Category: Murals

Okey's Promise: Safe Animals – Safe Kids

Safe Animals Safe Kids

I am a mural artist. I like to create large scale public art that can be enjoyed by everyone, not just the select few people who make their way into a gallery or museum.

Most artists aspire to have their work shown in a gallery or museum. Not me. I would rather have my art seen on building on a city street where thousands can see it as they drive or walk by.

I also like to create art that has a purpose of motivating and inspiring people to make change in the world.

My artistic ideal is not exactly an easy path. Finding a way to finance public art with an altruistic purpose is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Typically, you have to submit laborious grant proposals or enter competitions to gain public art funding. Your chances are slim to none in such efforts, and your efforts are often judged by people who have no concept of what you hope to achieve.

If I take the typical route, it will take months to gain the funding, if I get it at all. There is a good chance that I would lose out to another worthy project, and my artistic vision would also be at risk of being altered by less visionary community leaders.

I have a passion and a vision with Okey’s Promise. It is a project that simply must be done.

I know that there are people who share my passion and are inspired by my vision. And I know that they can help me fulfill the vision. Are you one of them?

Are you intrigued enough to explore a bit more and join me in my artistic adventure?

Okey’s Promise is a public art project designed to create public awareness about the connections between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence.

These issues are deeply connect and need to be addressed together, not one in isolation of each other. When animals are suffering in a home or a community, children are likely to be suffering as well.

Yet merely sharing the facts doesn’t seem to get the point across.

Creating artwork that is highly visible to the community has a greater chance of connecting the dots for people. It is easy to ignore a fact sheet, but hard to dismiss a powerful public artwork that reaches out to you each day as you drive by it.

Please visit my Okey’s Promise website to learn more and to read about my unique plan for funding the project. You can also follow updates on Facebook.

Thanks. Your support means so much to me.

A Few Thoughts About Public Art…

Downtown Cats Mural
"Downtown Cats" Mural by BZTAT in Canton, OH

I am a big fan of public art.

I create it. I enjoy it when it is created by others in my own hometown. I seek it out in other cities to which I travel.


As an artist, I like to paint big.  I also like to include other people in both the creative process and the appreciation of my artwork.

As an arts enthusiast, I believe that art should be placed where everyone can experience it.

Lets face it. Only a small segment of the world goes to museums and collection galleries. A work of art that is located in a public place has the opportunity to touch and impact many more people.

As an enthusiast for community development, I recognize that public art makes a city more interesting, bringing more people to an area, enhancing its economic potential.

I think that more businesses should consider commissioning artwork for public view as a way to demonstrate their commitment to the economic development of their communities. (It is an added bonus that a public artwork with your brand’s name listed as the sponsor is very solid marketing.)

My city, Canton, Ohio, has an amazing display of public art in the downtown area. There are several large scale mural installations, painted trash cans and flower pots, large sculptures, etc.

It is even more amazing when you consider the fact that Canton has been beset by considerable economic hardship and unemployment during the same time frame that the Canton Arts District has sprung up. The passion of the artists, the county arts council (ArtsinStark), and the Canton Development Project has made it all happen in a relatively short amount of time.

And it has helped to revive a blighted area.

I frequently have out of town guests to our city stop by my studio and marvel at all the creativity here. Friends that I meet from all over the world through social media are astounded when they see and read about what is happening in Canton.

One would assume that the people of Canton would be busting with pride.

Many people are, but the critics and naysayers are there, loudly voicing their dismay.

I don’t get it, to be quite honest.

There are those who come from an academic and cultural perspective, claiming that there is no coordination and no review process for determining how public art gets commissioned and placed around town. Basically, if a building owner, funding body and an artist agree, and their are no architectural safety concerns, the work goes up.

There are also the wannabe big city “street artists” who are rebels without a cause, “tagging” public places with their version of graffiti art, pretending that there is some big “establishment” squelching their self expression.

The general public is surprisingly quiet on the whole matter.

To those critics on both sides of the issue, I say, GET A GRIP.

To the academics  — We are not New York City, for gosh sakes. It is not like we have to have masterpieces on every corner. (Although, to be honest, I think some of our public art pieces could hold their own in some of the cities around the world known as art centers.) And it is not like we have any works that test the sense of public decency. We do have quality work that is interesting to the people of Canton and out of town visitors.

To the wannabe street taggers — Grow up! Graffiti art is SO YESTERDAY. And no one is standing in your way of expressing yourself. Break the rules of art, but follow the law. If it isn’t your building and you don’t permission to express yourself on it, find a place where you do have permission.

Or else you can join the ranks of those who create prison art.

We need to have creative freedom, but we also have to have some degree of limits to maintain order. Every notable center of creative energy is going to have some tension between the two concepts.

But we could easily throw the baby out with the bathwater.

We could overreach and put too many regulations in place, which would put an end to this burgeoning, yet still fragile arts renaissance that is emerging in Canton.

We could allow a bunch of thugs to spoil it all for everyone by falling for their “bad boy” claims of creative restriction.

Lets just use some common sense, shall we?

I Need an Image of an Adoptable Cat for My BlogPaws Mural.

Digital Art by BZTAT

Can you help me out?

I want to use a dog and cat image for the mural that I will be creating at BlogPaws West.

Last night, I was going through zillions of photos of critters to use as reference images for the mural.

Then someone posted this sweet pup named Lorenza on my Facebook wall.

I thought, “She’s Perfect!”

LorenzaLorenza was found in Canton, OH and is looking for a home. The person who found her volunteers with Second Chance For Animals, and she has offered to pay the adoption fee for anyone who is one of my Facebook Fans.

Please let me know if you are near Ohio and are interested. I will connect you with the volunteer.

Now I need a cat…

Do you have a photo of a cat that is available for adoption that I could use for my mural along with Lorenza?

If so, post it on my Facebook Fan Page with some information about the animal and how it can be adopted by Friday September 3, 2010.

I will choose a cat to be featured in the mural from the photos I receive.

Since a big part of the BlogPaws mission is to Be the Change for Pets, it seems only right to feature pets in need in the mural.

I am looking forward to painting the mural, and I am looking forward to meeting you at BlogPaws!