Friday, January 29, 2010

Poster of the Week

Howard Zinn: Inspired Agitator
by David Lester

I illustrated and designed this poster of Howard Zinn after seeing him on a television program in 2009, where he enthusiastically expressed the idea that progressive social change could be achieved through small groupings of people working together rather than change always being based on a mass centralized group. It felt refreshing to hear in a time when the weight of it all can be depleting and hopeless. That we can all make social change seems to me to be a vital political message. As part of this process I've been designing an ongoing poster series called "Inspired Agitators" that highlights the work of activists like Howard Zinn. As well, I perform in the underground rock duo Mecca Normal (with Jean Smith) where we show the "Inspired Agitators" series as part of a lecture/presentation called "How Art & Music Can Change The World".

Artwork © 2009 David Lester

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Poster of the Week

If Women Were Paid the Same Wages
by Nancy Hom for the Women’s Economic Agenda Project

I created this piece at Mission Grafica for the Women’s Economic Agenda Project, a group committed to fighting for the basic human rights of all Californians. WEAP focuses on obtaining economic justice for poor women and their families, the hardest hit by wage inequality.

At the time, I was inspired by what it says in the poster: “If women were paid the same wages that men of similar qualifications earn, about half the families now living in poverty in this country would not be poor.” It struck home to me that we could eradicate half the poverty in this country just by paying women their fair earnings.

But the inequality still exists. According to the current WEAP website: 13% of women are in poverty while only 10% of men are. 28% of single female-led households live in poverty, over double the number of male-headed households in poverty.

Artwork © 2010 Nancy Hom.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poster of the Week

Agitate, Educate, Organize
Artist unknown

In the 1980s or ’90s, Carol Wells of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics was walking on the Venice Beach Boardwalk and saw a vendor selling shirts with this image. She purchased one for $10. While the creator is unknown, the piece emulates the style of Roy Lichtenstein, a prominent abstract expressionist in the Pop Art movement. In 1961, Lichtenstein began using images from cartoons and advertising in his paintings. Now, many protest posters have appropriated his cartoon style to make contemporary political statements, just as this T-shirt does.

Carol went back to Venice Beach a week later to buy more shirts, but the vendor was no longer there. She made a color copy on paper and used it in “Solidarity Forever – Graphics on the International Solidarity Movement,” one of the CSPG’s more than three dozen traveling exhibitions. It is also included in CSPG’s newest exhibition, “MasterPeaces – High Art for Higher Purpose” which premiered in 2009.

Artwork © 2010 Center for the Study of Political Graphics.

FACTS to Honor CSPG! Call for Posters!

Center for the Study of Political Graphics will be honored by Families to Amend California Three Strikes (FACTS) at their 10th Annual Awards Dinner.

Look to the Future: Educate, Don't Incarcerate
Saturday, March 20th
Cal State Dominguez Hills.

For more information on the FACTS 10th Annual Awards Dinner contact:

Freddie Lawson
Families to Amend California's Three Strikes
3982 So Figueroa St #210
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Call for Posters!

CSPG wants to acknowledge the importance of FACTS' work and help propel their efforts forward by putting out a call for posters to abolish California's cruel and unusual Three Strikes Law.

Selected submissions will be displayed/projected at the awards dinner and on CSPG's website.

Submission deadline:
March 12, 2010

California's Three Strikes Law is the most punitive in the nation. Since 1994 we are the only state where a shoplifting charge can trigger a life sentence in prison. The law dictates that anyone with two or more violent/serious felonies in his/her past can receive a sentence of 25-to-life after the commission of the next felony.

The result of this barbaric sentencing: 349 people serving 25-to-life for petty theft, 689 serving 25- to-life for drug possession, and 461 serving 25-to-life for possession of a weapon. The list goes on.

The state's populace has been polled over and over since 2002 and they consistently concur that the law is abundantly unfair and shamelessly wasteful of human life and scarce resources.

From its origins as small support groups of local family members, which coalesced in 1997 to form a larger network, FACTS has grown into California's foremost organization fighting to change the broadest and harshest Three Strikes law in the nation.

To donate posters, please contact:
Center for the Study of Political Graphics
8124 West Third Street, Suite 211
Los Angeles, CA 90048-4039
telephone: 323.653.4662

Criteria for Posters:

1. Must be produced in multiples such as silkscreen, offset, stencil, litho, digital output etc.
2. Must have overt political content.

Your posters can assist FACTS' important work!

FACTS stands for an eventual abolition of the law but because of the political climate they are focusing their current efforts on amending Three Strikes to apply only to violent and serious felonies.

FACTS has been instrumental in getting reform legislation introduced 10 times since 1995. In 2004, they were an integral part of the Prop 66 campaign, which involved placing an initiative on the ballot to amend the Three Strikes Law. An injection of $3.5 million in the last few weeks of the campaign enabled Governor Schwarzenegger to run literally 100's of 15 second ads to create a climate of fear and misinformation. Prop 66 went from a 70% approval rating three weeks before the elections to a ballot loss for its proponents.

FACTS is currently preparing for legislation in 2010 and another ballot measure in 2012.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Can You Hear Haiti?
Clare Norelle
Linocut, 1994
Davis, California

The staggering death tolls and devastation that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, cannot be blamed solely on the magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Years of French colonialism followed by years of US imperialism made Haiti into the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The US repeatedly invaded Haiti, propped up its dictators and staged coups d’etats against every democratically elected president they ever had. As recently as 2004, the democratically elected and very popular President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was kidnapped by U.S. soldiers, and forced to Leave Haiti for Africa. Despite his continuing popularity (or because of it) Aristide has not been allowed to return.

For a recent article by Ted Rall on “Why the Haitian Blood is on Our Hands,” please see
Published on Thursday, January 14, 2010 by

Poster of the Week

Las Drogas Causen la Juventud Perdida
by Malaquías Montoya

My other “voice” is the poster/mural. It is with this voice that I attempt to communicate, reach out and touch others, especially to that silent and often ignored populace of Chicano, Mexican and Central American working class, along with other disenfranchised people of the world. What better function for art at this time? A voice for the voiceless. My personal views on art and society were formed by my birth into that silent and voiceless humanity. Realizing later that it was not by choice that we remained mute but by a conscious effort on the part of those in power, I knew that my art could only be that of protest – a protest against what I felt to be a death sentence. We must not fall into the age-old cliché that the artist is always ahead of his/her time. No, it is most urgent that we be on time.

Artwork © 2008 Malaquías Montoya

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Poster of the Week

No Nukes in the Pacific
by Pam Debenham

The original idea for this poster was inspired by an American friend who collects antique Hawaiian shirts telling me that the rarest shirt from the 1950s was one with a design of a bomb blast. The shirt was produced in celebration of the United States doing atmospheric testing on Bikini Atoll. This seemed so contradictory I thought it was worth reinventing the idea in the context of protest. This poster was one I produced in the early 1980s dealing with continual armaments build-up by the super­powers and nuclear testing in the Pacific. Like many Australians, I feel an affinity for the coastal landscape of our country and the sense of our close proximity to our Pacific Island neighbors. The voice of the individual protester is conveyed through the visual map of the shirt.

Artwork © 1984 Pam Debenham