#THEGUNSHOW

(Coming September 28, 29, and 30, 2018) Solo Exhibition, A shit show about America’s relationships with guns. FREE handgun for the first 50 people!!! R.S.V.P. for times and location. Pass it on.

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As a social impact artist, I create art that deals with some of the most important social, political, and ethical issues of our time, and is designed to create positive change through discussion and ultimately action.

To date, perhaps my most noteworthy initiative was Project Hello. It was an award-winning homeless outreach campaign that built awareness and compassion for those experiencing homelessness. And without spending more than a few hundred dollars on postage and envelopes, it was able to spread throughout 32 countries.

Unfortunately, for my next ambitious project, one that I’ve been obsessing over for almost a year, is estimated to cost approximately $5,000.

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Mass shootings. Thoughts and prayers. Hunting for sport. Lawmakers and the NRA. Social media. Hollywood. Apathy and action. Welcome to the new abnormal. Welcome to #TheGunShow.

#TheGunShow is a culmination of a lifetime of experiences around guns and the questions that surround them.

You see, I was born in Inglewood, CA and raised in Texas. For me, gun culture has been inescapable. From my photographic memory of killing a rabbit with a 12-gauge shotgun as a child and shooting cans with an endless array of firearms from my grandparents’ stockpile, to the time in high school when “going postal” entered the cultural vernacular, and to present-day headlines around gun reform continue to fall on deaf ears.

For the better part of a year, the political and ethical issues that surround guns have conflicted me and have been forcefully expelled through me. I’ve painted my haunting memories and visceral responses to the current news media.

I’ve defaced found photographs of mass shooters, celebrity suicides, big game hunters, dating profiles posing with firearms, and combined them with disarming movie quotes and contemplative wordplays.

I’ve designed installations based on public fear, anxiety, and apathy. And I’ve created sculptures mimicking politician’s tweets of thoughts and prayers, sports trophies touting the U.S.’s ranking in mass shootings, and more. All with the idea of marketing this newsworthy event much like a gun show would.

While my art provides more questions than answers, its message is clear. The time is now.

In fact, not even an hour before recording this video, I saw on my news feed that yet another mass shooting had taken place at a video game tournament in Jacksonville.

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I can’t think of any greater WTF moment in my lifetime that has been repeating itself with such increasing regularity than the growing number of senseless deaths caused by guns. I don’t know what the answers are but I know we can't stop discussing the issues around American gun culture until something changes. And we can start with our vote on November 6.

The complicated issues surrounding mass shootings and gun control need to be to at the forefront of the conversation.

We need action. And #TheGunShow is a platform that begs to do just that by inspiring attendees, particularly young social media-savvy participants, and offering them an opportunity to actively get involved with organizations that can make the change.

But to put on this 3-day event, and have the maximum impact, it takes support in the form of monetary donations.

This is where you come in.

Your donations will go to fund the $5,000 to pay for materials, production, space rental, security, insurance, marketing, and PR – and the team of people involved behind the scenes to pull off such an ambitious but worthy project.

For those who donate $25 or more, you will receive (1) one invite to the private opening on September 28 and (1) one of the following:  A limited edition enamel pin ("Thoughts and Prayers" or "Ban Ban Ban") or a 17"x22" Ban Ban Ban poster. (Your choice.) 

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Should we exceed $5,000 in donations, and I hope we do, I will split the overages and donate them evenly between March For Our Lives  and  Everytown for Gun Safety .

Time is running out.

If you can’t make a donation, and any amount will help, please make your vote on November 6th count.

Thank you.

Chad Rea, Social Impact Artist
Austin, Texas

P.S. No art will be sold or profited from at this event, so the income raised from donations are to recoup costs.