Nathan Mould – the sacred of circling the square
Pete Railand – Keep Families Together
When creating images for use in movements I try to make work that strikes a universal, empathetic chord with the viewer, no matter their political persuasion. I like to think that this image attains that.
Pete Railand: printmaker, educator, bike rider, self-taught musician and stay at home dad. Born in Milwaukee WI; raised in the north woods of Wisconsin in a town with one stoplight he has traversed the US too many times, living and working in Milwaukee WI, Albuquerque NM, New York, Red Wing MN, Oakland CA, Santa Fe NM, Minneapolis MN, Portland OR. He returned to Milwaukee after a 16 year absence, and wonders when he will leave. Currently plays music with slow speed doomers: The Old Northwest and Milwaukee’s most mysterious: Gnarrenschiff. Pete is a founding member of the Justseeds Artist Cooperative.
Heidi Tucker – Love is Love (Lyrics by Daniel Higgs)
There is too much fear, too much hate in our world. It seems to get scarier and scarier these days. The collective anxiety can be overwhelming. These words hopefully lift someone’s head, give them some strength and remind them of who and what and why they love, that it’s everything, that’s it simple, that it’s complicated, that it’s hard, that it’s fluid. I’ve always appreciated the strong and simple repetition and sentiment of this song, and when I write it out it becomes this soothing mantra that plays over and over in my head. The author, Daniel Higgs is a musician from Baltimore that has been playing music for decades and has been an influential force in my life.
I’ve lived in Pittsburgh since 2007. I feed people, make things, spend a lot of time on the river with my family, and help build loving communities. While I was making this piece, I thought a lot about all the immigrating people in the detention centers and the children being separated, the families being accosted by ICE, about Antwon Rose and about all the strong and diligent people who are fighting back and protesting on behalf of all of these victims of hate and fear. Much love and empathy to them all!
Cara Erskine – Breakfast of Champions, 1975
“Wheaties used to have a folded poster on the front of their cereal boxes. I still have one of Michael Jordan. As a child, I imagined myself on the cover someday. I made this collage in response to not really liking gymnastics or Mary Lou Retton. As an adult, I thought back to these childhood ‘hater’ feelings and realized that it was an egregious omission that tennis champion Billie Jean King was never on a Wheaties box, and so I plastered her over Mary Lou, as a protest. I wanted a lesbian, a dyke on this box, not a conservative talking head.”
~ Cara Erskine
“Athletes and sports advocates who have refused to be constrained by societal expectations of gender are celebrated by Cara Erskine. Whether admonished by the public for “unladylike” behavior, snubbed by sponsors, or forced to take humiliating sex verification tests (resulting, even, in the erasure of their world records), these gender outlaws and heroes have inspired, authored, and embodied Title IX, which ensures equal access to sports for millions of girls and women in the United States.”
~ Astria Suparak, curator of exhibition Power Forward, on view from May 23 – July 1, 2018, VisArts Center, Rockville, MD
To see more of Erskine’s work, visit her site caraerskine.com
Tommy Budjanec – Mobile Phone Wallpaper
Geometric shapes, vivid colorways, hand drawn lines, and half tones have always spoken to me. This piece is a collection/assemblage of all of these elements. I think of these as being flag designs that I would submit if I was summoned to design a flag. What these three flags represent to me is what a lot of things in my world looked like when I was a child in the 80’s.
I grew up in a rundown old steel town up the river from Pittsburgh named Ambridge. It was there that I started skateboarding in middle school. Like countless other skaters I, too, was exposed to new forms of creativity and graphic design that spoke to me. I attribute much of my design sensibility to skateboard graphics and the artists within the skateboard industry.
In high school I applied to the Savanah College of Art and Design, was accepted and moved to Savannah after graduating. After moving to Savannah I didn’t enroll in school. Instead, I skated more than ever and took trips to California.
Eventually, I moved to San Diego and a year later realized my teenage dream by becoming a professional skateboarder. During my time in the industry I helped start two skateboard companies and helped with the creative direction for both.
In 2002, I decided to move back to the east coast and landed in Pittsburgh. Along the way, I got back into making art and learned how to screen print art Artists Image Resources. I met a lot of really great individuals during my time working at AIR as an intern that would influence my work. Street art was a big part of my early years in screen printing and it helped me get invited to be a part of many art shows, too.
I no longer have an up to date CV, but to name a few that I was in, “Home Away” (group show) in 2007 at Space in Pittsburgh, “After Party”(group show) in 2007 at Space 1026 in Philadelphia, “Gestures”(group show) in 2008 at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, and “Totally Maybe” (solo show) in 2008 at 707 Gallery in Pittsburgh.
