Breaking out of patterns

The Artdog Quote of the Week 

When we look at creativity’s value, it’s everywhere.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Pinterest, and Professional Artist Magazine for this image. 

The ‘medicinal art’ of Ricardo Levins Morales

I’ve been wanting to round out my mid-week “Social Justice February” posts with art–and I’ve found the perfect “poster man” for the topic. He is Ricardo Levins Morales. You may find that you recognize his work, but even if you don’t I hope you enjoy it.

Trayvon Martin-Ella Baker
I had seen this image before, but never knew who the artist was.

Posters have a long history in art. They haven’t always been appreciated for the art form they are, of course–Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, for example was scorned by other artists for his commercialism when he created what are now considered iconic images. And Alphonse Mucha tried to distance himself, later in life, from the Art Nouveau style he helped create with his marvelous posters.

Budget Priorities speaks to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Ricardo Levins Morales, by contrast, has embraced the art of the poster-style image in his own unique way. The artist/activist has turned it into what he calls “medicinal art.” What does that mean?

History’s Perspective offers hope in an unjust world.

“when I work with any community I start with a diagnosis,” he explains in his online biography. “I ask what it is that keeps this group of people from knowing their power and acting on it. Not what has been done to them but wounds, fears or ways of thought keep folks immobilized.”

We Are the Mainstream

His work embraces social justice, the environment, empowerment for a variety of minority groups, and labor issues. I’ve collected a “mini-gallery” of some of my favorites here, but you can see many, many more wonderful pieces at his Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio website.

Environmental Justice

IMAGES: Many thanks to the Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio for all of the images shown in this post. I’ve linked each back to a page where you can purchase the image if you wish. Many are available in at least two formats.

When is it play, and when is it creative work?

A much-belated Artdog Quote of the Week!

I’ve been playing a little more than I “should” this week (always with the “shoulds” [insert quiet groan here]. You’d think I’d learn).

Last week, I finished my final editing pass on Going to the XK9s. It’s the (eighth draft of the) first novel in my planned “XK9 Series.

I sent it off to my editor, took a deep breath, and . . . OMG! Really wanted to get going on the next one!

I don’t know if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. I’ve been told that one should take a vacation, or at least a nice, relaxing break, after finishing a novel manuscript–especially after finishing the kind of fine-toothed-comb, line-by-line editing process, where you sweat ALL the details.

My problem with that? I’m bubbling over with ideas and energy for the next book. My XK9s are a pack of sapient police dogs who shake things up on their adopted space station home, while sniffing out bad guys. Writing about them is a lot of fun (as I hope reading about them will be).

I’ve also had enough experience to know that “flow” like this doesn’t happen all the time. It’s wise to hop on and ride it out, when it comes, which is what I’ve been doing, instead of writing blog posts (sorry). Every job feels like “a job,” sometimes–just not right now, for me.

So, then, am I relaxing? Am I working? Is it okay to say “yes”? If your work feels like playing, do we have to draw the line somewhere?

Gosh, I hope not.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Pinterest, via Betype, for the John Cleese quote, and to Marine L. Rot for the “creative flow” banner.

Who needs labor unions?

The Artdog Quote of the Week

On this Labor Day, I wish both relaxation and a moment of thought to all of you. I know that in this country there are many people who think labor unions are the worst thing possible, so for you folks, here’s my trigger warning.

As a teacher who will forever be grateful that my labor union went to bat for me when I was being unfairly treated by an employer, I have a very positive view of the need for labor unions. 

I believe strongly that all human beings who work bring something unique to their work, and that they should be treated fairly, respected–no matter what their job is–and paid a living wage.

I’m a student of history. I know that not all labor unions have been positive influences at all times. Some labor unions have functioned like political machines in a corrupting way. Some labor unions have overreached and been intransigent when perhaps they should have been more flexible. Some have been controlled or heavily influenced by organized crime.

But I also know that labor unions have been deeply involved in helping to empower everyday people so they can take part in creating safer, fairer, and more free and well-paying job situations. My theme this month–a creative look at labor–will explore the positive aspects of the labor movement, and the need to keep on cherishing the right to help create better workplaces for tomorrow.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Wheniscalendars for the Happy Labor Day logo, and to Quotesideas for the image and quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.