"People of the Sun"
My piece focuses on Rage Against The Machine and their song titled "People of the Sun."
The lyrics to this song are extremely powerful and I appreciate that a song carries a message calling us to social awareness and a need for change even in this progressive society in which we live. The concept for my guitar is to bring the lyrics to life from my point of view. I took pieces of the song that really resonated with me — and felt very personal to my own life experience — and in my own style I sketched out my design in a way that I could read and understand the song's lyrics and music by simply looking at the this one image.
A big part of my vision for this piece comes from my wanting to bring more attention to the fact that we, Mexican immigrants, are still treated as second class citizens even in a day and age where we're all supposed to be equal. Having immigrated to the United States from Mexico, I made the journey that so many dream of making. I came to Los Angeles specifically because of the ideals it represents: opportunity, equality and unity. While L.A. is a melting pot that brings together people from all over the world, Mexican immigrants are still, in many instances, at the bottom of the barrel. The song says, "With their borders and boots on top of us, Pullin' knobs on the floor of their toxic metropolis." So many have tried to keep us out of the United States, yet the ones who are here are the ones doing the work that others would rather not do. "Repatriation act" of the '30s, and today we fight many smaller battles with "rent studies" and "non-profiling raids."
My love for art is what helped my find my way through the educational system in Los Angeles. I worked hard and used art to make a change in my life and share my experience with others. Rage Against The Machine uses lyrics in the same way it is their music — their art — that speaks volumes of the society in which we live and how those with a voice, literal or figurative, should use it to shed light on social inequities and create change in us all. I can only hope that my images are as powerful as their lyrics, and that change comes for all the "People of the Sun."
Edgar Pasten is an artist and designer based in Los Angeles. Pasten has more than nine years of experience in the field of toy design. He is currently the owner of Little House Designs and co-founder of art collective 3CocoNutMonkey.