Anna Brewer – In The Jungle
The work I make draws from a desire to create a visual crowd of corporeal creatures of human and non human characters that share in the chaos and calm of the world I’ve placed them. I revel in the energy that is present in a shared experience like that of a party, funeral, procession or march. The host? Well the host of these machinations is the Benevolent Dictator, my trusted companion who came into being when I was 20 years old.
The Benevolent Dictator is a caricature of power, authority and civilization, who both mocks and comforts us. It is the embodiment of what we loath and so desperately desire, a leader, a guide, someone to tell us what to do and tell us it’s going to be alright. From the personal to the familial to the government, distribution of power is something that’s always fascinated me. Often we willingly let people and ideas dictate us without really understanding why or to what end.
In my work, I strive to surprise and challenge my audience with provocative nonlinear portraits of my characters that are whimsical and colorful but also subliminally dark and hazy.
My larger paintings on average take a year to complete because each painting is a series of layers that are born of long sessions of observation and contemplation. I never know what the end result will be, I let short stints of intuitive painting inform and guide my way.
“In the Jungle” is a dual portrait of the Benevolent Dictator in the chaotic and vibrant regrowth of spring. Lately my characters have ended up facing themselves or some version of themselves within the piece, creating a tense and personal moment. When you look closely you can see the remnants of previous layers peaking out in different spots to reveal notes about how the final image came to be. The piece was done using acrylic, oil and spray paint over the course of a couple years.
In summary, my work is about the amorphous qualities of power, the masquerade of the mind and body, the limitless eccentricities of human nature and the struggle to negotiate power and freedom in America.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Gerardo Garduño – End of the Road
Born in Mexico City, Gerardo moved to the U.S. in 2013. A resident of Pittsburgh, PA since January 2017, Gerardo has been very proactive in exhibiting his works in galleries and art spaces throughout Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, as well as The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA.
A self-taught artist, Gerardo’s primary media are graphite, pen & ink, acrylic paint, and watercolor on paper. With these tools he crafts kaleidoscopic vignettes coupling the repetition of geometric shapes and patterns with surreal, kaleidoscopic visuals. Out of the stark polygons and their regular dimensions spring forth anatomical depictions of insects and birds, bones and remains among fruits and fungi; interspersed with more sacred geometries and jutting architectural marvels and even entire civilizations! Garduño’s provides portals to alternate dimensions, allowing the viewer unexpected little peeks into everyday slices of life – his naturalistic style mixing a dreamlike whimsy with an ephemeral melancholy. An air of familiarity manifests in the calm chaos of Garduño’s neatly organized visual language.
Garduño, on his inspirations:
“I explore compositions found in all different levels of traditional Mexican iconography to discover new meanings that resonate with living in a contemporary context. Color and line structures hence become very important as they make ordinary objects mixed with intricate geometric patterns in surreal scenes into a symbolic language that is uniquely of today. This type of visual experimentation allows me to explore the complex relationship between human perception and nonexistent worlds, to potentially carve out a new critical view without leaving history behind. I am inspired by artistic practices that include figures such as contemporary German artist Tobias Rehberger, Italian renaissance figure Hieronymus Bosch and even the mathematically driven M.C. Escher.”
Josh MacPhee – Amilcar Cabral
This poster is a portrait of African revolutionary Amilcar Cabral. Cabral was the leader of the PAIGC, the liberation movement of Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. Much of Cabral’s writing and speeches have been collected and published in English and are still available. Unlike many of his contemporaries who feel dated, his ideas still resonate deeply, especially his writing on culture and politics. He was murdered by the Portuguese secret police before he could see the liberation of his country.
Each layered pattern in the print is cut from the inside of a business envelope. As a kid I worked in a junk mail factory, one of the most tedious and meaningless jobs I’ve ever had. I like the idea of using that same junk to create something both beautiful and rich with significance.
MacPhee began the Celebrate People’s History poster series in 1998 with Liz Goss. MacPhee, then actively putting artwork on the street, and Goss, a Chicago Public Schools teacher, both were looking for a way to create imagery and posters missing from their respective fields, particularly celebrations of people, groups, and actions that are important to understand the history of social justice struggles but have largely been erased or marginalized by mainstream representations of history. After the initial poster of Malcolm X, MacPhee ran with the project, inviting additional artists to design posters and regularly wheatpasting them in the street. As of 2018, 115 different poster designs have been printed, created by over a hundred artists and designers from more than a dozen countries.
Leslie Stem – No Time Like The Present To Change Everything
Leslie Stem practices graphic design among other things. This banner is a public resolution for 2018 – an invitation to revolution.
Alive You Took Them
On September 26, 2014, in Iguala, Guerrero; Mexican police kidnapped and forcibly disappeared 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college. More than three years later they remain missing. The Mexican government has claimed that the students were incinerated in a garbage dump, without presenting scientific proof to back the claim. Their parents have refused to accept the results of this faulty investigation and continue to search for their children.
