Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints

I learned today that Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints by Hal Elliot Wert will be coming out in the first week of October. My piece "2044: Hope" is in the intro of the book on page 151 entitled "Clinton/ Obama 2044". The piece in the book also appears to be one of several test prints that I sent to Ray Noland so that he could tear them up. I just assumed that Hal got a numbered print but if there's another book edition then he certainly will! Things happen. Anyway I am psyched to be in there.



The gallery that I was working with, Heineman Myers in Bethesda, has unfortunately gone out of business. The economy is lousy. If you would like to buy one of my prints just contact me directly. Best wishes to Zoe in her new adventures.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art for Obama is in print!

Art for Obama is in print! Yours truly is on page 68 for my Retool America print. Yay! My first piece in a book!

Scott Thomas, whose team put together the Obama logo, is also writing a book. Your support at this time will help to bring the book to print. Check out the link.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints

The book, Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints by Hal Elliot Wert is now available for preorder.

Hal helped to sponsor the Obama art show in Chicago that Ray Noland organized along with some other folks like Scott Thomas (Scott was the creative director for the graphics work for the Obama Campaign).

Hal also is organizing a traveling Obama poster exhibit with the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

My "2044: Hope" piece will be in this book.

More about the book from the publisher:

"This book offers a striking and comprehensive visual chronology of posters created for Obama's run for the presidency. Most have been seen only by a limited number of viewers in the primary states. Others have rarely been seen outside the urban core or the art gallery world. An exception is the Shepard Fairey poster Hope that has been seen by millions as has his design for the cover of Time magazines Man-of-the-Year edition. Importantly, there has been nothing like this outpouring of quality prints and posters in past campaigns. The interior of the dust jacket folds out into a full-color reproduction of David Choe's "Hope" poster."

Art for Obama: Designing Manifest Hope and the Campaign for Change

The book, "Art For Obama: Designing Manifest Hope and the Campaign for Change" edited by Shepard Fairey and Jennifer Gross is available for preorder now.

I am excited to have my piece, "Retool America" in this book. Retool America is a silkscreen that won in the "Green Economy" Category of Manifest Hope, DC. Manifest Hope was a series of art gallery events in support of the Obama campaign for President.

About the book, from the publishers:

"Few events in recent memory have captivated the world’s attention like that of Barack Obama’s historic presidential campaign. Not only did it stir passionate political momentum, but it also inspired the creative talents of a world of artists, illustrators, and graphic designers.

Shepard Fairey’s iconic Hope portrait became the face of the campaign and, more than ever before, innovative graphic design became a central strategy for winning the race.

Comprised of collages, paintings, photo composites, prints, and computer-generated pieces, Art for Obama showcases the well-known images of the campaign as well as less famous but equally creative pieces from around the globe. This is a volume for design and art aficionados, as well as supporters of the 44th President of the United States who want a keepsake as uncommon as his extraordinary campaign."

Monday, March 23, 2009

CRO's Officially Unofficial: Inspired Art for Obama

OFFICIALLY UNOFFICIAL - INSPIRED ART FOR OBAMA

An exhibition of prints, posters, photographs, and videos that emerged in 2008 as icons of the art movement in support of Barack Obama for President.

Curated by Chicago designer Scott Thomas, former Design Director of the Obama Campaign; Chicago artist Ray Noland; and Nathan Mason, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

Featuring official Obama ’08 campaign materials as well as independent work by more than 100 artists and designers including Ray Noland’s “GoTellMama!” poster series, Shepard Fairey’s now iconic “Hope” poster, and Sol Sender’s Obama ‘08 logo and branding.

This exhibition is made possible with support from Ken Harman/Obama Art Report and Hal Elliott Wert/Kansas City Art Institute.

