Wednesday, October 4, 2023

The Velvet Bandit Returns to Her Hometown of Willits to Sprinkle Joy and Put the Supreme Court on Blast

All of the art in this article was pasted around Willits over the Fourth of July weekend [All images provided by the Velvet Bandit]

The Velvet Bandit, Mendocino County’s homegrown street artist, has once again adorned some of Willits’s drab municipal surfaces with her vibrant paste-ups.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, Velvet told us she returned to her childhood home of Willits to spend time with family and in true guerilla artist fashion blast her art around town for the citizens of Willits to enjoy.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of the long-standing Roe v. Wade decision, Velvet’s work has leaned into the national conversation. In a punny roast, only the Velvet Bandit can pull off, one of her paste-ups depicted a hardshell taco emblazoned with: “I’ve had crunch wraps more supreme than this court.”

Velvet told us, “Being a mom of a teen daughter and having a niece who is 19, I find it incomprehensible that they now have less rights over their own body than I have had my entire life up until this point. They’re outraged and saddened over this ruling, as am I.” She will use her art to tell the world advocates of reproductive rights “will not go quietly and that we’re in this fight together.”

One particular paste-up had special significance for Velvet, her painting of sweet pea flowers which she said are pasted at the “bottom of Sherwood Road, the road I grew up on.” She painted them “in loving memory of my mom. They were her favorite flower.”

Putting her money where her mouth is, Velvet told us 10% of all the sales on her website are being donated to states that have been “immediately impacted by the abortion ban.”

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The Velvet Bandit works during the day as a school lunch lady. In her off hours, she contemplates ways to spread joy and evoke thought with her paste-ups, a medium that involves painting her images at her home studio and then using wheatpaste to adhere her art to banal municipal surfaces.

Her art pops with bright, vivid colors and the use of pop culture to draw the eye and beautify public spaces. This aesthetic stands in contrast to the many dark and gritty street artists that have popularized the genre.

Velvet’s progressive political beliefs also inform her art with commentary on COVID-19, Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter, and reproductive rights sprinkled throughout her pieces. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez took Velvet’s prominence to new heights when she wore a dress adorned with the words “Tax the Rich” in a font exactly like Velvet had inscribed on some of her art. 

She has told us in past interviews about Mendocino County’s unique ethos and its influence on her art: “My art tries to be fun and give good vibes. That’s what Mendo means to me.”

Velvet’s influence and vision have continued to grow in the street art world. Recently, she was interviewed by a university-produced podcast about the work she created in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Parts of that interview and her art will be included in a college textbook, which she said is the “biggest honor I’ve received yet!!!”

Next week, she will be attending a lunch lady convention. “But after I return, I’ll be working hard on getting things ready for my art show coming up at Moonlight Brewing Company in August,” she said. “Never a dull moment for the Bandit, I tell you what.”

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  1. Street art is still vandalism and abortion is still murder.

    Use birth control to prevent pregnancy. Not abortion to murder. Or how about getting your tubes tied? Street art may be pretty, or may be not. But murder is never pretty, no matter what you call it. There may be rare medically necessary abortions but how many of these murders are just “unwanted” pregnancies that could’ve been prevented? Be honest…

    The womb is OBVIOUSLY a SACRED PLACE to nurture and grow a life and that is a priceless privilege only given to women, and a great responsibility.

    You will take it up with your Creator so think and pray about it before you violate this sacred privilege to carry a human life.

    Women cover your bodies in public and be decent. Keep your legs closed. Men stop raping girls and women.We are a wicked nation full of lawlessness and indecency. That’s why we have the the problems we have.

  2. I don’t find all of this vandals art attractive. Some of it is just corny and an eyesore. Some of is cute.

    I’m just curious, are you promoting abortion and vandalism Matt? And weed?

    I’m pretty sure if I started pasting beautiful spiritual art ( and MY opinions 😂) on other peoples property I’d be busted for vandalism.

    • Your right wing stance & beliefs in your book of magic, aka the Bible, dont trump an individuals right to make & execute, no pun intended, an informed decision. You don’t like abortion? Don’t get one! It’s that easy. We’ll all go to hell while you bask in the glory of god👎…separation of church & state, buddy.

    • Promotion? Hardly. Street art is a vibrant counter-culture worldwide, and documenting Mendocino County’s own practitioner is the exact type of hyper-local coverage I want to provide. Vandalism? Maybe. Law-breaker? Sure. Worthy of prosecution? We’ve got way bigger fish to fry.

      The thru-line of my political beliefs is a healthy skepticism of government power and intrusion into personal decisions. I do not believe legislators should govern the substances we use or the medical treatments we receive. Does that mean I actively promote abortion? No. I’m a proponent of Bill Clinton’s phrase “safe, legal, and rare.”

    • Local, you can cut the bullshit now, alright? Your zealously is ugly, ignorant and unwanted. You turned some mild vandalism/street art into a soap box to spout off about abortion? Give over. Go be angry somewhere alone. Quietly.
      Bye! <3

  3. We (most humans) don’t need the Bible to tell us the difference between right and wrong. We have common sense AND a conscience! Do I believe in God and the Bible? Yes I do. Now that I’ve had a PERSONAL experience with The Creator. That’s a safe ASSUMPTION you have made. HOWEVER, I made my decision about abortion many many years before I read the Bible.