Alive You Took Them: Searching for the Ayotzinapa 43 is a graphic novel about a parents’ tireless search to find their disappeared sons. Through first hand accounts it tells a story of human resilience and serves as a graphic challenge to impunity.
The graphic novel, produced by a collective of illustrators and journalists in Mexico, shows how a mass kidnapping of 43 young men, from one of Mexico’s poorest and most violent states, has come to represent the failed “war on drugs” in Mexico, the battle for public education and the struggle to change a country from the bottom up.
Alive You Took Them recounts the more-horrifying-than-fiction of the attack on September 26th in Iguala, through the stories of student survivors, the parents of the disappeared and journalists who report on the case. The graphic novel uses a web of art and prose—all rooted in the testimonies of those impacted by the Ayotzinapa tragedy—to create a graphic novel faithful to a complex reality.
Alive You Took Them story spotlights the Mexican government’s efforts to cover up its crimes, while also focusing on displays of solidarity with the parents and their struggle for justice, both from within Mexico and globally.
An offset version of the first chapter is available for purchase online via Just Seeds and at Copacetic Comics in Pittsburgh. The fourteen chapter book will be released in English and Spanish in 2018.
For more information about the project you can write the collective at email@example.com
or via social networks
arthur katrina – Audre Lorde (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
Audre Lorde, Gambda Adisa. Born February 18, 1934 in New York City, died November 17, 1992 on St. Croix. Black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.
“And when we speak we are afraid
Our words will not be heard
But when we are silent
We are still afraid
So it is better to speak
Remembering we were never meant to survive.”
arthur katrina is a multimedia artist from providence, ri, presently working in oakland, ca, and the space between. they are committed to the anti-preciousness of printmaking, dubbing and reproducing multiples. consistent threads in their work include: documentation and affirmation of less-represented realities, collage and sampling as a form of imbuing and tribute, utopian fantasy as a deliberate and un-naiive survival tool, re-imaginings of the city, inversions of the gaze, queer frames of celebration and pain, and the liminal, supernatural, and sometimes hilarious places of grief and longing.
Darren Myers – A Loose Distance (Paint Science 1.13.16)
The Paint Science series was a photographic documentation of the reactions between various pigments, bases, solvents, dyes, etc… Over a 2 year span, around two hundred of these topographical experiments where recorded.
Chris Stain – The Battle of Blair Mountain (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
“After years of inhumane living and working conditions, in 1921 the coal miners of Appalachia answered the call to organize. The largest armed uprising in US labor history, 12,000 workers from West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio flooded Kanawha County, WV to set up a union by force. Vehemently anti-union, a local sheriff and the coal companies attacked the miners. Thousands of armed and angry miners rushed into the lush hills and winding paths of Blair Mountain to fight for the union. Federal troops were called in and the miners dispersed in order to avoid further bloodshed. At the time the struggle was seen as a failure, but in retrospect the Battle of Blair Mountain led directly to a much larger and stronger union movement.”
American Born. 1972. I was raised in the working class neighborhood of Highlandtown in Baltimore, MD. My interest in art began with NYC subway graffiti in the mid 1980s. Having learned printmaking methods in high school, I eventually shifted my technique toward stenciling. In 2000 I began exhibiting my work. Adapting images from photographs and working with spray paint, stencils, and paper to create interior/exterior works, I seek to convey an authentic contemporary document that illustrates the triumph of the human spirit as experienced by those in underrepresented urban and rural environments. I work and live in Queens, New York with my wife and two children.
Gabe Felice – 1945-1673
Where they are captured
Along the phases of outcomes
Existing beyond false memory
Seek silent while waiting
For this patient capsule grows
Forest plants when
Along the map
Lead to the Giant’s cave
This creative process develops and deconstructs itself in many directions of layered colors, lines and shapes.
The occurrence of accidents or “coincidences” during the process are viewed as signals from the Psychic Energy Field from which automatic instructions are derived and utilized within the design.
Extra Senses of Perception and Psychic abilities are intentionally invited to join forces with the imagination – providing images of guidance and questions for the viewer to define.
Erok Boerer -The Battle of Homestead (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
Erok has been an on-again, off-again visual producer, who’s obsession with freeing the world from the inevitable auto-choked dystopia has led him toward spending most the previous decade advocating for better biking and walking. He’s called Pittsburgh home since the mid-90s.
Parker Day -“Where’s the Party?” (Subject: Cameron Tyme Edison) from the series ICONS
I believe identity is a malleable construct, the invention of which I explore through photography. I costume my subject and craft a narrative about the character they’re becoming. When they step outside of who they think they are, something new and authentic comes through. I’m looking to capture that presence, true emotion caught in the trappings of a manufactured circumstance.
Despite it’s saturated hues and often humorous subjects, there’s a darkness and gentle undercurrent of rage that permeates my work. I’m interested in the idea that we have the power to shape our own realities but despite our abundant potential, we often feel beset by our circumstances. This gives rise to tensions and inner conflicts. It’s these feelings of frustration and the search for meaning I want to explore in the face of the absurdity of our existence.
