A Conversation with Mister Uncertain
Whether you walk or drive in Los Angeles, you've most likely seen the art of Mister Uncertain. He is one of the very few artists focused on animal rights.
After seeing his work around town, and then showing at The Animal Museum in DTLA, I reached out to him hoping he'd answer a few questions. Not only did he do so, but he answered them in a beautiful, thoughtful and honest essay. I hope you'll keep reading below to hear his story and what drives his commitment to activism through street art.
The right hemisphere of the brain is where I've spent most of my life. Art and imagination was meaningful to me from a very early age. In some form or another, I've always been creating art. I first got into street art in 2011 using casting techniques that I learned in makeup school back in 2007. I would cast objects and leave them in random places in the streets...ducks in puddles, human legs in bathroom stalls, stuff like that. I was vegan at the time but, didn't apply my veganism to my street art until about a year later. I still make other types of art today, like collages and paintings, but typically never show anyone.
My activism really took off after I made a giant sign to post above the freeway. These signs became my shtick for a while, knowing that thousands of people moving in one direction, looking the same way, had no choice but to read my message. I was already doing stuff in the street so it happened really fast for me. The more I created vegan related art, the more I realized that the methods must be strategic. My approach to the work is more of a broadcast than an art piece. I want people to hear and know that perhaps what they're doing is wrong and that they can stop it.
My connection was made early on in life, I'd say around three/four years old. I hated eating the food my parents gave me, it would make me feel gross. I don't recall how I was aware, just that I was. We'd sit down for dinner and it'd be something like chicken on the bone, porkchops, meatloaf, etc. I would tell my folks that I didn't want to eat veins or skin, but they'd force me to. My stepfather would actually set up a timer in the kitchen for like 10 mintues, and if I had any food left on my plate when the buzzer went off, I'd be sent to my room and he'd whip me with his belt. My dinner plate would go straight into the refrigerator and I would be forced to eat it cold for breakfast the next morning. Nothing like eating cold dead skin.
My ideas come from so many places. I'll dream up ideas, sometimes an idea just comes out of mid air. I could notice a particular area in the street that gives me an idea. Everything inspires me, because injustice is everywhere. If you put yourself in the position if the victims, you begin to invent ways you'd want people to defend you.
If anything, defending animals has moved me away from the so called animal rights / vegan "movement." It's not moving anywhere but backwards.
I move on the outskirts of anonymity, just like the subjects of my work- who remain silent and hidden from public view. Always have felt that it's important to have the focus on the message and not on me whatsoever. There is definitely clear tension with relationships in my personal life. I do not participate in family functions, unless it is vegan. That's my choice. But also theirs. Everyone knows, if they want to eat with me, it will be a vegan meal. If they can't have ONE vegan meal ONE day out of 365 days, then I don't think the issue is with me or my standards.
I have learned that most vegans are unaware of the enemy we are up against. The same thing that happened to the environmental movement, is happening to the vegan/animal rights movement. We have turned what should be a social resistance movement into a lifestyle. We are far too passive and our approach does not match the urgency at hand. Leafleting, speeches, vigils, art, education, videos, demos, protests, etc. They have a potential to change things, but not fast enough for the victims and now with the threat of climate change, for all life on earth.
Take the very best care of yourself and continue to advance cheerfully.
Here are some images of his work that can be seen throughout
To find out more, please check out misteruncertain.com