'Oil and Gas Building' by Shepard Fairey, 2014
18 x 24 Inches
45.7 x 61 Centimeters
Screen print on cream, Speckletone fine art paper.
Limited Edition of 450 (#363/450)
Signed, dated and numbered by the artist.
ABOUT THE ART
Industrial power has been a point of pride in America since the early 20th century, and many impressively iconic, if monolithic, architectural landmarks have been erected as symbols of industrial dominance. The Chrysler building, the General Electric building, and the Sears Tower come to mind. Dominant industrial forces may build great monuments to their success, but those physical manifestations of their power and ego often correlate to the dangerously disproportionate influence they have on politics and policy.
This Oil & Gas print is about the volatility of giving an industry with too much power the ability to manipulate politics in its favor despite the dangers to the environment and climate change. The situation is going to blow up in our faces metaphorically, and already has for too many people literally as well(remember the BP explosion and spill?).
A lot of people freaked out that the Obama administration lost taxpayers about 600 million by investing in Solyndra, a solar panel company developing a new technology, which went bankrupt. However, few people seem upset that the U.S, govt. gives approximately 25 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to the highly profitable oil and gas industries. The Solyndra investment did not work out, but the need to fund new, renewable technologies, should be obvious when the rapidly depleting oil and gas sources become more difficult and dangerous to extract every passing day. The only reason the govt. subsidies are so disproportionate is because of the massive power the dying oil and gas industry still has.
The Oil & Gas industry, which includes multinational and independent oil and gas producers and refiners, natural gas pipeline companies, gasoline service stations and fuel oil dealers, has long enjoyed a history of strong influence in Washington. Individuals and political action committees affiliated with oil and gas companies have donated $238.7 million to candidates and parties since the 1990 election cycle, 75 percent of which has gone to Republicans.
Though oil is finite, our reliance on it is so extreme that the power wielded by those who control oil is virtually unlimited. Oil and gas companies and the car manufacturers who profit heavily from gas powered engines used their power and influence to overturn a zero emissions law in the state of California, effectively delaying electric cars arriving on the market accessibly for ten plus years. It is dangerous for an industry to have that much power.
We need to cultivate renewable alternatives, and for the sake of the future, we need to push the govt. to support the developers of new technologies rather than subsidizing old fossil fuel models moving toward obsolescence.