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This painting is part of an ongoing series of paintings of Too Big To Fail banks on fire that started in 2011 and continues to this day. What makes this painting unique is it’s one of the largest in the series (33”x48”) and the only Citibank I’ve painted to date. I’m not sure how Citibank managed to escape my easel all this time, maybe their branches are particularly boring to look at. This being the first makes it extra special and, to me personally, it’s one of the most epic I’ve painted. The mother and child in the foreground take no notice of the raging inferno, they have bitcoin.
Plein air painting has always been something I have always loved to do, it means you bring your easel and canvas out on location and work directly from life right on the spot. Starting with the first one I did just that and set up directly across the street from Chase bank. The sight of my painting was enough to have police called to the location, they took an “incident report” and three weeks later Homeland Security detectives were at my home asking me “Do you hate these banks?? What are your intentions? May we come inside?”. I had a similar answer to their questions as Picasso did when asked by police about his painting Guernica. I didn’t do this, bitcoin does.
To this day the paintings of this series remain relevant with people around the world for two reasons: 1) Nothing that originally sparked the outrage to paint the first one has changed for the better in any way and 2) they are exceptional paintings and will stand out as works of art over time. The sheer audacity of the existence and acceptance of “too big to fail” and “too big to jail” along with the endless money printing and miscarriage of justice that maintains this ongoing failure is what spurs me to continue painting these pictures. The only thing that has emerged for the better in all this time is cryptocurrency.
The root of so many problems in the world today is the money itself, how it’s made, who gets it first and where that is spent. I hear the word “systemic” a lot these days and I’ll say this: the U.S. Dollar is THE Systemic Problem, it is systemic violence and inequality on a local and global scale. The grind of the USD system that the World is trapped in triggers a cascade of problems: depression, addiction, crime, homelessness, racism/xenophobia ad nauseum. Bitcoin is the exit from the collapsing system and the means to a never before seen era where the money power is in the hands of the People.
I’m excited to put this artwork up for auction for BTC, some old school non-fungible aka one of a kind painting on canvas meets the digital future of the Art World!
About the Artist
Alex Schaefer was born in Los Angeles, California in 1969 and is an active fixture in contemporary art. He can be found quite often with his art supplies, easel and a canvas on the sidewalks of the bustling city painting streetscapes en plein-air capturing the light and the movement with his outgoing style, keen eye, and skill as a colorist. In 2011 Schaefer gained international recognition for his art with an ongoing series of banks on fire in protest of financial crimes. His oeuvre is wide ranging from traditional plein-air landscapes, cityscapes and street scenes to figurative nudes, portraits and abstract and imagination paintings. His main influences are the painterly “old masters”, the early French Impressionists and the San Francisco Bay area figurative and abstract artists of the 1950’s and the London School.
More from Alex: Website | Instagram | Twitter
Materials: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 33” by 48”
Weight: 7 pounds w/frame
The Item is NOT reproducible. Painting will include a wet ink on paper signed Certificate of Authenticity.
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