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.