Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Small Space Lafayette Transcription.

Here are my questions about your riot police piece outside Sylvia’s Brick Oven:

Q:What is the title of the piece?

 A:   The piece did not have a title yet. In fact, it was not a complete piece. It was the first step in what was (or will be) a much broader and more complex piece, meant to reflect the current transition of what it once meant to be law officer in the United States compared to what it means today and possibly the future. 

Q: What’s your take on the recent proliferation of images of a militarized police in Ferguson?

A:    Mostly confusion. I (like anyone paying attention to American media) have been bombarded with images and coverage of this incident and its reactions. But honestly I have yet to find a truly objective stand point on what actually happened there, which is kind of terrifying if you think about for a moment. A lot of people are quick to jump to one side on a gut reaction. I'm guilty of the feeling, as I assume we all are from time to time. But I believe the truly responsible thing to do with that is to reflect on that initial gut reaction in whatever way we can. I  draw and write most of the time. The one thing I'm firm on; a family's child is dead, and no matter what this deceased person's conduct was before their death, the family deserves some answers, even if they do not ever truly get any. 
    To be honest, though, this whole idea of what I planned on making, really, wasn't suppose to be about Ferguson. Ferguson, like any sensationalized media event, is more of a catalyst to think about things that we usually like to pretend we do not think about.  Law officers are being militarized in this country and I believe (because every time I see it, it scares me) that leads people to an us versus them mentality when it comes to police officers. I will never have that thought because I was raised by a police officer -my father- and I know he's a good man. When I decided to draw that image, what I saw was a man, no doubt tired, but still completing his duty, whether he liked it or not. When I draw things, my ultimate goal is not to glamorize what I'm drawing, but ground them directly in reality and humanity. Sometimes I'm successful. Sometimes I fail. It's not going to stop me from what I do, though.

Q: Do you think police departments in the U.S. have a “bully cop” mentality issue among some cops?

A:    I do think some of places do, but not around here. I've been around enough places in the United States to know that Lafayette and West Lafayette are pretty safe places to live. I think police misconduct around here is more of result of frustration and human error. You do not have a choice as a police officer to deal with only the people you are compatible with. But because of that reason, it seems imperative that you know how to deal with those others that you are confronted with in the most rational manner.
Q: Why do you believe your piece was ultimately covered up?

 A: I would guess mostly frustration. I'd imagine, in a nation so plugged in as ours is to the free reign internet media, that many average Midwestern cops, who go about there day simply hoping they can get back to their home and families, are tired of being demonized by what something someone else has done. I put up  the beginning of that piece up for a reason, as you must already know. It's a police officer in a riot helmet facing a police station. It was just his face with that helmet on. In many ways it is benign,  but it raises a lot of unanswered questions about our current social environment as Americans (or at least I hope it does.) I'm really okay with that because it means that people still care; they are not always apathetic, even if what they believe is not what I believe. We are a part of history; we are a part of American history (and forgive the hyperbole) but I want to be a part of that American history in whatever way I can, no matter how minor. Is it a success or failure? No matter. As far as I can tell, it doesn't stop me from paying attention and translating what I see in someway that fits me, and ultimately, hopefully, it helps me understand the world I see around me. And having a platform makes me feel a little bit better 

 Q: What would you like to say to the Lafayette police officers who called to have the piece taken down?

A:   I would like to say, as I would say to anyone (police officer or not) "Please take a second to look at what you are actually seeing and let it set in before you jumped to conclusions." I have an art degree and the main thing I was taught about art in our times -beyond aesthetics and purity- is that great art inspires discussion, discourse, debate, anything but apathy. Whether it lasts depends on how history unfolds, but I'm not worried about that.  It won't stop me from what I do as pure meditation. The value of that is intrinsic to me.

Aaron C. Molden 

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