The Poster As a Vehicle for Social Commentary


Kristina Graham’s honors thesis exhibition is currently on display at Gallery 121 at Belmont. The closing reception will be April 7, 5-7pm with artist talk at 5.45pm and it will be up for the duration of the week. I am attending and I suggest you try to stop by as well. She has put great effort into this exhibition and I know there will be some awesome posters she designed and posters from other designers too like Milton Glaser, Luba Lukova, Kelsey Freeman, Favianna Rodriguez, and me! You may not know who Milton Glaser is, but you have most definitely seen the “I Heart NY” campaign that he created or his awesome Bob Dylan poster that is a silhouette with colors for his hair.

Here is the Artist’s Statement:

The thing that is intriguing about the poster is its ability to convey a message within a short amount of time. While a poster can be used to communicate many different messages‚ÄĒadvertising, movies, music, products, and people‚ÄĒ perhaps most importantly they can engage in social commentary. Posters that comment on society can convey messages that have more personal meanings, challenging the viewer by inviting thought and interaction. Social commentary posters are driven by the views of the designer/artist rather than an external client. Therefore, they are closer to traditional fine art in that they convey the artist‚Äôs opinions. The most important thing to the graphic artist is clear communication; the most important thing for the fine artist is personal expression; this project offers an opportunity to synthesize both of these goals. Another notable difference between commercial advertising and political or social commentary imagery is that commercial advertising cultivates the capacity to be tempted, the willingness to indulge private desires and liberties such as buying a product or embracing a certain persona or lifestyle. In contrast, the political or social commentary poster cultivates a sense of obligation or responsibility, a stimulus to renounce private desires and pursue something larger then the self or, at the very least to generate awareness of the specific issue. From interviews and research I‚Äôve learned about the social commentary poster culture. Through personal exploration I‚Äôve generated a series of posters that comment on society and the human condition as we progress ‚Äúfrom womb to tomb.‚ÄĚ

See you there!


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