April 1 - May 31 Monday - Saturday, 10AM to 6PM and Sunday, 10AM to 5PMFREE

Tuesday, March 31VIP & Press Preview, 6PM – 9PM
Live: The GENT$, Shala & Rachel Katzman
With DJs: Million$Mano, DIZRSVP Required, visit www.going.com/unofficial_preview

Gallery Talk:Ray Noland - April 16th, Scott Thomas - May 28

Chicago Tourism Center
72 E. Randolph Street
(across from the Chicago Cultural Center)

Officially Unofficial Artists:Aaron Allen, Aaron Amaro, Aaron Foster, Aaron Meshon, Above, Alex Fine, Alex Fuller, Alex Pardee, Alex Ross, Antar Dayal, BASK, Benjamin Kuhn, Brian Flynn, Burlesque of North America, Caleb Kozlowski, Chad Mize & Phillip Clark, Chuck Anderson, Cody Hudson, Coufal Family, Dan Lacey, David Carson, David Choe, David Turnley, Dawoud Bey, Delicious Design League, Eddie, EMEK, Felix Jackson, Gui Borchert, Hand-Cranked, Ian Malard, James O'Brien, James Widener/Snuffhouse, Jonathan Hoefler, Jorge Rodriguez Gerada, Julian Norman, Lance Wyman, Lowell Thompson, Mac, Manick Sorcar, Mario Terero, Max Estes, Mear One, Michael Beirut, Micheal Genovese, Mickalene Thomas, Mike Jacobs, Morning Breath, Munk One, Patrick Moberg, Paula Scher, Rafael Lopez, Ray Noland/CRO, Rebecca Berdel, Rene Garcia, Robbie Conal, Robert Indiana, Ron English, Sam Brown, Sam Flores, Sarah Hoskins, Scot Lefavor, Scott Hansen/ISO50, Shana Berry, Shannon Moore, Shepard Fairey/OBEY, Sol Sender, Sonya Fridman, The Date Farmers, Tom Slaughter, Tony Puryear, Tristan Eaton, Tyler Gibney/HVW8, Wes Winship, Yee-Haw Industries, Zoltron

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bear Gorilla

You know how sometimes you are joking around with your friends and you keep getting sillier and sillier? That is when the best ideas come out. Take Bear Gorilla, for example. BG has the head of a bear, the body of a gorilla, Marilyn Monroe's hair, and roller skates. BG originally came from me mishearing "Bear Grills", who apparently has a survivalist TV show. I was standing on the bank of a stream and my friend Jessica pointed to a maggot in the stream and said "Bear Grills would eat that." We decided that BG was the daughter of our friend Hugh, who then said, "she's big and hairy, but I love her." And thus Bear Gorilla was born.

Needless to say, BG is much cooler than Bear Grills and would serve as a good derby mascot. I am in the process of creating the design, in my typical fashion, by taking existing images; cutting, resizing, and reorienting them; and then rendering the photocomposite into a more simplified image for printmaking.

My style of graphic design comes from years of decoupaging stuff- I once made a table with an image on the top where Raquel Welch and Shaft got married. She had a Mondrian body, which was very satisfying for me. She was also holding an alligator by the tail, because that is how I roll. Graphic design allows me to take decoupage into an environment where I don't have to find things that are the perfect size or perspective, because I can make them perfect. And I can deal with inconsistencies in texture or color by knocking them out into a rendering with a halftone or some other technique. I also get to take my idea and put it into a printmaking format so that I can do DIY mass-production with all of the imperfections of a handmade item.

I think people who criticize art nowadays as being heavily graphic have a point...to a point. Sure the relentless photorealism and heavy use of fonts can get kind of old and can make everything look like advertising. But graphic techniques allow artists to create new production mechanisms that result in totally fresh work. I have nothing against drawing- I have a pretty good hand- but my medium is graphic decoupage. I like finding images and then challenging myself to make them work together. Extra points if the result is funny and innocently fierce. This is what I like to do, and I think it's pretty rad. I also like that anyone nowadays can mass-produce their work and share it with others, either through physical pieces or through images on the internets. It may not be the highest of high art, but it is very democratic and viral.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Adopt-A-Pet in Dog's Life


The Spring 2009 issue of Dog's Life magazine features the good work of Adopt-A-Pet, the Shepard Fairey image created for the organization, and the upcoming art show in Los Angeles.


I am really excited about the organization, which, as the magazine says, "helps shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their homeless pets to adopters for free. Over 1,500,000 unique visitors a month search Adopt-a-Pet.com by zip code and other preferences to see photos and descriptions of pets for adoption in their area."


