fnnch, who grew up in St. Louis and still visits family here often, began his path as a street artist when he left to go to school in San Francisco. As street art occupied more of his time after college, he realized that it was not enough to just produce and sell art. His ambitious nature made him want to accomplish more. “I have been working on democratizing access to art, and finding other ways that art can have impact. I donate to charity auctions, and explore ways to have an impact”, says fnnch.
To him, street art is for the 95% of the population who will never have access to fine art. fnnch observes that in San Francisco, where he still resides, only one million of the 20 million that live or visit the city have ever been to a modern art museum. “Street art is not a substitute for a curated art exhibition. But that is a moot point if no one has access.”
fnnch’s work, on the surface, appears warm and family-friendly. But people can read more into the work and find a deeper message if they want . “I like to spread joy and make people happy. My hope is my art will encourage a culture of participation, and contribute to the dialogue.”
fnnch feels that, to a certain degree, he was sheltered from issues of race and inequality during his St. Louis childhood. He feels that today’s issues definitely seem to be related to equal treatment or equal opportunity, and that this manifests in many capacities. Regarding equal treatment, he says “I think of what happens at a traffic stop. The way I am treated at a traffic stop is different from the way someone else is treated. Our police officers should be peace officers. It undermines their ability to benefit society if they are treating people unequally in a systematic way.”
He goes on to explain that, from an opportunity standpoint, socio-economic opportunities define your educational opportunities. “For example, Ladue Clayton schools are better than St. Louis schools. It is clear there are problems, but not clear what the solutions are. This makes for a tense situation. When these issues survive long enough, the pressure builds up and eventually has to escape.”His task in creating art for StART poses new challenges for fnnch. “This will likely be the first overtly political art I will ever do. I usually stay away from overt politics, but for this, it makes sense to paint something unabashedly political in nature. It’s not that StART is political, but the issues are.”
Starting a dialogue is a positive outcome, and that motivates him. “We change our views through sharing information and discourse—any peaceful way to encourage that is good. If you get different circles together, you will find commonalities. St.ART will be a baseline to create actual understanding and move towards solutions.“