Normal History Vol. 563: 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 36-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Let’s boldly divide artistic content into political and not political. Both are utterly fraught with sketchy motivation, so this is not a good vs. bad scenario. I’m simply positioning myself to instigate the idea of posting one’s own work—cultural activism—on social media. Older work.

In the music industry, you are not supposed to promote your own work because you run the risk of having people see your motivation: greed, imitation, selfishness, cynicism, arrogance, etc. The urge to avoid being uncool in this way results in a lot of cloaking and posturing. It’s huge. It’s the overarching theme of the entertainment industry—a money-driven construct where agents, publicists, managers and stylists are hired to prevent journalists, fans and employers of stars from seeing what kind of person any given star actually is.

Political art doesn’t appear to be as governed by the same rules. It can be referred to by anyone in any generation utilizing the broad reach and longevity of the internet, and rather than it being diminished by nostalgia, it has potential to be used in ways we may not anticipate. All this clamoring for the next new, young, different thing is industry-generated scamology to keep money flowing into the kingpins’ pockets.

“On The Row Of Dials” from Flood Plain (K, 1993) (download):