    Nature and common sense told me then and still does today that life in general is a miracle and the womb is a SACRED place where life is to be NURTURED.

    It’s a gift. Someone said previously in a different post, you who believe in abortion do what you believe and go abort yourselves.

    As stupid as that sounds it makes a lot of sense.

    They also said do what your mother does not believe in. Which I also thought it was quite sensible. Obviously your mother did not abort you but maybe she should have?

    You can label me ALL DAY LONG….if that eases your conscience. ☺️

    • The Bible is filled with war, human sacrifice, murder, rape, genocide & many other atrocities. Many of which were commanded & rewarded for by God! I dont think he/she or it holds life to be as precious as you may think. I dont think most people take the act of getting an abortion lightly. Its a very personal & private decision. One made for any number of reasons. I respect your beliefs, both religious, political & philosophical, & i appreciate your ability to articulate your points intelligently & rationaly. I just want freedom, within reason, for women to make the best decision for themselves…as for the artwork, i think its vibrant, fun, funny & poignant at times. Its not gang tags or rocks through windows. Lighten up people! The world needs more velvet bandits

      • Here’s the thing….Society is running a “bad decision” poop show and the trend is not slowing.

        I’m speaking for the tiny voiceless human beings being literally torn apart, limbs from their tiny bodies. Murdered. Before you have an abortion please look into what really happens. Please listen to their tiny heartbeats. Then make your decision. PLEASE. When do they get a choice??? Who can hear their tiny voiceless cries?

        As far as street art goes. It’s still vandalism. Period. When did that become ok just because some think it’s cute? Honestly, if the art vandal posted up on my stuff… I wouldn’t be happy about it. I like my stuff the way it is.

        “And lawlessness shall abound.”

        ALL life is a miracle. Bible or no Bible. It’s a miraculous thing. It’s precious. And it’s but a vapor. Here today and gone tomorrow. So live and let live. I guess I have a God given ability to appreciate life. And I do my best to honor all living things.

        We, as a human race are trending towards the complete devaluation of life. And we can all see where this is going.

        Life is a precious gift. Let’s honor that gift. And if you can, try to honor The Giver of that gift as well.

        Of all species, we are the most reckless.

        Just my 2¢.

      • People need to use birth control. Abortion is senseless murder. Truly medical abortions are possibly an exception. But being careless and irresponsible does not qualify you for one of those.

        An ounce of prevention is worth way more than a pound of cure!

        Let us reason together….☺️

  4. I dig it. I love her piece with a bong full of ‘Trumps Tears’- a response to people cleaning their guns with oil of ‘Obama’s tears’
    Oh and public service announcement, a woman and/or a girl ‘gets’ pregnant when a man ejaculates inside her. It’s time to educate young men on the sacredness of their seed, and the recklessness of using someones body for pleasure without having to endure the consequences.
    Fathers Against Reckless Seminal Emissions

    • @Billy, That, In my humble opinion is an incredibly WISE and ADMIRABLE thought and statement concerning seed deposits. Your comment inspires me, Thank you!

      And SACRED SEED & SACRED WOMB movement needs to happen. Now.

      • You’re serious? They weren’t on your side at all…. Come on, are you that oblivious… right?
        @Billy Right on, man.

  5. Let’s hope that Mendofever isn’t going full-on woke. If Velvet wants to get rid of her grandchild Velvet’s daughter agrees, they can get an abortion in California up to nine months. Since there is nothing in the constitution vis-a-vis abortion, that determination has returned to the states, and, sadly, on both sides of this issue extremists are not even attempting to compromise. The majority are hardliner, kill-the-fetus-at-any-time-you-want faction entrenched in the militant, undemocratic, mob-rule, eliminated-the-supreme court left. Imagine: art extolling death. Death. If the deaths were baby harp seals, the left would screaming murder to the sky.

  6. Art is in the eye of the beholder. How is this not grafitti and vandalism? Explain the difference here. If she has the property owners permission that’s fine, but public spaces should not be defiled. What message are you sending to everyone, its ok to be disrespectful, ok to vandalize in the name of art? What is wrong with this world.

  7. If you’ve had an abortion please speak out about any trauma it has caused you. So others will know the hidden truths of abortion.

    The abortion industry doesn’t tell you the truth and it’s too late after the fact.

    I know people who are always gonna carry the pain their “abortions” have left behind in their hearts❤️‍🩹💔❤️‍🩹I’m not judging people, I’m trying to warn you. You can’t change the past. But you can change today. I have my own scars from losing loved ones to abortion.

    All I’m asking is please DONT use abortion as birth control. Please consider preventing unwanted pregnancies. Or adoption.

  8. It’s graffiti…. and looks terrible in our small town.. just because she grew up here doesn’t make it ok to wrap the town in graffiti… I don’t get it… if you have a stance then write a book, make a blog, but keep the “art” off the walls of private property. Not to mention, not everyone agrees with the stance that she takes. Is this any different then blasting vulgar words, gang signs, drugs, sex, etc… on the walls of our town? Nope… and it saddens me that because it’s colorful its ok… NO, it is not ok. How about she open an Art Studio in Santa Rosa and welcome those with her views to come there and share the support. I love her passion but hate the tacky art on our town walls.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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