I am also excited because I am putting a piece together for the show!!! And because Ron English will also be creating a piece for the show!!! If you are not familiar with Ron's work, he is the mastermind behind Popaganda and the artist who created "Abraham Obama", a painting with Abraham Lincoln's head and Obama's face. I have a silkscreen of the design that was released by Upper Playground and also bought a larger version at the Manifest Hope show that was done in Diamond Dust by Richard Sheridan, who used to make diamond dust prints for Andy Warhol. I am just blabbing on and on at this point, but needless to say this show is going to be ridiculously cool.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pick a Snow Lion

I am working on a design for the Adopt-a-Pet art show, which thankfully will not be in mid-March, because that gives me more time to work on the design. I have two versions of the same design and I have to figure out which one will be the snow lion in the image. Help me pick one!

The snow lion is a creature in Buddhist mythology that represents fearless joy and is at the base of the Buddha's throne for protection. I got the snow lion body from the Tibetan flag and have put my dog Lucy's head on it, because I have always thought that Lucy had the look and spirit of a snow lion. She was also a shelter dog.

It has also been suggested that I cut down the claws because they look intimidating. Good point!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Power to the Poster

I and many of my artist friends have thinking a lot about all of the discussion on fair use surrounding Shepard Fairey's referencing of an AP photo for his "HOPE" piece. There's lots of sides to the argument and I am not going to get into it. But I did decide as a result of all of this to make my "Retool America" design available at Power to the Poster. You can download an 11x17 in color there along with a bunch of cool prints by artists I love. "Freedom" by Jason Dietrick pictured here was also at Manifest Hope. I bought that print there because I love it so much.

If you want a silkscreen print of Retool America, you can get it at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New challenge

I was asked by Dr. Pia Salk to make a piece for an Adopt-a-Pet art show benefit to call attention to the plight of shelter animals. Pia was at the Manifest Hope show and had stickers of a very poignant design Shepard Fairy did for her cause of his childhood pet, with the word "ADOPT" done in a style similar to "HOPE". The organization has been calling for our new President to adopt a shelter animal. My dear companion Lucy is a shelter animal. I felt like I wanted my piece of artwork to be informed, so I am talking to a friend of mine this week who volunteers at a shelter. I also talked to a friend at work who does rescue for a breed of dogs. I have some good ideas starting to formulate. It's important to me for my piece to have a specific call to action.

Pia also mentioned some topics:
  • City shelters also house many other kinds of animals like rabbits, pigs, hamsters, chickens and goats, to name a few.
  • The foreclosure crisis is resulting in many more animals being relinquished to shelters.
  • Adopting from a shelter is truly a form of 'going green'- in many ways, these pets are being recycled, which is far better than creating new ones (this will be one of the main themes of the show)
  • Consider creating a piece in honor of a companion animal you had as a child or who shares your family now.
  • Older animals, 3 legged animals, and pit bulls are all among the animals that languish in city shelters and have less chance at being adopted due to errant beliefs and other factors. Yet they make wonderful companions.
  • Black animals are often overlooked and as such are among those who are least adopted and most often killed.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Green Jobs Now: Barack's Work Shirt

The President announced today a "task force that will work to boost the economic fortunes of American's faltering middle class, and its first order of business will be to find ways to create more jobs in areas that pay well, reduce pollution and lessen America's reliance on foreign oil. " Green jobs now!

I guess it's time to turn the design you see on the left into a silkscreen.

Green jobs can be created by our next administration through an emphasis on retooling manufacturing to produce more public transportation and electric vehicles, updating the electric grid, adding renewable energy like wind and solar to the grid, and focusing on energy efficiency and conservation. I put Barack's name on the shirt because I see him having a green job.

I think I will make this print a 1-color halftone screen done in an edition of 50 with a print area of 11x14. It will be a companion piece to "Retool America", one of five winners in the "Green Economy" category of
Manifest Hope: DC. I also have two designs for the shirt. Help me pick which shirt to screen and to decide if I should have "Barack" on the shirt. Feel free to leave me a comment.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Manifest Hope talk at UU Frederick

The local Unitarian Church has a discussion group on Sunday Mornings at 10AM on socially relevant topics. Previous topics recently have included marriage equality and personal greenhouse gas emissions reductions. I am giving a brief talk this coming Sunday, February 1, on Manifest Hope. Hopefully I will be warmed up from Saturday's talk at Heineman Myers (see previous post). I'll be showing images from the show, plus I'll talk about the pop/propaganda/street art phenomenon because I love it so much.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Collectors Circle

Starting on Saturday, January 31st from 3 to 6pm

Heineman Myers Contemporary Art presents the “Collectors Circle”

A series of monthly, free events open to EVERYONE who is building a collection, or who aspires to build a collection. Upcoming topics will address local collections of Photography, Street Art, Local DC Area Artists, Sculpture, and Latin American Art.

