Saturday, August 14, 2010


Evan's tattoo, ink & paper

Martin's tattoo-Earth, ink & paper
Martin's tattoo-Sun, ink & paper

ALT 101 design (I believe they have changed "Fight for Freedom" to "The Struggle for Freedom" but this is the version I had on my computer)
ALT 101 design-legend
Photograph of beautiful anonymous models holding up the shirts I designed

As if it's been over 5 months since I updated this thing. Ah well, that's nothing new. Here are a few commissions from the last couple of months. The first three images were drawn up for some friends as tattoos. Then there is a design I did for OPIRG-GRIPO (Ottawa U this time) for their Alternative frosh week, better known as ALT 101. They had asked me to create an image comprised of important freedom fighters as well as significant/symbolic places that represent different social struggles for justice throughout history and today. I've included a sort of appendix to make it a bit easier to understand.

An interesting note: the activist pictured in the upper left corner's name is Gao Zhisheng and he is actually a very close friend of a professor at Ottawa U. The prof in question actually fled from China not very long ago while 8 months pregnant. She, an active human rights activist, left China in order to escape the treatment reserved for individuals who disagree with the Chinese government. Aside from being one of her close friends, Gao is one of the most high-profile human rights lawyers in China and was imprisoned/ went missing in September 2009. For several months the government did not charge him and denied knowledge of his whereabouts, until it was eventually found that he had in fact been taken by the Chinese authorities. Beyond simply being imprisoned, Gao also underwent torture. At one point the government claimed he had been "released"... But when the family inquired about his whereabouts Beijing police told Gao's brother "he had lost his way and went missing," thus leading his family and friends to believe he had in fact died (aka been murdered) while imprisoned. Yet recently, news that he was still alive surfaced, which brought tremendous joy to his family and friends who have undergone unbearable torment and hardship as a result of these events. As of April, his whereabouts are still unclear but it seems that he has been freed from prison. When I first heard of Gao's story I was shocked, yet not surprised insofar as the utterly appalling treatment of human rights activists in China is no secret. The professor at Ottawa U had contacted me a number of months ago asking me if I could create some kind of artwork to spread the message about her friend. Months passed since the time I received her email but I kept her request in the back of my mind if any ideas or opportunities were to come up. Eventually I was contacted by the fine folks at OPIRG and saw the shirt/poster/pamphlet design as a perfect opportunity to honour both her request as well as the pain and suffering that activists like Gao are put through.
Although some of the faces you see in the design speak directly to the past, I felt it was important to also include activists who are more closely tied to the present: activists who are still fighting for freedom and justice today. Even though many of us live extremely comfortable lives, the struggle for freedom is not a thing of the past and we must be conscious of the injustices that surround us as well as of those who have, and continue to, dedicate their lives to creating a better future for all of us.

Speaking of dedicated activists, I designed a t-shirt (the ones seen in the picture) to help raise funds for some Ottawa folks and important members of the activist community who were arrested in relation with the attacks on the RBC. Their lawyer fees were bound to be extravagant and 100% of the money made from these shirts (as well as bags) went straight to them. That being said, there are many of these shirts still available and I believe some of the money is also now going towards lawyer fees for individuals arrested during the G20. In any case, you should get one!!! Support your community! We've printed the logo on a bunch of different colours now, so hit me up if you want one. *Note that in the picture one of the shirts has a splash of ink going across the logo.. It was the only shirt that turned out that way but of all the shirts we printed that is by far my favorite.

Anyhow, I think that's it for now. OH actually, one more thing... I think I've decided to leave the world of academia once I finish my B.A. in order to live the life of an artist once and for all. That is, to actually make art my priority. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck :)

OH! OH! Actually one more thing: I will have a wall of new pieces at Canteen in October!! I am stoked!! And I hope you will ALL check it out!!


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