Jeff Tocci, Visual Truth-Seeker

Jeff Tocci was born in the foothills of the Adirondacks, next to a frozen lake, exactly at midnight 29 years ago. He hates Pollock for what he calls “his foul drippings”, while his own work seeks to provide a visual record of the true juxtaposition between life, imagination, and reality. The focus is an inner/outer play between our selves and our surroundings. People are frequently the main focus and Tocci’s thirst for Truth forces him to draw them in all of their shame and all of their glory.

Tocci’s main influences are artists who were pioneers in extracting Truth from their surroundings and include Bosch, Daumier, Grosz, Hart-Benton, Levine and Cenedella to name a few. Not necessarily an award strewn group or household names, but magical in their own sordid ways. And like these other artists, Tocci’s work is accessible for the common man because it deals with the daily lives and struggles of human beings. It is a visual record of real events, people, feelings, life. If someone calls it satire, fine, as long as they realize that Tocci’s satire is grounded fully in Truthful Honesty. If it is funny, or sad, or causes anger, it does so because the Honest heart of the subject matter itself elicits these responses.

Richard C. Root

Little is known concretely about the writer, historian, political addict and all-around rabble-rouser by the name of Richard C. Root. Sources say he is perhaps 30 years old, although he has never been photographed in public so it is hard to determine what his age or description truly is. The artist Jeff Tocci, Root’s frequent collaborator and co-founder of the ground breaking online journal The Firebrand, has claimed never to have met Root face to face. “We have never met,” Tocci assured a Senate Subcommittee on Degeneracy in the Arts. “Root sends me his words typed, single-spaced, on what experts assure me is a 1925 Remington Noiseless typewriter. They arrive exactly at midnight on the third Tuesday of every month in an unmarked envelope delivered by blind mutes. No return address is ever on the envelope.”

What we do know about Root comes by way of the only interview he ever did. The interview was conducted in total secrecy by a 17 year-old high school reporter. The girl, whose name has never been released, was blind folded and not allowed to record the interview in any way. She was found two days later, stunned and laughing hysterically, wandering a back road just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi. No notebook or transcript of the interview was found in her possession. All that she carried was an American flag and $2500 in cash. When she was able to once again gain possession of her faculties, she told an assembled throng of major media outlets that Root was “kind and gentle” but “somewhat off.”

“He spoke to me very softly and very sincerely,” the girl said via teleconference, her face masked. “He told me that he was a great patriot, in the mode of Tom Paine, or Hunter S. Thompson, and that the current situation this country finds itself in upsets and angers him. He believes we, as a nation, have failed ourselves.” When pressed by an alcoholic reporter from CNN to go into details, the girl replied, “I think Root feels he is waging a war with his words, a war not only with those in power in this country but with the cultural sewage that is marketed as entertainment and sold to the masses of degenerate mind-numb animals that call themselves citizens. Or something like that.” After the girl finished speaking, the press conference devolved into flailing ugliness as the press corps attacked each other like rabid alligators.