A group of street artists from Los Angeles and Oakland have combined graffiti with activism to help in the battle against GMOs. The group of artists included the names Mear One, Vyal One, Werc, Griffin One, and Ernest Doty. Last year, the group posted a video of them creating two murals in support of California’s Prop 37, which, if passed, would have made it a requirement for companies to label food made with genetically modified ingredients.
The video began with Ernest Doty reading from the back of a Trix cereal box: “Ingredients: Whole grain corn, sugar, corn meal, corn syrup, canola and or rice bran, oil, salt, trisodium phosphate, red 40, yellow 6, blue 1 and other color added, natural and artificial flavor, citric acid, malic acid, BHT. You’re being tricked.”
He then pulls the bag of multicolored artificial food puffs out of its box to show the camera. “That’s what’s inside. That’s what they’re giving your kids there. Looks like spray paint,” he said.
Mear One explains the reason for their work, “We want everyone to wake up, we want to wake up ourselves. Waking up is living a real life. Getting information to people is complicated you know, depending on which country you’re from, what ethnicity is your background. How you’re used to communicating your stuff to people. I just learned this recently. You can’t just go up to humans and treat them like a human and say here’s my idea. They aren’t going to see it. So I think you have to use all forms of media.”
Referring to the then-ongoing Prop 37 campaign, Vyal said, “So California is the first state to have the ballot initiative to label GMOs. Right now, there is no mandatory labeling of it so they can still be passed anywhere. I think its important for people to know what they’re putting into they’re bodies as well as to know what … GMO is because a lot of people don’t even know what it is.”
Doty: “You know, literally you are what you eat, every seven years, every cell in your body is replaced by the foods you intake, the water you drink, the environment you’re exposed to, everything that you take into your body. So, by filling your body with GMOs and by not being aware that they’re even in the foods that you’re eating, you’re essentially replacing your cells, your new person, every seven years, is going to be all this polluted shit. We’re literally just a science experiment for them. They’re like, ‘Well we’re not sure what it does, so lets just feed it to them and make a few million dollars and in the end we’ll figure out, you know, what works and what doesn’t.’ And it doesn’t matter as long as they make their money.”
Mear One: “My mural here is a protest and its an action against the world that mindless Americans are allowing to be built up around them. Prop 37 is about putting a mark on all of our food products that declares whether it does or doesn’t have GMOs in it. I think that’s the first step at attacking and destroying or dismantling the actions that Monsanto’s trying to create. If we continue to ingest stuff like this, we’re just going to become lab rats.”
Vyal: “We’ve gone ahead and labeled them ourselves. The GMOs. I would actually encourage people to make little GMO stickers and if you go to a market that you know has GMO products, just go ahead and label them on their own.”
Griffin One said, “It sucks to be the brunt end of an experiment. Growing up, I feel like, specifically, our generation was the first to be tricked. We were the ones fed that, you know by our parents. Now, as we’re growing up, we are seeing that this shits bad, there’s side effects to it, you know what I mean? Its not good food. We need to change something and I think it’s up to our generation to make that change.”
The murals painted by the street artists, while visually captivating and able to illustrate the issue well, were unable to convince the general public to vote yes for Prop 37. There will undoubtedly be more debates concerning GMO labeling in the future, and hopefully, more people will take this video as an example and become more involved.