Two weeks ago, the spray painted phrase “Everything is Not Ok” appeared on the bumpy metal gate on Wyckoff Avenue and Troutman Street in Bushwick. The artist and Bushwick resident Adam Kiyoshi Fujita, aka Adam Fu, says he wanted to remind the society not to allow the irrationality of present-day politics to become normalized, even as it builds and snowballs in front of us. The message strongly resonated with many Bushwick residents who have been wildly sharing it on social media.
Adam Fu, is not a politician or a government official. He is a modern activist getting his message out the best way he knows how—through his art.
He has publicly demanded President Trump release his income taxes and has called for his resignation. He has stood behind the children of undocumented immigrants and urged Congress to pass the DACA program and save the Dreamers. As a football fan, he recently took a knee as a tribute to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He’s fundraised for Puerto Rico and prayed for Las Vegas.
“We are hammered over the head every day with the Trump administration’s inability to run this country,” Fu says. “‘Everything is Not Ok’ is a direct commentary to a governing body that is racist, homophobic, trans-phobic and any other negative term you can pull out of your hat.”
Fujita goes on to talk more about the shortcomings of the current administration.
“When [rapper] Pit Bull is helping out Puerto Rico more than the U.S, we’ve got a problem,” Fu says. “I mean, god bless Pit Bull if he happens to read the Bushwick Daily, but that is crazy.”
Fujita credits the name “Everything is Not OK” to Annica Lydenberg, his collaborator on the piece.
“The line itself is kind of punny. There’s some real levity to it,” Fujita laughs. “We thought of a few phrases but this one felt right, so we went with it.”
Armed with strong opinions and a can of spray paint, Fujita says today’s political landscape inspires his work. Fujita began spray-painting in Bushwick in 2007; today, crude walls and gates are his self-proclaimed backdrop.
“Whether it’s just one word or a phrase, it’s about encouraging dialogue and making it harder for this administration to carry on the way they are right now,” says Fu.
Originally from San Francisco, Fujita moved to New York City one month before 9/11. At that point, he says, “I’d been spray painting stuff since 1992.”
Fu is a product designer whose work has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s retail catalog for Keith Haring-inspired cookie cutters. He is also the creator and host of the podcast My Life in Letters. Fu describes it as a graffiti culture podcast dedicated to documenting and preserving the experience of a graffiti artist in his community. He does it by sharing stories to celebrate this infamous American art form.
“Even here in New York, we are not all on the same page so we need to start a dialogue and turn things around and make them right while we can,” Fujita says. “Get off the couch. Talk to someone. Write your senator…Make change?”
Making change is something Fujita can certainly be credited for. His message goes far beyond the community of Bushwick— it goes into hyperspace where he has thousands of social media followers from around the world.
Fujita’s mural has been up two weeks and there’s no telling how long it will remain.
“I’m not sure how long this will stay up,” Fu says. “We want everything to be a call to action and be encouraging so when that is no longer the case, we’ll move on and do something else.”
All images courtesy of Adam Fujita