Thursday, December 24, 2009

Poster of the Week

How Can You Worship a Homeless Man on Sunday and Ignore One on Monday?
by Peter Cohen

When I arrived in New York City, I couldn’t believe so many homeless people were sleeping on the sidewalks. I started volunteering in a soup kitchen and came to realize that New Yorkers were burned out on it. Homelessness had been around a long time and some had even made donations but saw no improvement, so they gave up.

I happened to be reading the New Testament out of curiosity at the time, and I came across the passage in which Jesus refers to Himself as homeless. The whole idea just came together.

I decided to print 2,000 of the posters with the Coalition for the Homeless’ contact information. Rather quickly the Coalition started receiving calls about the poster they didn’t know existed. The director tracked me down, and that became the start of a campaign that raised hundreds of thousand of dollars, increased volunteerism and helped the Coalition to continue its work on behalf of the homeless.

Artwork © 2010 Coalition for the Homeless.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Poster of the Week

Solidaridad con las Costureras de Guatemala
by Marilyn Anderson

”Free Trade” practices of transferring U.S. clothing production to countries such as Guatemala were already beginning in the 1980s. Women earning low wages were the primary workers in these maquiladoras, but unions in Guatemala had to fight for their right to exist and suffered the murder of many labor leaders.

My years of living in Guatemala and knowledge about the traditional arts there made me understand that the women who worked in the maquiladoras were being deskilled. They had become part of the world-wide drive toward globalization – one result of which meant the destruction of traditional cultures.

Struggles continue today to give workers of all kinds in Guatemala the right to join unions. But the image in my poster has a hopeful message in the quetzal bird hovering over the needle worker and her sewing machine. The national bird of Guatemala signifies freedom – in this instance freedom from oppression and lack of labor rights.

Artwork © 2010 Marilyn Anderson.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Poster of the Week

Good Planets are Hard to Find
by Harrell Graham

The universe contains about 100 billion galaxies each with millions – or billions – of stars. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains our star, the Sun. Out of all these stars in all these galaxies ours is the only one we know with a planet that supports life.

The Earth and its living systems have evolved for five billion years…and now with our technology we have the power to destroy it all.

We also have the power to save it.

Artwork & Text © 1985
Photo courtesy NASA

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Poster(s) of the Week

Bruce Gilbert
2004, silkscreen

“The iRaq poster project was created to remind the public that we are at war. A friend and I created the posters anonymously as Forkscrew Graphics, a Los Angeles design group committed to social awareness projects. We simply used the language and iconography of an incredibly visible campaign (Apple’s iPod) to help stimulate dialogue surrounding an important and complicated issue: What is the U.S. doing in Iraq, and what does it mean to us and the rest of the world? We were sold a war that promised to secure freedom to us and to others by delivering democracy to the people of Iraq, and it’s become increasingly clear that it’s done neither. Ultimately the desired effect of the project is to shift the focus from products to people, from consumers to concerned citizens. We want to show that no matter how manipulated the mediasphere becomes, and no matter how many tons of messages the marketing world dumps on the public, there are ways to take the symbols and tools of marketing and use them to disrupt the barrage of commercial communications.”

Artwork © 2004 and 2007 Forkscrew Graphics
Inset photo © Forkscrew Graphics

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Poster of the Week

Xavier Viramontes
“Boycott Grapes”
1973, offset printing

“At the time I made this poster, in the 1970s, I was working with Rene Yanez, director of the Galeria de la Raza of San Francisco. Rene suggested that I do something for the United Farm Workers Union and the grape boycott, which had been ongoing for years. My idea was to remind people that the Mexican farm workers come from a rich cultural background and ought to be treated fairly and with respect. I decided to use a dark brown Aztec godlike figure as the main focal point. The squeezing of the grapes symbolizes the blood and sweat of the farm workers. The intent of the poster was to keep the boycott going, and I think it was successful. It received favorable response from the public and people continue to ask me about it today. Originally a silkscreen, the poster was later reproduced as a lithograph by the United Farm Workers Union. The Boycott Grapes poster was printed in 1973 and is now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.”

Artwork © 2007 Xavier Viramontes

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Poster of the Week

3459 Species Live on the California Coast
by Robert Giusti for The California Coastal Commission

The California Coastal Commission contracted the poster as a way to raise awareness about the problem of marine debris and ocean pollution. In giving the message that humans are causing these problems for marine life, it also sends the message that there is much that individuals can do to improve the situation.

One of the CCC’s biggest and longest running efforts is coordination of the annual California Coastal Cleanup Day (since 1984). In 2008, over 60,000 volunteers picked up over one million pounds of debris on California beaches and shorelines alone. In portions of the North Pacific Ocean, the quantities of plastic outweigh the amount of plankton by a factor of 6 to 1.

Artwork © 2010 Robert Giusti.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Poster of the Week

America: Dying for Business
by Hugh D’Andrade

This poster is a parody of a poster that was distributed widely throughout San Francisco in the months following the 9/11 attacks. The original text read “America: Open for Business,” with a picture of an American flag shopping bag and was intended by the artist, Craig Frazier, as a call for people to remain calm and to support local business.

But as the country geared up for war, first in Afghanistan and later in Iraq, and as the Bush Administration began aggressively undermining civil liberties at home, the topic of consumerism became a perfect target for political parody.

My parody mocks the idea that we can shop our way out of a crisis. I thought then and think now that shopping was an inappropriate response to the situation, which required that Americans rethink our relationship to the world and to each other.