The Inaugural Collectors Circle features Shannon Moore, Artist and Collector of Obama Inspired Art Prints.

Shannon received the “Green Economy” award in the national Manifest Hope exhibition held in Washington, DC. January 16-19, 2009 for her silk screen print, “Retool America” (2009) Green ink and glitter on Arches cover paper, edition of 10.

Shannon will speak briefly about how she became interested in collecting, how her collection has evolved and what she hopes to add to the collection. She will take questions, and we will have time for mingling and refreshments. Most of her collection is presently on display in the main exhibition area and will be through this Saturday, January 31, 2009, Tuesday-Saturday 1-6pm. Please join us – drop by or stay the whole time. No rsvp.

Shannon’s silk screens are for sale. See the attachments. Prices start at $50. Her “Personal Tagz” necklaces for men and women feature images of tiny works of art, and images of President Obama. These are available for $20.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, February 7th the Opening Reception for Alison Hiltner, “Manifest Destiny” 6-9pm.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's left

I picked up my pieces yesterday and today from Manifest Hope and the Artist's Ball. The picture on the left is on the 1000 block of 7th St. NW in DC, where a number of my retool posters are still up along with some DC Statehood posters made by my friend Kristina. I took the picture from my car window today on my way out of town.

I still have one show up at Heineman Myers - 44: Obama Art. That show closes on January 31, and I'll be giving a talk about collecting. How I got started, why I collect what I collect, etc. I enjoy the subject and love to give talks so it should be fun.

I have some more silkscreens to make; the "Green Jobs Now" work shirt is the first one, but I have some other ideas rattling around in my brain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Best Two Weeks Ever and All Tomorrow's Parties

Well the two week gallery and party circuit has ended for me. I had the best couple weeks of my life:

44: Obama Art at Heineman Myers was totally gratifying. I got to show many of the Obama art prints I had collected, the work of other artists I love like Michael Murphy and Robert Strasser, and my own silkscreen "2044: Hope". Plus it was a benefit for some great nonprofits.

I went on to helping with Murphy's installation at Manifest Hope and found out while there that I won in the Green Economy category for "Retool America" and would have my piece in the show with 15 other winners. Then I got my face in the medical cross installation. (I am third in the bottom row. Piece from the front looks like a red cross. I think that is Shepard Fairey standing in front of his piece in the picture. The cross and fist are Michael Murphy's work).

I got to share the Manifest Hope show with my friends and family. And I got to meet and talk shop with some of the artists like Ray Noland; Rebecca Berdel, BilliKid; Kelly Towles; Herb Williams; and Mags, and introduce them to each other. I got to meet Ron English and I picked up a fantastic print of his of Abraham Obama on while paper with glitter. Yes I am a fan of the glitter prints.

Some ultra-cool art students and their Transportation Coordinator from Georgia stayed over at my house and made breakfast with me the next day.

I was one of 30 artists whose work was in the Art of Change Inaugural Ball sponsored by Artomatic, Playa Del Fuego, and Washington Project for the Arts. And my pieces looked freaking awesome and people loved them. I ran out of gallery cards and had to put my business cards up. I also saw some of the test prints that I had given screen printer Kristina on the 1000 block of 7th St in Northwest DC next to the Warehouse Gallery. I was told that people were taking them off the wall where they were stapled next to some very cool DC Statehood posters, and this was incredibly gratifying.

I got to go to amazing parties like the opening night and closing night parties for Manifest Hope, and the Artist's Ball.

I went to the inauguration and was on the parade route at Constitution and 3rd, near the Capitol. I saw our new President as he drove by, and his daughter Malia. This was especially cool for me after making the "2044: Hope" piece with Malia in it.

I had a wonderful time with my friend Zoe throughout all of this and we came up with some cool ideas for the future. I also got gallery representation through Heineman Myers.