“Where’s the Party” started when Cameron messaged me, saying she wanted to be a “gender fucked pop 50s greaser boi”, even drawing a sketch of what she envisioned. When she arrived for the shoot, that persona came to life through our collaborative styling, hair and makeup wizardry on the spot. I provided the wardrobe, including an old comic book tee that belonged to my dad decades ago. My directions while shooting were “more lecherous!” Bad posture! Chin down, looking up, leering.” Cameron tapped into an intensity that is simultaneously seductive and repulsive, just what I wanted.
Parker Day is a Los Angeles based photographic artist whose work explores identity and the masks we wear. Through costuming and exaggerated expressions, Day toys with the truth of who and what she portrays. She deliberately eschews Photoshop in favor of in-camera capture on film. Lurid color bathes her work and heightens the surreality of her subjects while the grain and grit of the photographs make them palpably real.
Parker Day’s series of 100 portraits entitled ICONS is being shown in solo shows in Los Angeles, New York, and Portland in 2017. Selections from the body of work have been shown in group shows internationally. not a cult. is proudly publishing the forthcoming ICONS monograph. Parker has received press from publications such as The New Yorker, Juxtapoz, Vice, i-D, Paper, and Dazed, among many others.
Meredith Stern – Jane – Underground Abortion Service (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
This piece is a celebration of the Jane Abortion Collective which operated in Chicago when abortion was illegal. Since the Supreme Court legalized abortion, there have been numerous laws which have made abortion increasingly inaccessible. We may be facing a future where abortion is once again illegal, and it is important to remember and learn from the past. The Jane Collective demonstrates the power of collective knowledge put into action for communities to manage our own healthcare needs.
Mural text: 1969–1973. Feminist, underground abortion service, one hundred plus members performed over eleven thousand illegal abortions in Chicago.
“Those of us who were members of Jane were remarkable only because we chose to act with women’s needs as our guide. In doing so we transformed illegal abortion from a dangerous, sordid experience into one that was life-affirming and powerful.”—Laura Kaplan
Artist Meredith Stern obtained a BFA in Ceramics at Tulane University in New Orleans. She is a member of the international printmaking group called The Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative. She has a practice that includes printmaking, ‘zine publishing, gardening, and utilitarian ceramic ware. She has received grants from RISCA, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the Puffin Foundation. Her work lives in the Library of Congress, Harvard University, the MOMA and in dozens of museums and universities. In 2012 she curated a portfolio of writings and visual art on gender justice called “This is an Emergency!” Most recently she created a portfolio of prints of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Janine Biunno – USX
Janine Biunno is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY whose work typically analyzes and interprets the semiotics of the built environment. Janine’s artwork addresses the subjective practice of understanding and representing the architecture, infrastructure and density of urban space, and how our general perception of those physical spaces is altered due to the increasing influence of the digital realm. Janine’s work typically manifests itself two-dimensionally as prints, zines, and other works on paper as well as in installation form. The final works are often abstract though derived from reality. The shapes utilized in her work are primarily sourced from quotidian urban phenomena; voids between buildings, shadows cast through structures, and other overlooked aspects of both iconic and ubiquitous architectural form.
This particular composition is based on the design tactics of “Dazzle Camouflage”, a dissimulation technique utilized in World War I and II to protect warships. The confusing painted geometric patterning made it difficult for opponents to determine the speed and in what direction the ship was traveling. This “dazzle” scheme for Sidewall was built entirely using the same shape repeated and layered in black and white at a variety of different scales and orientations. The source of the repeated shape (a triangle with indented corners) was the footprint of one of the most prominent elements of Pittsburgh’s skyline: the U.S. Steel Tower.
View more of Biunno’s work at janinebiunno.com
Dalia Shevin -You belong/ Tú perteneces
I started drawing this image to honor the precious queer lives of the 49 people murdered in a homophobic hate crime at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL last summer. I finished it in the wake of the 2016 election, sick with grief, in the knowledge of the dramatic escalation to come of the already horrific and systemic campaign of terror perpetrated every day upon the most marginalized members of our communities and our country.
This tiny gesture is but one of the things I can contribute as an artist, as a citizen, as a human.I cannot know if it will help—help us to act, to speak, to live in resistance fueled by love, to let the most vulnerable among us remember that their and our lives matter. I only know that unless we are vocal and explicit in our refusal to accept the rising tide of oppression and state violence against our neighbors, our loved ones and ourselves, we acquiesce, and our silence speaks in a deafening roar. I only know that I needed to say to the people around me, in the best way that I know how- You are seen. You are loved. Your life matters. You belong.
