Artist behind “All Lives Matter” cardboard figure spotted under Metra viaduct on 51st Street comes forward with message
By TONIA HILL
A local Hyde Park artist, known as “Crave Chicago” announced this afternoon that he is the one behind the “All Lives Matter” figure that was found Wednesday morning, March 15, on East Hyde Park Boulevard, east of South Lake Park Avenue.
The figure, according to reports, was painted with the words “All Lives Matter” and was found hung with a cord around its neck under a Metra viaduct.
The figure was removed at about 12:15 p.m., according to a Metra spokesman.
Crave stated that the message being portrayed in his piece is being misinterpreted by the public. The figure he created is in counter protest to the many sightings of White Nationalist posters found of the University of Chicago (U. of C.) campus and even in his own apartment building in Hyde Park.
“There’s a swastika in my building,” Crave said. “It’s everywhere. There are White Supremacist flags I took down from posts and trees in the summer. I took down one swastika and one racist poster on 53rd. The poster was by the university [U. of C.].”
Crave said it did not feel like enough to simply take down the posters. He felt he needed to do more.
“I figured I should make some louder and brighter art,” Crave said. “To let whoever it is that is putting up all these swastikas and white supremacist posts know that there’s someone louder and more effective and talented that’s not going to let them be seen and heard without someone retorting.”
The phrase, “All Lives Matter” is seen as disruptive and used by those opposed to the “Black Lives Matter” movement. “Black Lives Matter” is an affirmation for the African American community declaring that their lives matter despite deep seated and widespread racial and institutional discrimination nationwide, specifically in interactions with the police.
Typically, projects take no more than an hour to complete. This particular one took weeks of planning. Crave said All Lives Matter isn’t a real movement that is the reason he depicted it as he did.
“It’s not a real thing there’s no group there’s no movement,” he said. “It’s just trying to negate that “Black Lives Matter.”
The federal government in Washington, D.C., according to Crave houses people that believe that “All Lives Matter.”
The red, white, and blue figure was depicted with stars and stripes like the American flag with “All Lives Matter” written across its left arm and side. The figure was hanging from a cord wrapped around its neck.
“Our government is supporting people that support “All Lives Matter,” Crave said. “I used red tape because we are caught up in red tape now with our current president. The reason he is being hung by a phone cord is because no one is making the right calls and that’s the current noose now. It’s not just blatant racism they are making phone calls and that wherein lies all the power.”
He said he wanted to show through the piece that American freedoms are being hung up with red tape and he is surprised that the message is unclear and that people are viewing it as pro-White Nationalism.
Crave did not tag the piece with his name because there was not a good place for it on the piece and he did not want people to think he supported “All Lives Matter.”
Crave has placed other pieces in areas outside of Hyde Park but plans to center future works in Hyde Park.
“Hyde Park is a microcosm of everything that is good in Chicago,” Crave said. “I’m used to seeing white supremacists in other parts of Chicago, I’m from Wicker Park. I really can’t deal with the swastikas in Hyde Park.”