Artwork © 2010 Hugh D’Andrade.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poster of the Week

Make a Difference 3 Times a Day
by Caryn Hartglass for EarthSave

In Diet for a New America, EarthSave Founder John Robbins described the often overlooked yet immense environmental cost of modern meat and demonstrated how diets low on the food chain are much more earth friendly. Up until then (the late ’80s), people had become vegetarian for ethical reasons out of concern for animals, or for health reasons, but he was attempting to show how the environmental reasons are every bit as compelling.

It took some time for these realities to be recognized, but in recent years, there has been a greatly increased awareness, perhaps most notably reflected in “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” released in 2007 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The report found that raising livestock is one of the most significant contributors to the serious environmental problems besetting our world. Livestock are responsible, the report stated, for a far greater share of greenhouse gas emissions than even transportation.

Artwork © 2010 EarthSave.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Poster of the Week

Places the U.S. Has Bombed
Josh MacPhee

“I created this poster soon after the United States started bombing Afghanistan. Once again the government was attacking a country for its own foreign policy concerns. Around that time I stumbled upon a list of places the U.S. had bombed since World War II, compiled by the author William Blum. I was shocked by how long the list was and the dozens of countries on it that I had no idea the U.S. had attacked. I think the most successful posters use simple, strong images and text to convey a basic idea, and that’s what I was trying to do here. The sheer volume of bombs is shocking when you realize each one represents a country attacked. For me, art finds meaning in social context, and our contemporary context often seems bleak. I find it imperative to try to comment on it, to speak to the world around me, to criticize what I find is wrong, and put forth ideas of what a better world could look like.”

Artwork © 2007 Josh MacPhee

Monday, October 26, 2009

Exciting New Poster Donation

170 stunning Chinese woodcuts from 1966-1969 were donated last week by David Kunzle, UCLA art historian and CSPG Board member. These powerful graphics were made during the early years of the Cultural Revolution, and feature Mao, international solidarity and opposition to the Viet Nam War. David was invited to China to speak about Rodolphe Töpffer, a 19th century Swiss writer-artist, considered to be the father of the comic strip and the graphic novel, at an conference on the comic and animation.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

R.I.P. Nancy Spero

Torture in Chile
Nancy Spero
Silkscreen, 1975
New York, NY
"Nancy Spero, Artist of Feminism, Is Dead at 83," New York Times, October 19, 2009

Poster of the Week

Oh, So That Explains the Difference in Our Salaries!
Artist Unknown

Nothing is known about the origins of this anonymously designed image of two toddlers looking into their diapers to discover the differences between them. It has appeared on posters, buttons and coffee mugs since the 1970s and may have been designed much earlier. The longevity of the image can be compared to the Rosie the Riveter poster of the 1940s. Its popularity is due as much to its simplicity and humor as to its continued relevance. The persistence of the problem it depicts – wage inequity based on gender – is on­going. In the 1970s, women earned fifty-nine cents to every dollar earned by men; today they earn seventy-two cents. The version shown here was reproduced in 1988 by Northern Sun Merchandising in Minneapolis.

If you know something about this image, please contact us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poster of the Week

Health Care is a Human Right!

Juan Fuentes
United States

Juan Fuentes will receive the Art is a Hammer Award at our 20th Anniversary Celebration this Saturday, October 17 at 6:30 pm at Union Station.

Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape i
t. –Vladimir Mayakovsky

Juan Fuentes is a Bay Area artist, cultural activist, teacher, and founder of Pajaro Editions, a printmaking studio. He has been producing political posters and prints addressing cultural, social, and community issues for over 30 years. Buy tickets online now

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blast from the Past: Carol Wells on the LA Peace Press

"Made in L.A. -- The L.A. Peace Press" CSPG director and founder Carol Wells and Los Angeles Valley College professor Henry Klein speak with Dateline USA host Duncan Elkinson about the L.A. Peace Press, April 22, 2005.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Poster of the Week

Uncle George Wants You
Stephen Kroninger
Offset, 1991
United States

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Poster of the Week

Healthcare Not Wealthcare




Friday, September 11, 2009

Save the Date! CSPG Celebrates 20 Years of Explosive Graphics

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Union Station
800 North Alameda
Downtown L.A.

6:30 p.m. Silent Auction & Buffet Dinner

8 p.m. Program
Sandra Tsing Loh: Emcee
Robert Berman: Auctioneer
Marcus L. Miller & The Free Jazz Movement

Please join us at the historic Union Station as we honor these outstanding individuals:

June Wayne—artist, lithographer, teacher, writer, and founder of Tamarind Lithography Workshop will receive the Culture of Liberation Award.

Culture contains the seed of opposition becoming the flower of liberation. –Amílcar Cabral

David Kunzle—art historian, writer, activist, actor, and poster collector will receive the Historian of the Lions Award.

Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter. –African Proverb

Juan Fuentes—poster artist, cultural activist, printmaker, teacher will receive the Art is a Hammer Award.

Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it. –Vladimir Mayakovsky

Comedian, writer and performer Sandra Tsing Loh will emcee.

There will be a fantastic dinner, entertainment, great company, a dynamic poster presentation, and a unique auction of vintage posters and original artworks.

Send in your sponsorship, ticket and/or ad purchase by September 4, 2009 in order to be listed on the invitation as a member of CSPG’s 2009 Celebration Committee. (Link to pdf form below for complete details).

For more information please contact Mary Sutton at 323.653.4662.
We look forward to seeing you on October 17!

20th Anniversary Invitation Letter (pdf)

20th Anniversary Order Form (pdf)