John Jennings – James Baldwin (from Celebrate People’s History poster series)
John Jennings is a Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California at Riverside. His creative and academic work centers around intersectional narratives regarding identity politics and popular media. Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art and co-founder/organizer of The Schomburg Center’s Black Comic Book Festival in Harlem. He is co-founder and organizer of the MLK NorCal’s Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco and also SOL-CON: The Brown and Black Comix Expo at the Ohio State University. Jennings is currently a Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow with the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Jennings’ current projects include the Hiphop adventure comic Kid Code: Channel Zero, the supernatural crime noir story Blue Hand Mojo, and the New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic dark fantasy novel Kindred.
The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced and distributed political propaganda, but detourned to embody principles of democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of history. The posters tell stories from the subjective position of the artists, and are often the stories of underdogs, those written out of history. The goal of this project is not to tell a definitive history, but to suggest a new relationship to the past. Today CPH posters grace the walls of dorm rooms, apartments, community centers, classrooms, and city streets. Over 100 different designs have been printed in the past 19 years, adding up to over 300,000 total posters. More information, and posters, available here: http://justseeds.org/cph/
Jesus Barraza – Tlaloc
Water is life, defend your life. It is so simple: we are connected to the land we live on, and if the land gets sick so will we. Water is one of the primary things necessary for life to exist: if we poison the water, or if we suffer drought caused by climate change, we will cease to exist.
This graphic is part of the Wellspring portfolio, by members of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative.
To read more about Barraza and view other works, you can visit the following websites:
Paulo O’Brien – Good Morning Sunshine
For many queer men and women who have died, their surviving family members would throw away any incriminating evidence. Lovely photographs like this one would be separated from anyone that would recognize them, let alone care. Surrendered to waste bins, curbside boxes and second hand shops, forever more to be seen, but never known.
There is a term for when there is no one still alive that remembers you. Second Death.
See more of O’Brien’s work at pauloobrien.com.
Maggie Negrete – I Just Want A Bowl of Pasta
Matthew Buchholz – Flee America
Peter Oresick – Messiah Over Pittsburgh
Born in an Ukrainian Catholic Church for which iconography is a central part of the architecture and spirituality, I’ve been mesmerized by icons since I was a young boy but never imagined painting them myself. Years later, in 1990, I met a monk from St. Vincent Abbey, Peter Pearson, who offered a workshop in icon painting which became a turning point in my artistic career. I painted icons exclusively in the russian style until 2012 when I merged my passion of Western Pennsylvania history and literature with iconography. What captivates my interest in this style of painting is the depth of it’s narrative history, spiritual intensity, the coats of sheer color, the ritualistic nature of it’s process, and the fixed- yet alive glowing eyes of the subject.
Peter Oresick (American b. 1955 – 2016) is a poet, painter, publisher, and professor. His books include Warhol-o-rama, Definitions, and Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life. He has taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Emerson College.
Richard Pell & Bob Lansberry – Sanity Check or The Resurrection of the Bird God
For the last 20 years my work has concerned itself with how power and authority are portioned out in a technologically mediated world. I investigate these issues as a builder, curator, collector and story teller. In the course of doing this work I have the opportunity to engage with people whose experience of the world is very different from my own. This is where I learn the most.
As a student at Carnegie Mellon in the 90’s I spent a lot of time wandering around downtown pittsburgh with a tape recorder looking for street preachers. That’s when I first met Bob Lansberry. He quickly gave me and 7 or 8 other students an impromptu lecture on the invention of radio transmission by Rudolph Hertz who discovered that certain people can hear low frequency radio inside their head. Lansberry believes he is a descendent of a population of people who were recognized for having this genetic ability to hear higher frequency sounds and have been used in radio mind-control experiments ever since. He began protesting mind control and mail censorship on the streets of Pittsburgh in the early 1970’s. His sandwich board messages were etched in the collective unconscious of Pittsburgh for decades. People knew the phrases, “Why can’t Lansberry get mail?” or “Does Silent Radio Control Your Mind?”, but few knew what they meant.
Bob’s story blew my mind. It resonated with me. If I were in his position, constantly hearing voices that are outside my control, I’d be looking for answers too. He seemed to recognize me as a fellow traveler. I showed him an art project that I was making at the time. It was a booklet of postcards. The cards were printed with text, code and images that if they were sent through the mail, the sender would be committing an actual crime, entitled, “How To Become An International Arm Trafficker and Other Exciting Careers”. He looked gravely disappointed and shook his head. “Boy, they’ve got mind controls all over you. Don’t you ever doing anything so stupid again.” Point taken. After that I shot a few hours of interview footage with Bob and basically became Bob’s archivist.
There’s something in Bob’s messages that to me pose unsettling questions that escape easy answers. “Does silent radio control your mind?” Well, does it? How would you know? What does it even mean? These are Borges stories reduced to sandwich board length.
