Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Interview With Suvo

Artist Suvo been carrying on a protest for artist's rights with the City of St. Augustine for almost two years. He was jailed for two days in April for displaying and selling art that was "not approved" by the City.

Q. What is this about?

A. I and other artists are adamant about our protected rights to display and sell artworks on public property. This is a free speech issue.

Q. You went to jail because of non approved art?

A. The ordinances are poorly written by someone who doesn't know the meaning of "media" and "substrate" The art that I displayed was a tapestry and this is not "on paper or canvas" as the ordinance describes "art".

Q. You mention other artists yet you seem to be the one that ....well for instance goes to jail. Are you a grandstander?

A. (Laughs) Grandstander? Well....maybe. I'm from the Midwest and we tend to prefer the quiet background, but then again we also tend to be righteous in our actions.

Q. That sounds fairly pretentious.

A. Ok, yeah it does. We have idiots and low characters as well. What I mean is that sometimes we are thrust into roles that we did not seek.

Q. Aren't you artists simply asking for a "free ride" not purchasing permits and just opening a gallery wherever you want.

A. We are not "asking" for anything. The federal courts affirm that certain art items are in the category of protected speech. (prints, sculpture, paintings, prints and other media) We believe that certain time, place and manner restrictions are valid provided they are not falsely intentioned.

Q. Meaning what?

A. Falsely intentioned. Lets say that you say we can exercise our rights but it must be At 2AM on a back street and only wooden tables bought at Target. Your intention is to eliminate my right to display and sell. What possibly is the purpose here in St. Augustine of the St. George Street restriction?

Q. You said "display and sell" doesn't that make what you do a commercial enterprise?

A. Yes of course. The sale of visual art allows us to make more visual art. Without commerce we would not be able to purchase brushes, canvas or paints? The newspaper vendors on St. George are there without permit because this is protected speech. Put in your fifty cents. We stand on the same principle.

Q. Does the right cover me selling World Wrestling Foundation Posters or Che Guevara T shirts?

A. Yes it does. It does not have to be your own expression but you will find that with product licensing and slim profit margins it won't work for long. Che Guevara T shirts? Political speech is protected. We will see the politicians in the fall with their "Vote For" shirts and they are likewise protected.

Q. What's next?

A. Three artists are going before St. John's County Judge Tinlin on Sept 26. He is to decide on the validity of the City's charges against uis. We are charged with wrong media, and wrong location. We'll see.


  1. Karl-
    Is this an excerpt from one of Suvo's radio interviews with Andy...oh shoot, I forget his last that it, Andy Johns??

  2. No, This is me (Karl) interviewing my master (Suvo) who edited out a few questions like. "Why do I gotta have a goddamn bath every week?". Freedom of speech my %@# !

  3. I trust the local judges about as much as I trust............................the local judges.

  4. Che doesn't belong on t-shirts and pajamas. How about Ayn Rand tees...

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe says
    wear a Hitler t-shirt

    revere a mass murderer
    proudly show your ignorance

    absurd thought -
    God of the Universe thinks
    let's PLAY communism

    pretend to fix the world
    by destroying it

    Capitalists Selling Communism