profit.
Through an intentional use of recognizable imagery, I choose to create dialogue with a wide range of viewers, such as the working class, rather than communicating strictly with the art world. This decision is influenced and inspired by George Orwell’s book 1984, and the theory in the book that the hope for the nation is with the proletariats.
Image by Ralph Ziman