Reyghan Pierce – Sedna
Mike Q Roth – The Gold Standard
My childhood home was surrounded on almost all sides by fields devoted to agricultural production. Most of the time these fields were planted with corn. Thus began a lifetime of being obsessed with the iconography of corn. From its origins as one of America’s true native foods and its relation with the indigenous peoples to corn’s modern connections to bio-engineering, farm policy and big business, corn can symbolize a bit of both the good and bad about America. Corn sustains us, yet threatens to control us. We have submitted to it. It is our gold standard.
For a limited time, visit The Gold Standard in person and make a withdrawal of corn cash. One per person!
Vanessa Adams – Temperance
To temper a substance is to alter its chemistry, to transform its molecular structure through heat. For Sidewall, I have created my own version of the fourteenth card of major arcana in tarot, often called Temperance in many decks, or Art and Alchemy in others. I have long been drawn to this card for its vision of alchemical transformation–a radical representation of change made possible by the union of opposites, by joining many parts to create a new whole. In my piece, a figure holds these opposites–earth and sky on their body, land and sea touching their feet, fire and water in their hands–and enacts a process of uniting–fire and water harnessed and combining to create a new generative force, an enveloping steam.
Marlana Adele Vassar – Progress
Two years ago I was selected for a residency with the August Wilson Center. Many museum patrons and Pittsburgh residents are aware of the troubles the Center experienced during that time, and the institution is currently on the upswing. I believe that repair and rebuilding are a part of life, and after my residency I went through a process of rebuilding as well.
For sidewall, I wanted to explore the idea of life cycles and symbolism as it relates August Wilson and myself. Mr. Wilson’s expression is serious, denoting an awareness of self, his audience, his city. The hint of a smile; hope. His house is rendered in muted tones with touches of brighter colors, as a play on past and present.
I also included other motifs of personal significance. Growing up in Fayette County, coming to Pittsburgh (or any city) was a big deal, so for me bridges and city structures are fascinating, and symbolize a pathway to something bigger. Ships are included to symbolize a personal journey of self-discovery, and also reflects the design of the center itself.
There are also two excerpts from Wilson’s play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone”, which I feel accurately describes the struggle of Pittsburgh’s working class as well as many of the cities’ artists.
Maybe Jairan Sadeghi – statistics
Statistics, in their language of margins, medians, and likelihoods are to studies of science, society, and profit as mortar is to brick. For an enterprise so highly pliable in interpretation and beholden to the quality of the data, we hang a great deal of hope on it. I wanted to introduce turbulence into the idea of statistics, taking advantage of the human mind’s desire to fill in blanks, and find patterns in the omissions and random uses of color.
See more of Sadeghi’s work at www.maybesadeghi.com.
Lizzee Solomon – You Are Here
You Are Here transports the viewer from the dreary land of “eternal twilight” into a tropical paradise. The smell of coconuts is thick in the air, hibiscus petals gently tickle your cheeks, your skin is crispy with sun and salt. You are never too hot because there is always a cool breeze to catch and a broad, palm shade to retire under. You hear a samba band in the distance. It is almost Carnival. You are here and the world is waiting.
Solomon a visual artist who makes paintings, illustrations, and comics. She portrays women, food, and other objects of desire with a bendy, twisted, colorful style. Beauty and horror are frequently one in the same.
See more of Solomon’s work at http://lizzeesolomon.com/
Nicole Ryan – Mercer Station
My paintings focus on emotionally charged but ambiguous images of people and places with details fuzzy around the edges, leaving the viewers with a strong sense of déjà vu.
These false memories of people and places I create are based on what is overly romanticized or tragic, and are defined as much by what is missing by what is present.
I blur out details, preferring the viewer fill in their own. My subjects get flattened, blurred faces that blend into the landscape, the clouds melt into the horizon line. I want the works to be soft, unfocused and distant; a memory nearly lost.
Celeste Neuhaus – compare
Celeste Neuhaus’s work examines the interplay of archetypal forces between the psyche, the body, and the cosmos. In “compare”, plastic sequins spell the word “worth” in gold with a black drop shadow, referencing a technique employed in signage and billboards. The sequins are enclosed in a field of painted mud, activated by reflected sunlight and set into motion by the wind. These elements are integrated in a perpetual state of transformation to illuminate the notion of “worth”.
*documentation of both day light and night time view.
Omar Lopex -the Tiny Martyr of Gdansk
Part of an on-going series of alternative heroes that I started by painting wooden panels of Black and Mexican personas, and zip tying them over the Cesar Chavez cutout on the freeway exit at Cesar Chavez Blvd in my neighborhood. (The first 2 in the series are Pancho Barnes & Redd Foxx).
Proposing vital, fun, alternatives to “safe” heroes & untouchable institutionalized personalities that get fed to people.
The people in my murals were chosen by putting out handwritten flyers in the community and soliciting nominations for new heroes.
