Normal History Vol. 562: The Art Of David Lester

Every week, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 35-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Mecca Normal has always been a combining of forces in terms of how we agitate as political artists. As the curator of this weekly column, I tend to put more ambiguous material with very direct work rather than matching conceptual intensities. For instances, the walls being walked in the song lyrics might be those of a bad relationship, a prison cell or a job. It isn’t clear. It becomes clearer in the proximity of David’s whistleblower art, but his use of language here doesn’t feel exclusive to that situation. In fact, the whistle could be more about daring to make a loud noise to attract attention.

Last week I was thinking about how women’s organizations might include a whistle on a key ring as part of a branded swag opportunity. The reference being: This whistle might save your life, might get you home safely without being raped or killed. Giving a whistle to a guy is a whole other thing. He’s more likely to think, “Wow, I can make a loud noise and get attention!”

This is one of my jobs. To deconstruct and re-articulate. This is one of the spaces I work in. Hello!

“Walking The Walls” from Flood Plain (K, 1993) (download):