Who knows what the future will hold? I have ideas for some new silkscreen pieces that I am working out in my head. And I have new artist friends to look to for inspiration. And there are lots of concepts and visions out there to be pushed through art. Best two weeks ever.

Now I am exhausted and will take a few days to recover.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Video on FNP

Here's a link to the video up on FNP about the article in today's paper. I sure do talk a lot.

Front page story in Frederick News-Post

I did an interview and a photo (and some video) with the Frederick News-Post and it is on today's front page. I gave props to my mom and Michael Murphy, and to Zoe Heineman Myers, which makes me happy. I would also like to add a thanks to Grimes Graphics, who helped me do things at the last minute like burn transparencies and clean screens. They even lent me a screen when one of mine tore. Things like this make me so glad I have good friends!

Image is by Graham Cullen, Frederick News-Post.

Friday, January 16, 2009

44 in Washington Post Style Section

Check out the link to this past week's Washington Post Style Section that talks about 44: Obama art. It features Jonathan Stein's "Everybody wants a piece of Obama."

Jonathan also had a show at Art Basel recently with his many cakes in a big cake display. I wish I could have been there.

Stein's piece is also in Manifest Hope!

Information about me, show at Heineman Myers


Zoe from Heineman Myers Contemporary Art has updated her site with information about the show 44: Obama Art. She has also posted a few of my works. It's a pretty exciting time to be me. I will have my stuff in three shows in the DC area at one time this week. Considering I just pulled my first silkscreen ever a week ago, that's pretty insane. Perhaps that is why I feel so incredibly humbled.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just got back from Manifest Hope

And boy are my arms tired. Gave my fellow screen printer friend Kristina some test prints for her to play with and she said, "these are too good." I said, "no, they're not. Some of them have fingerprints." But she put one up in the restaurant called the Warehouse on 7th st- one of the glitter prints of "Retool America". Stopped by Manifest Hope and ate their delicious food. Going back tomorrow to hang window decals.

But I gotta go now to watch Shepard Fairey on Colbert.

44: Obama Art Channel 4 video

This is the video from DC Channel 4 that came out right before 44: Obama Art. The show will be open until January 31. Stop by and see some very fresh Obama Art posters.

video

Shepard Fairey on Colbert tonight

I may actually be un-busy enough to watch Shepard Fairey on Colbert tonight. Very exciting! For those who do not know, Shep is the man behind the iconic "Hope" image of Barack Obama. His organization, Obey Giant, is one of the sponsors of Manifest Hope. Shep has donated countless hours to the Obama campaign and is the foremost pop art/street art/propaganda artist in the public consciousness.

I also found this hilarious site where you can Faireyfy your own face called Obamicon after I saw it posted by Yosi Sergeant. I passed this on to my Facebook friends and they have gone viral with it.

Tonight I am dropping off my prints at Art of Change in DC. I practically live in DC this week.


Tagz

Tagz.

Necklaces made with a scrabble tile and some stainless steel hardware. See, I don't think these are such a big deal so I don't talk about them much. But every time I wear one, especially the Obama themed ones, I get asked by someone where I got it. This summer I started selling them as a fundraiser for the Obama campaign in addition to the other tagz that I make.

I sell them in two places- a local shop called The Muse in Frederick that specializes in local/handmade/practical and at Heineman Myers. I really love both places and so I am excited to have my work there. Not pictured are the lids, which I copy and then detail by hand in different styles-some have graffiti and boomboxes and others have more of a contemporary New York Design... Anyway, they are fun to make. I make related ones using bamboo tiles, silver bead chain and old postage stamps (the Soviet Propaganda ones are my favorite, of course.)

I gave Ken Hashimoto one of my Tagz today- He loved them and told me I could sell thousands. But there aren't enough hours in the day to deal with something like Etsy right now so I am happy to sell them in a few stores and give them to friends.

Manifest Hope contest winners announced

The winners are up at the Manifest Hope website. Although I am partial to my own design, I love "New Factory" by Travis Lampe. It's tiny in real life- about 6" or so square.

