TEDxJacksonville: Introducing the Speakers

October 18, 2014 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

TEDxJacksonville has picked an incredible group of people to speak at the TEDxJacksonville event.

Art, a Powerful Conduit for Change

Though much of his life has been spent as a graphic designer and critically acclaimed studio artist, it was Chip Southworth’s provocative street art that catapulted him to folk hero status in Northeast Florida just over three years ago.

In 2011, Chip was at the top of the local art scene, having just completed two major regional one-man shows. But the city was experiencing heightened racial tensions because Jacksonville’s City Council had again failed to pass a Human Rights Ordinance. Taking to the streets as “Keith Haring’s Ghost,” Chip anonymously painted Keith Haring-inspired pieces on public utility boxes in the dark of night over a seven-month period. The street art sparked conversation and controversy, culminating with a raid on his home and police taking the artist into custody. Chip’s identity and mugshot adorned the front page of the paper and newscasts for days, and spurred an unprecedented amount of public dialogue and support.

In the ensuing years, Chip’s artistic output has been prolific; his modern, large-scale works have been described as daunting, exciting and emotional. In his TEDxJacksonville talk, Chip brings us his experiences and explores the notion that by (un)learning the current laws and attitudes that govern street art, we can have a major impact on a city, its economic development, and its occupants, and even forge a new civic identity.

photo credit: Dennis Ho

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