“Little” Nancy Shumaski is a Polish martyr from the 1960’s known as the Tiny Martyr of Gdansk.
She worked in a shoe factory where as part of new Socialist measures promoting gender equality, all the workers were female (except for the foreman). Nancy gained a reputation as an excellent worker because of her exceptionally small hands. The other women at the factory felt protective of her, both because she was an orphan, and because of her exceedingly quiet and shy demeanor .
Over the years, tensions grew between female workers and the company’s higher ups. Enduring harsh work conditions, the female workers attempted to unionize and ask for changes, but never seemed to make any headway.
“Little” Nancy’s end came when at 12 years old, her foreman attempted to take her as a child bride. She refused, was clobbered to death by the foreman with a pair of shoes. Upon hearing the news, the female factory workers rioted and burnt the factory to the ground. It was said that the massive structure fire was completely silent, just as “Little Nancy” had been in life.
Gary Duehr – Hazards of Modern Living
“Hazards of Modern Living” comments on the culture of fear in the post-9/11 era. At times absurd or chilling, the signs caution us to avoid dangers such as lightning, falling planes, and drowning—as well as apparently innocuous objects like forks, clocks and sad books.
At the center, suffering all these fates, is a stoic, Buster Keaton-like Everyman, familiar from Men’s Room signs. Blank, expressionless, he is restricted to several poses: flailing, running, and sitting or standing unawares.
D.S. Kinsel – Portal Power Map
This power map depicts a futuristic portal surrounded by powerful text communicating #blackpower and #blacklivesmatter. The text is also utilized as shape to layer color and pattern. These repeated elements guide the central vortex of the portal. Portal Power Map is an effort in cultural space making by communicating affirming messages and connecting contemporary and historical cultural chants around black unity in a region severely lacking in diversity.
June Edwards – Furnace Structure 5
The painting created for the Sidewall Project is based on my photographs of Carrie Furnace Works, and is part of a series of mixed media paintings that explore abandoned industrial architecture around Pittsburgh. I begin with the framework and visual richness of deteriorated metal structures — towers, factories, machinery, bridges, and buildings — and build arrangements of selected forms. The composition includes parts of many digital images that are layered, arranged and adjusted in Photoshop. I re-worked the digital print for this painting with acrylic paints to heighten the visual effect of form, color and texture.
I feel empathy for the human effort required to build and operate these abandoned industrial places, and consider these works as a requiem, an expression of sadness for what we once had that is no longer there. My work is a tribute to what is left of old technology and function.
More artwork can be seen at juneedwardsart.com
Assemble’s Girls’ Maker Night participants: Ashanti, Daijah, Maggie, Sofia, Aria, Seroya, and Bailee. With support from” Youth Program Coordinator Jess Gold, local artist Ashley Cecil, and Artist Image Resource (AIR)
Garfield Garden: Our Neighborhood Wildlife
Over the course of the past 6 weeks, Assemble’s incredible Girls’ Maker Night participants went through the process of creating art inspired by natural sciences and translating it into a repeatable pattern for surface design – ultimately using their pattern to create a silkscreened public art installation! This collaborative, student-driven project gave the girls a taste of ornithology, entomology, botany, drawing/illustration, pattern development, and silk screening. They also had the opportunity use professional design software and learn about a wide range of career options – such as nature illustration and environmental conservation.
***We owe a big thank you to Guest Maker Ashley Cecil, the wonderful local artist who co-facilitated these workshops with Program Coordinator Jess Gold. This project would also not have been possible without Molly Mehling, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Sustainability at Chatham University, and Artists Image Resource (AIR), a local artist-run printmaking organization.***
Click here for more info about Girls’ Maker Night, and while you’re at it you can check out Assemble’s other awesome programs too!
Jennifer Howison – The Wanderer
Maggie Bogdanich – Understanding from the Inside Out
Understanding From the Inside Out is a continuation of making images based on my interest in the digestive system as the hub of our health, an interface between the outside world and our inside world. Phrases such as “you are what you eat” and “trust your gut”, though cliche, resonate with me and guide quite a bit of decision making in my life. I use bright and simplistic shapes rather than a more realistic depiction because it is about the idea of the digestive system and not the thing itself. Also, I am drawn to more basic diagrams gleaned from children’s books as an aesthetic. The image is simple and lacking extensive detail so that the “audience” driving by in cars can read it in the instant they pass by. The curious detail of the cross eyed cat peering from behind the enormous blades of cartoon grass was intuitive and, for me, added an element of humor twisting the straightforward diagram towards something whimsical.
Olof Berner – View from Wakefield
My work is a blend of architectural studies and organic living. I use sharp, geometric lines and simple forms to provide juxtaposition to heavily layered and organically complex landscapes, impressions of nature, e.g. sedimentary layers, tree bark or water. As an industrial designer and artist, I am exploring the spectrum between abstract and descriptive form, as it relates to generating ideas, refining details and communicating the vision through carefully chosen medium.
