America: Cover-Art by Regimental Oneton

Posted on December 19, 2011


“America” Cover-Art by Regimental Oneton

“AMERICA” Cover-Art by Regimental Oneton

I reached out to Montreal artist Regimental Oneton for a work of art that would capture the words and sense of “America”—the track written and performed by myself. In essence, I reached out to Regimental without hesitation, this was the exact artist I wanted in on the project, one thing led to another and bada-bing Regimental bust out his creative genius as seen in the above finalized product.

What is rather ironic is that Regimental Oneton did not hear the track; I basically described exactly what I was looking for to the fellow artist and musician. Regimental Oneton is one of my favourite artists within Montreal, I first crossed him while filming at Bad Weather’s (Rough Draft/Hadi Adel’s) first EP launch at Club Lambi. In a nutshell, Regimental was doing live art at the back, in this case, a decently large spray-canned canvas.

After having filmed the launch, Brosky headed over to Rough Draft’s crib and noticed the finished Oneton piece in Draft’s living room right next to his Mac. This was all it took to cement Brosky’s admiration for underground artists of the likes of Oneton who are True to themselves and their craft, in other words, artists who are devoid of spreading the whack fake shit. Flattery aside, Regimental is a hard working artist who is poised in making a statement within his pieces be they on canvas, on a can, a busted closet door, a trashbin, a subway cart/wall or just some fine slice of Italian imported paper. In this case, one will find a dedicated and determined underground artist who is prolific at what he does, and undeniably does it well.

Pacinocans by Regimental Oneton...

You know how some tribal societies to this day use everything they hunted? You know, after having hunted a giant mammoth, whale, tiger they make use of every part of the animal (i.e. the skin as fur, the bones as weapons and toothpics etc). Regimental Oneton uses everything cleverly, instant art out of discarded spraycans; a signature touch. Purchase a piece of art and get a Bubbles or Pacinocan, these are collector’s items capice…dont be a cheap mook, invest in some art that will last.

In context of the cover art for “America,” Brosky was in desire of an artist who is able to provoke and test a viewer/gazer’s limits while also supporting an artist honest to his words, brush strokes and can handling. There wasn’t an artist he wanted other than Regimental for this one, this is someone who imposes depth to faces, flawlessly and seamlessly rendering them vivid to life. In essence, the life-like aspect to his art is very striking, and in the case of “America,” the gazer will not be disappointed.

Brosky firstly described the following to Regimental in a rather brief email that is quoted directly as follows:

“…feel free to do your thing and have your own creative conception. I’d like a rope next to the marine’s M-16 to symbolize potential suicide as well as a joint between his lips instead of a cig. I also want vials of medication or pills to symbolized the screwed healthcare system and the medication they need to regulate the post-traumatic stress.

The joker face is what i want for the perverted politician behind the soldier and instead of Gepetto strings (Pinocchio’s father) i want tentacles (maybe penis tentacles) coming out of the joker-face politician’s suit moving around the marine with maybe an oil barrel in the background or Benjamins on the floor.”

From here, Regimental used a popular photograph of the US soldier mentioned. The photograph that Brosky used as reference for Regimental was taken from the battle of Fallujah in which a distraught US soldier is seen with a freshly lit cigarette in his mouth. It was Regimental’s former roommate Mike who actually noted that the photograph was from the battle of Fallujah, Brosky himself didn’t even know this.

Big Brosky asked Regimental Oneton to substitute the cancer stick with a doob.

From here, Brosky applied the blood splatter and bullet entrance wound at the right side of the soldier’s helmet to symbolize the aspect of US soldiers being sniped in Fallujah (as the battle for Fallujah was marked for its struggle with an unseen enemy as numerous US casualties were killed by sniper shots to the head). This was the pivotal battle that initially shifted US public opinion on the war in Iraq as WMDs were not found while caskets were returning to Arlington.

Blood smears and marks were added by Brosky to represent the loss of lives on each side of this US backed “War on Terror.” Moreover, the dripping blood was also an element added to compliment the aspect of dripping oil. Regimental Oneton’s rendition of the Joker faced figure to the left of the US soldier is haunting. To Brosky it resembles current President Obama. The more Brosky looked at it, the more it looked as if Obama was going to pop out the wall (as the piece hung on the wall of Regimental’s apartment).

This one is just here so you dont have to scroll back up, that is how considerate the Big Brosky hospitality gets.

The three figures are blackened. To Brosky it comes off as oil. Oil is dripping from the center facial piece, oil that is thick, mayhaps thicker than the blood that has been shed over this past decade of war. Here, if one looks at the oil and its significant thickness, one may assert that the oil is thicker than the blood and this is done for a reason: to make a statement—the blood being shed is not as important as the oil. Here the oil was the main precursor which parallels something mentioned in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” in which two US soldiers stationed on the ground in Iraq testified that the US is more interested in protecting the oil and the Hale Burton pipelines than the lives of its ground troops and servicemen.

The oil rig and gusher speak for themselves. Here the two are gushing oil mixed with blood. The three faces on the other hand are drenched in oil and US soldiers are the “minority troops” mentioned in the track who are pivoted in a war that is not being fought for “America” but rather for the blow:

…the big money lobbyist groups

that tally up invisible minority troops

[who must] swallow the umbilical juice

of unsweetened republican fruits

[they]wished upon devilish stars that shoot

beneath Hermes ties and Louis Vitton Suits.

The barbed wiring behind the three figures is placed to evoke the question of “freedom” or “occupation”? “Democracy” and “Liberation” or “Imperialism” and “Colonialism”? The US dollar bills scattered on both sides of the piece are purposely left scattered while also deliberately being faded. The money is faded in order to personify the aspect of a “mirage” or illusion. Here, the money is merely illusory…it is only real for the corrupt politicians and lobbyists in Washington, Baghdad and Kabul.

While the pills and viles of meds represent a flawed healthcare system it also stands in for the abuse these soldiers will face when they return to America; they return in a delusional state in which 1/3 of vets end up homeless and may even go as far as falling victim to drug abuse. The trauma and PTSD another aspect here, suicide has been symbolized by the nooses in which Regimental Oneton had cleverly attached as the ropes that bring up the American flags. As an Apache helicopter soars, it is the US soldiers that may be the True Americans that are deceived by their government. The M-16 and Kalashnikov are pivoted next to one another reminding gazers of the Cold War, while to this very day the Kalashnikov has become a symbol of resistance.