Artist Kevin Champeny Receives Backlash for Piece titled Defiance

Sarah Rusali

Staff Writer

 

It is no secret that the 2020 elections have left a lot of people disappointed. Not only were people charged enough to riot at the White House, but many resorted to the media and their cellphones to spread hate.

Photo by Kevin Champeny from Instagram

Contemporary mosaic artist Kevin Champeny created a picture of Donald trump that consisted of tiny middle fingers.

This piece titled Defiance is 72.5” x 53” x 1” and is composed of 4,000 sculpted and hand-cast urethane middle fingers. Production for the piece started in June of 2017 but has recently been the victim of hate and a subject of controversy from the public.

During the 2020 elections, Champeny re-uploaded his art to the internet. Not expecting it to go viral, he received both love and hatred for the piece.

On November 7, 2020, he posted a video of the piece to his Instagram account @kevinchampeny. In the comments was a multitude of praises for the artist, one example being from @evolvedmagazine saying “This is incredible.”

Obviously many are left to wonder why this artist chose to depict Donald Trump, former president of the United States, with thousands of middle fingers. His supporters believe it is disrespectful and unorthodox.

People became upset with Defiance as it was a literal middle finger to the former president. What they did not know was that it was part of a political statement.

In Champeny’s most recent post, on the social media platform Instagram, about Defiance on February 8, 2021, a user by the name of @luckysvibe comments “What’s with people who think you’re an artist, you should stick to art and not politics.”

In an earlier post on January 6, 2021, he posted a photo of Defiance with the caption “Thoughts?” In the comment section, there were many people that expressed their disagreement, some more aggressive than others: @itzkrazymadz writes, “I hate this, you made this about the former president how would you feel about us making this about Biden […] this is a leader of the U.S. show respect.”

Champeny responded to @itzkrazymadz being very respectful of her opinion and explaining the symbolic meaning of Defiance.

Photo by Kevin Champeny from Instagram

Along with Defiance was another piece titled Defiant.

It is the same as the one that depicts Donald Trump, but instead, a photo of Hilary Clinton.

Champeny did not intend to state his political agenda of the 2016 presidential election and support either candidate, merely to show the craziness of the whole situation.

In an article asking about his disapproval for the candidates, he explains, “I do not necessarily disapprove or disagree with either candidates […] Defiance and Defiant were built to represent that conundrum. I wanted to build a piece in which two people with opposing viewpoints could look at and both say ‘I love this’, but for completely different reasons.”

He later goes on to say that it is all about the perspective in which you view the pieces. The title could mean anything: the viewer is defiant to the politicians or the candidates are defiant. The way in which the pieces are viewed was not meant to spark such controversy but merely to acknowledge, “the political system we seem to find ourselves in these days.”

 

Featured Image, at the top of the page: Photo by Kevin Champeny from Instagram

One comment

  • So well said and written. Kevin isn’t making a statement but letting the viewer decide for themselves.

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