This afternoon, May 7, 2012 artist Chris Drew passed away.
The most important thing to say is that Chris died as he lived, fighting all the way for the dispossessed and marginalized among us, for the right of artists to speak their mind and to survive. He died struggling to make sure the art patch project continues, and there are a number of artists beginning to organize to make sure the project does continue. He died urging that the legal battles he had entered not be dropped.
Before there was a national dialogue and a coherent cry on behalf of “the 99%,” Chris devoted his life to providing the artistic means for people to discover their creativity and to participate in the transformation of society. A long time colleague of Carlos Cortez, Chris lived the aphorism that Carlos was fond of telling as we sat around his dining room table: “Never become an artist to make a living. Become an artist to make a life!” While advocating for artists’ individual rights to make a living by their art, Chris never strayed from using art for change for all, and never left the section of society with and for whom he advocated.
Chris touched very many people in his journey. We will remember his strength, his audacity, his willingness to sacrifice, his ingenuity and persistence. We will remember his creativity, his art. As long as we are here, he is still here. Remember that he is still here, the next time you see another artist printing an art patch, when you see another art patch on a book bag or a jacket.