It only took Trey Wilder three hours to create a work of art that is still setting social media ablaze.
On Friday, the Arlington-area native went over to the Fabrication Yard, located in the Trinity Groves area of Dallas near an intersection of Interstate 30 and Interstate 35.
Armed with just 8 spray cans worth roughly $64, he produced a six-foot-high, ten-foot-wide mural that depicted Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the iconic image from Jordan Peele’s Academy Award-winning film “Get Out.”
Peele’s film is a dark mix of horror and comedy that provides a unique approach to examining cultural and societal issues regarding race and stereotypes.
Wilder is a Cowboys fan and understands Prescott must do what’s best for him. However, he has his own opinion on Prescott’s comments and the quarterback’s potential reaction to the depiction.
“Honestly, I know he’s a superstar, but I’m not scared of Dak Prescott,” Wilder told the Star-Telegram. “But like in the movie, maybe [the piece] will be a flash for him. I think, with that platform, it was just weird how he dismissed the whole situation, especially being a black man himself.”
At the beginning of training camp in Oxnard, Calif., Cowboys owner Jerry Jones strongly re-stated his team’s zero-tolerance policy regarding standing for the national anthem. Last week, Jones said he would no longer talk about the issue after the league told him to stop. The decision prompted one local news reporter, Fox 4’s Mike Doocy, to cancel his interview with Jones.
The movement of players kneeling during the anthem started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and continued by many players across the NFL last season remains a contentious topic across the world of sports, politics and society.
At training camp, Dak Prescott agreed with Jones, stating that he doesn’t think that NFL games are the right place to perform protests against social injustices. He also said the protests take away from the experience of those watching and playing the game.
After facing backlash across a number of media platforms from fans, celebrities, politicians and fellow NFL players for his initial remarks, Prescott told the Star-Telegram that he was “misunderstood.” However, he still believes in standing for the anthem.
Wilder earned a fine arts degree from Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas.
“I’ve got a talent and I realized there’s a market for what I do,” Wilder said. “It took some time, though, and it’s not easy…I put it on the back burner because I didn’t think I could make a living doing something like this. But it turns out [with] social media and having an online presence, anything is possible.”
His first bit of inspiration for his latest work came Friday morning after he watched a YouTube video of “The Breakfast Club” podcast. In that production, Charlamagne Tha God criticizes one individual as his “Donkey of the Day.”
He then realized that idea meshed perfectly with a moment (at the 2:43 mark of this clip) from ‘Get Out.’
While at Sam Houston State, he also walked-on to the football team as a cornerback (and admits he was terrible).
“I know what a quarterback means to the team,” Wilder said. “It’s like [sighs], ‘You’re the leader.’”
The owner of the property at the Fabrication Yard provides the walls and space for anyone who wants to canvas them, free of charge. And even though Wilder had previously created profiles of athletes such as LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki, he was nervous that people might tell him to stop due to the nature of the image or their love of the Cowboys.
Wilder has also got a ton of positive feedback on social media, some positive and some negative.
Now, he makes his living as an artist and graphic designer by earning commission from individuals, companies and brands on social media. And from Aug. 20-26, he’ll even be opening his first show at a space in the Ridgmar Mall in Fort Worth.
When asked what type of art his showcase will feature, he laughed and said: “That’s a surprise! People are going to have to come find out for themselves!”
As for whether Prescott might change his attitude on the issue?
“I can’t speak for him,” Wilder said. “I’m just going to speak for myself because I’ve said some said some things in my past where I think, ‘Man, I wish I hadn’t said that.’ At the end of the day, you learn from it. And time heals all to some degree. But we’ve all said and done and things that we’re not proud of.”