‘The partnership of graphic art and activism came into its own in the 1960s – campaigners became bolder and protest graphics became experimental, featuring more colour and expressive forms’ says independent curator Margaret Cubbage in Varoom’s Graphic Protest article in the Activism issue, in which she explains the role graphics have played in protest and campaigns for change.
These are a few of the responses Cubbage gave to the questions Varoom put to her. ‘The Vietnam War began in 1955 and by the 1960s was generating widespread opposition in the U.S.A. Posters and other ephemera were produced to reflect public objection to government military action, including Seymour Chwast’s 1967 End Bad Breath – a spoof dental hygeine advertisement showing American aircraft bombing a settlement inside Uncle Sam’s open mouth.’

Seymour Chwast, End Bad Breath, 1967

‘Edel Roderiguez uses technology to give people access to his artwork. His anti-Trump illustrations are commissioned by magazines including TIME, The New Yorker and Der Spiegel – they are immediately recognisable as the controversial US president, using only one or two visual clues. They’re bold and stylised, and so they work as well for street protests as they do in magazines. Roderiguez makes his images available for download so that they can be shared and adopted by protestors across the world.’

Edel Roderiguez, Time cover

‘In terms of significant change, the work of designers and illustrators is not necessarily going to change the world. It can influence the mood and motivations of people… But as the artist Oddly Head, aka Tim Fishlock, stated in his bold graphic billboard below, seen on the streets of London in 2017 – Slogans in Nice Typefaces Won’t Save the Human Races.’

Oddly Head London 2017

See more on Varoom Activisim issue here Featured image, detail from OSPAAAL poster by Alfredo Rostgaard, 1969
To read the full piece Purchase Varoom 38
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