View more of his work at www.olofberner.com.
The staircase is actually the “bridge” to a portal once you reach the top. At the entrance on Herron Ave there appears to be an attempt to disguise the stairs as well as the portal at the end with a variety of foliage, rocks, dirt, and graffiti. However the byway is clearly marked by the Herron Ave street sign.
As you take the staircase up and you reach the last step, you are compelled to glance around at the skylines of downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland, PA. That’s the moment you turn and enter the portal and a small, interesting, and enchanted place opens up to you.
Juliet Philips – Block Watch
This mural is derived from my observations of a changing Pittsburgh. I often try to document the small, but important, objects of our collective past—the ones that manage to hang on somehow through our constant change of landscape. This sign of McGruff, the crime dog, which is fastened to the telephone poll outside my house, both promotes, and threatens, the fading idea of neighborhood watch. I want to recognize and commemorate the strangeness of this sign—of a silly drawing of a dog in a trench coat, whose image supposedly scares entire neighborhoods straight. I want to document that odd sense of nostalgia I feel while gazing up at it, thinking about a time in my life when McGruff did scare me straight. Maybe when I was eight and thinking about swooping a school lunch.
This drawing relates to an ongoing project that is a sort of visual diary I’ve kept since moving to Pittsburgh.
More of the artist’s work HERE!
Shaun Slifer – Teach History From Below
“History From Below” is a corrective lens with which to look back for lessons for the present day: where “from below” means all the rest of us, the 99% if you will, who toil below the minority ruling class. This is a historiography which runs counter to the “Great Men” narratives – that exclusive, dominant history written by oppressors, victors of war, colonialists, industrialists, racists, urban developers and re-developers. History from below is people’s history, labor history, social history, folk history. Learn it, teach it, share it, feel it and live by it.
This design was first created for Justseeds’ 2014 classroom-themed portfolio, Liberating Learning.
Shaun Slifer is a multidisciplinary artist currently working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shaun’s projects have appeared internationally in a variety of galleries, nonprofit exhibition spaces, and community centers, as well as under bridges and alongside interstate highways. He regularly works in collaboration with other artists and in collectively structured groups, including the now-disbanded Street Art Workers, the Howling Mob Society, and currently with Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative and the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. He received a BFA in Sculpture from Watkins College of Art in Nashville, Tennessee in 2003.
Check out the artist’s website at sslifer.net
Shaun posted about his mural-making process, you can read it on the Justseeds blog.
J. Pascoe – Archipelagic Thought
Taking cues from from various literary and philosophical sources – namely Foucault’s Heterotopias and and various translated writings from Edouard Glissant – as well as the artist’s own social anxieties Archipelagic Thought is part of an ongoing body of work illustrating literal depictions of social dynamics in crowds and large groups or other settings human bodies find themselves in.
this piece is inspired by the connection with nature and inner peace. nature and health. nature and the soul. relearning our connection to nature and our true creator, beginning, mother. trusting what the earth has provided for us. we have become so distant from the earth and nature that we’ve desensitized ourselves. we’re forgetting that we are all animals. forgetting basic knowledge that came intuitively, not so long ago. forgetting how to live off the earth and give back to the earth, and that cycle of un-recycling continues. we’ve surrounded ourselves by man made materials and continue to distrust what the earth has provided for us. and i am also a part of that forgetting, and in my work struggle to reconnect, to remember.
Nikos Kardambikis, Anna Katsina, Basilis Kardambikis, Lambro Kardambikis, Theofilos Kardambikis, and my father Spiro Kardambikis during a family trip back to the village of Granitsa in the Evrytania region of Greece in the summer of ’86.
jen cooney – Summer Adventures: Queer Pool Babes
Artist Bio: jen cooney is the result of the mating of a unicorn and a manatee, they were raised in the rhinestone caverns found beneath the Great Lakes. They currently are found queering it up in the hills of Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, where they are constantly recreating images of the magical land that they hope to find again.
Carolyn Kelly – Outside in, Darwin and his finches
contact for commissions and prints: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie Kaplan – Our Lady of the Floatation Device
Inspired by religious iconography and esoteric imagery, “Our Lady of the Floatation Device” is a protective image of a Saint who offers a life boat for darker times. As the figure floats up from the deep waters of the unconscious, an outstretched hand offers a boat, an escape from the consuming emotive turmoil of the inner world, where the dreamy Pisces fish are pierced by negativity . Originally a relief print, this work was enlarged to an iconic scale for the Sidewall Project, intending to protect both the passerby and members of the residence. Katie Kaplan is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose current body of work is focused on creating rustbelt magical realist tableaus incorporating printed works, fiber sculpture, photo and video.