With the presidential inauguration on Friday, President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address is only a matter of time.
Until then, though, artist Michael Fischerkeller is displaying his series of paintings, “Our State of the Union,” from Jan. 17 to Feb. 9 in Slocumb Galleries. The work serves as an expression of the country’s current issues.
From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Fischerkeller represents the street art he’s grown up seeing by creating his works primarily in acrylic spray paint.
“I like the street art, because the street art is to deliver messages to present the conditions they face every day,” Fischerkeller said.
As the voice of the streets, Fischerkeller explains that street art isn’t typically seen by policy makers. By displaying his works in galleries, though, he hopes the people who influence our country will see the issues the average person faces.
Some of the issues addressed include social injustice, treatment of women and foreigners, government intervention of privacy, false sense of security and white privilege.
To Fischerkeller, these themes represent people’s lives, whether or not they affect the individual personally.
“How we live our lives extends into and is an extension of the state of affairs in our country,” Fischerkeller said.
With a Ph.D. in political science, Fischerkeller has had no professional training in the arts, but he uses his work as a second career that supplements his job as a defense analyst.
After receiving a personal calling one day, his mission has been “creating artwork that captures the complexity and humanism of important socio-political issues of our time,” Fischerkeller said.
Along with his paintings comes narratives. They can be read in detail on his website, where he goes into more detail about what the painting signifies. Fischerkeller isn’t like most artists, he said. He wants his themes to be clearly understood.
Fischerkeller grew up lower-middle class, surrounded by what Fischerkeller calls “blue-collar ethic.” To him, the themes he represents are both personal testaments and the testaments of the multitude.
“You’re affected by your environment,” he said, “and you affect the environment you’re in.”