Two different people pointed it out to me because they liked it so much.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

I/XV Retool America P.E. (Preferred Edition, this means it is on better paper, in this case Rives BFK grey) is now safely in the hands of Manifest Hope. Specifically, it is to be hung by a man named Richard who works at Smithsonian Exhibitions who has taken the week off to help at the gallery. The Smithsonian ought to be paying this man since this show is such a huge cultural phenom; the Smithsonian now owns, for $75K, the large Shepard Fairey Hope piece from Manifest Hope: Denver. I tried to be helpful today but all bases were covered, so I ended up chatting with my friend Tariq Rafiq who was sanding plywood for Mike Murphy's medical cross piece. The plywood sanding never ends. Everyone who helped with the piece has their face in it, which is just awesome. I would love to show you the piece with my face but I have sworn an oath of loyalty to Yosi Sergeant not to share images from the show and it is an oath I vow never to break. So go to the show.

Today I think they were going to raise the giant fist art piece, which would have been a thing to see from a symbolic perspective. Being in the space is an amazing experiece. People are working seamlessly as if controlled by chemical signals from a mother ant. There is no one person who appears to be directing everything, though if you had to guess it would likely be a combination of Yosi Sergeant, obsessively responding to messages on his phone, and Michael Murphy, who even when at the hardware store like he was tonight, had his 13 students and their Transportation Coordinator and his Mentor all operating in a symphony of plywood cutting, sanding and painting. To have the art being made there now, before the show, gives the whole place a primordial feeling of possibility. And you can feel the intense buzz in there though the atmosphere is also very calm...

I also talked to Tom Horne, who owns the gallery "andenken" that Manifest Hope: Denver was in. He told me that at one point planning that show his blood pressure got so high that he got nosebleeds. He is very excited not to be in charge of this one. Oh how I wish I could have been at that show. A lot of the posters I have collected are of artists from that show. Of course these same artists will be in DC from the 17th-19th at 3333 M St. NW in Georgetown.

I am also very excited that I got to meet Ken Hashimoto today in person from the Obama Art Report. Reading his blog has been a favorite pasttime of mine ever since I got into Obama Art. His site is really the best central repository of information on the topic. I gave him a glitter A/P (Artist's Print- a master that the printmaker models the rest of the edition after) of Retool America. It is part of a small glitter edition that is a second edition of the first non-glitter, so it's noted as Retool America II. Ken was kind enough to give me a Zoltron poster AND a signed red zoltron sticker. Just because I said I wanted one and he happened to have it. Can I tell you how happy this made me? Ken and I also watched some people hanging a big multipart CRO piece; CRO is Ray Noland. He is one of my very favorite Obama artists. His new piece is up at Manifest Hope and is also available at his store in an edition of a mere 44. I also have some of his work hanging right now at Heineman Myers. Zoe has decided to leave 44: Obama art up until January 31 and will be updating her website with the info this week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Retool Glittermerica

This is how you know you need to get more sleep: you think it would be cool to do a bunch of test prints of your Manifest Hope piece to put in a collage for Art of Change, and then you think, "you know what would be REALLY cool? A few random ones with glitter." Never mind the fact that glitter takes away the dignity and forcefulness of the piece. No, you don't care. And you give birth to the abomination on the left.

Sometimes it's better to think of art as process rather than finished product so that you can forgive yourself for moments like this one.

That said, the glitter prints look cool and I am taking them with me with I meet with fellow printmaker Kristina on Thursday for Art of Change.

Retool America

The image size is 11x13 on 300g acid-free art paper. The print size is 12x17.5. It's partly a halftone screen with large dots. I ran an edition of 50 for this print with a preferred edition on better paper of 15. It was one of five winners in the "Green Economy" category of Manifest Hope. I am going for a combination of art-for-the-people type political propaganda and pop art.

I spent about 8 or 9 hours working on this design mostly because of the rendering of America, which I wanted to look like the top of a bolt but still look iconic. I also wanted to get the perspective just right. I just started working in Gimp software after using Photoshop for ages so there was a lot of learning the tools involved. By the time I was done, I hated the picture. But the next day I loved it again and I submitted it to Manifest Hope.

