Collage Poster printed as an offset lithograph, 31″ x 20″
Copyright John August Swanson, 2012
When I was starting my work as an artist from 1968 to 1975, I was influenced by political ideas and movements, and the songs and speeches of the 1960s and 70s. I created a series of works similar to newspapers-collages of lettering, artwork, and photos, an “exploding newspaper.” I used a large variety of imagery, from photographs to my own hand carved rubber stamps, to create visual interest. It was a good opportunity to incorporate the lettering and alphabets I had carved in my mentor Corita Kent’s lettering class.
Using my knowledge of photography, and working in darkrooms, I overexposed photographs to simplify them, and create stark solarized images, which I felt complimented the lettering. I combined the lettering, photos and rubberstamp images with texts that were meaningful to me: the words of the writer, James Agee; the poet, Lawrence Ferlinghetti; and the labor leader, Cesar Chavez; as well as song lyrics. Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote songs about the indigenous people of the Americas, and about peace and political consciousness. I chose the song she wrote in 1968 for Brotherhood Week, Seeds of Brotherhood, to create one of these “exploding newspapers.”
The lyrics are so playful, yet they deal with the importance of understanding, compassion, and empowerment. Yes, we can create a better place where everyone can live!
|SEEDS OF BROTHERHOOD (poster text)It’s time to open your eyes,
Take a look outside and all around,
To north and south and up and down.
The weather is right, the time is here.
There’ll never be a better year
For brotherhood to take its root,
To bloom its blossom and sprout its shoot.
Open up your eyes.
It’s time to find a place to hoe,
To find a place to plant your row,
Where the seeds of love can grow and grow.
Your heart’s the perfect spot, you know.
Time to clean your garden plot
Of sticks and stones and other old rot.
Time to plant a brand new world
Where promises keep and paths unfurl,
To young and old, to boy and girl,
To rich and poor, to woman and man,
To Black and White, and Gold and Tan,
To big and little, and fast and slow.
Oh, see how brotherhood can grow,
Let the sun shine in your face
To everyone of every race.