2020 was one "hell" of a year (pardon the pun) and I created an artwork that captures the essence of the year. My intention in creating this artwork is to present a sort of collage of all the major events of the year 2020. We were given 2020 vision into some of the shadow aspects of humanity, and the view wasn't pretty.
On the left side of the artwork I created a drawing of Kobe Bryant, a retired NBA basketball player and his daughter Gigi who both passed away in a helicopter crash along with 7 other people. This happened in January and was a tragedy that shocked many of us. The helicopter above Kobe is a tribute meant to honor the pilot and all of the other passengers who passed away in the accident. It was a sobering reminder of how fragile and precious the gift of life is.
In February just as baseball Spring Training was about to begin, Major League Baseball opened an investigation into the allegations that the Houston Astros were illegally stealing signs from opposing teams using a camera system during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The trash can with the name "Houston Trashtros" on the right side of the artwork just above the riot crowds is meant to symbolize this.
The Houston Trashtros was a name baseball fans came up with in reference to the team using the banging on a trash can to relay stolen signs to their hitters. The smoke billowing out from the trash can represents how hot this scandal was and how it infuriated many teams, players and fans for the Astros cheating, dishonesty and lack of integrity to the game of baseball. The second zero in the year 2020 above the smoke is the Astros team logo with a trash can in the center. This is another variation of the team logo that has circulated in reference to the scandal.
Another name that fans gave the Astros was the "Houston Asterisks." Many baseball fans were upset that the Astros were not stripped of their 2017 World Series title. And so because of this, many fans felt that the Astros should have an asterisk next to their 2017 World Series Championship which will refer any future generations of baseball fans to a footnote which provides additional information that the Astros cheated their way to the World Series by illegally stealing signs in that year. The small asterisk in between the name Houston Trashtros on the trash can in the artwork is meant to represent this.
In March, baseball Spring Training came to a sudden screeching halt and the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal seemed like nothing more than an insignificant drop in a bucket when seemingly out of no where the entire world was flipped upside down on it’s head and gripped in the clutches of the Covid-19 pandemic and now death stared at everyone in the face. It seemed like fear had by far been the most infectious virus that had spread and contaminated the hearts of many.
The world entered a quarantine with many people wearing masks and practicing physical distancing as a way to protect themselves and others against this invisible threat. This affected the economy. Many businesses struggled and others had to shutdown completely. The first zero in the year 2020 in the form of the coronavirus spiked ball is meant to symbolize the pandemic.
In May, George Floyd, an African-American man died while in police custody sparking outrage, protests and riots around the world against police brutality, especially toward black people. It reignited the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement protesting against incidents of racially motivated violence against black people.
The portrait just above the crowd is a half face of George Floyd on the left and a half face of Derek Chauvin on the right who is one of four officers involved in Floyd’s death. This is meant to represent the racial divide that exists in our society. The crowd is obviously meant to represent the national and international uprising against racial injustice. The protests in response to this incident has been an ongoing event that has lasted for months.
The artwork at the top showing President-Elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump represents the 2020 United States Presidential Election which took place in November and all the controversy surrounding it, including President Trump and his lawyer's bizarre post-Election behavior and blind denial of Biden's victory, Trump's refusal to concede and cooperate with the transition of office, and the President filing dozens of legal challenges in several states as they attempted to reverse the election results which he felt was fraudulent.
There was a popular meme that circulated around the internet which asked "Why doesn't Trump wear glasses? Because he already has 2020." This is in reference to Trump and his self-assuredness that the 2020 Presidential Election outcome was already his. The stars and stripes on the number 2 of the year 2020 in the artwork is meant to symbolize the Presidential Election Year.
President-Elect Joe Biden’s facial expression in the artwork as he stares off into the distance is meant to express someone in deep thought as he contemplates and wonders about the future of America and the fate of humanity in this time of uncertainty with everything that's happened around the world in 2020. This is the human condition.
The year 2020 was certainly a very tumultuous year filled with many upheavals. I enveloped the artwork in a cloud of smoke to symbolize how stormy and turbulent of a year it was. It seems like humanity is going through a process of r(E)volution.
It’s a transformation and we’re experiencing the death and the labor pains of rebirth that many have called the collective Dark Night of the Soul which is leading to the great global spiritual awakening. And change isn't always easy. The transformation process isn’t always neat, clean and pretty. It can be ugly, messy and painful.
I’ve often heard the saying "It’s always darkest before the dawn." Meaning that sometimes things become worse before they get better. Well here’s to having faith and hope that 2021 will be much better. Let’s all remain relentlessly optimistic and help each other to make it so! "We’re all in this together."