The inspiration for this piece is the crisis with the automobile manufacturing industry. I also write a blog about global warming and have written quite a bit about how American auto manufacturers have not been making cars that would address the needs of the present or future, especially considering how fuel inefficient and polluting they are. I figured it would be a cap-and-trade bill that forced the industry to transform, as such a bill would inevitably increase the cost of fossil fuels to be equivalent to alternatives like electricity from clean sources. I had not counted on the current economic crisis, but either way, the need to retool is readily apparent. I see this as an opportunity to produce more mass transit, convert vehicles to electric, improve the electricity grid, and install new renewable sources of energy into the grid. I think this is the next great wave of the American economy, and part of what will restore our standing in the world. These ideas are integrated into the Democratic Party platform and are a big part of our next President's plan. It makes me excited that Barack Obama also has this vision, and I feel like as an artist and an environmental scientist I want to do everything I can to manifest this future.

This print was also accepted by "Art of Change" and can also be viewed at the Artists' Inaugural Ball.

Glitter prints

I had to run some test prints today to check out a new paper stock and to finish the second layer of a print run after running out of ink the first time. So I thought to myself, why not do this batch with glitter? And WOW. Glitter looks great.

The first print is just one layer of ink on the new paper to test the absorbency of the paper.

The black layer in this print stands alone because it holds most of the structural detail of the faces. I think I am going to give this one to my friend's daughter who came out with her mom to the art show on Saturday.

The second print is basically a finished print from the original run where I had printed a bunch of extra red and needed to run black. This print is on Arches Cover, which is made for printing and is absolutely divine. You can't really see it in the picture but the black is one solid mass of glitter and the few prints I did are by far the best of any I have ever made. There are three good ones without any ink spots or other crud and I am going to have them buried with me in my pyramid some day.



Monday, January 12, 2009

2044: Hope

This is the piece that I created for the show, "44: Obama Art". The show was only supposed to last for one day but Zoe from Heineman Myers liked it so much she is keeping it up until after the Inauguration.

The story behind this piece is this: I ran into my friend Keri-Ann at the farmer's market this summer. Keri-Ann is a sweet person and she was unusually vociferous about the Palin pick for VP, saying she did not want her daughter to grow up thinking that Palin, a beauty queen who represented the antithesis of Hillary Clinton, would be someone to aspire to be. It got me thinking about tokenism in the Republican party, how a woman like Palin could never rise through the ranks but would have to be hand-picked at the top. It was evident to me from looking at the diversity of the Democratic Convention and the lack thereof at the Republican Convention just whose interests each really represented. I became a Democrat this year after spending most of my adult life as an independent, because I saw a vision of the future in the party. For me, the silkscreen that I put together for 44 represents hope for the future in the faces of two playful but extremely dignified young women. My goal for the silkscreen was to capture their far-reaching gazes. Because I want Keri-Ann's little girl to have her aspirations.

People ask me why I did not do an Obama Clinton ticket instead and I guess I put Clinton on top billing for my mom, who really wanted Clinton to be President.

The piece is a run of 200 2-color silkscreens on Arches cover, 14x18. They are available from me for $50 with 25% of proceeds going to Cakes for Cause.

44: Obama Art

On January 10, I held a reception at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art with my friend Zoe who owns the gallery. We called it 44: Obama Art. I hung Obama posters I had collected that represented the fresh, enthusiastic and visionary aesthetic of the Obama campaign. Zoe got electronic musician Yoko K to perform her work, including her "Obama Mix". I brought in artists Robert Strasser and Michael Murphy. Robert is a potter and Mike is a fine artist who works in multiple media; Mike brought a urethane piece, print, and wire piece for the show. The wire piece was similar to one of his featured in Time Magazine on January 5 (the cover of that magazine was a rendering of Shepard Fairey's Hope image of Obama). The wire piece pretty much made the show. We also had a great poster of newspaper covers from around the world by Robin Wolfson and Jack Stapleton. I sold my tagz necklaces and a silkscreen print called 2044: Hope. Proceeds from the show benefited Juvenile Diabetes Research and Cakes for Cause, a nonprofit that teaches job skills to at-risk youth in a working bakery.

It was a dream come true to put the show together, as I have been wanting to share the art that I love with other people so that they too could experience the vision and passion that the artists have had for Obama's message to "Be the Change". These pieces for me reflect what I have felt in my heart about the potential to change the direction our country has been heading and to remake ourselves. The art in this blog is about creating a vision of a future that I want to see manifested in reality.