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: email@example.com
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.