The posters created by these artists can be found and downloaded for free here.
Online and in print
Rini Templeton was a well known American graphic artist, sculptor, and political activist. Before she died in 1986, she made drawings of people in struggle. It could be a workers’ strike, a community struggle to save a school or hospital, peasants battling for the land, a celebration of International Women’s Day, or a march for peace. She told people she did “xerox art,” meaning they could freely photocopy drawings they found useful to put on flyers, pamphlets, banners, picket signs, T-shirts, anything to support their work.
The bilingual book, “The Art of Rini Templeton: Where There is Life and Struggle/El Arte de Rini Templeton: Donde hay Vida y Lucha” was published in 1989 by the Real Comet Press in Seattle, and in Mexico City, with many of her drawings, as well as “Remembrances of Rini” by those who knew her, and a detailed chronology of her life.
The website RiniArt.com has been established to continue the tradition of making her work easily available to activists serving causes that she would have supported.
Melanie Cervantes makes her home in the San Francisco Bay Area where she creates visual art that is inspired by the people around her and her community’s desire for radical social transformation. Melanie’s intention is to create a visual lexicon of resistance to multiple oppressions to inspire curiosity, raise consciousness and inspire solidarities among communities of struggle.
In 2007 she co-founded Dignidad Rebelde, a graphic arts collaboration that produces screen prints, political posters and multimedia projects that are grounded in Third World and indigenous movements that build people’s power to transform the conditions of fragmentation, displacement and loss of culture that result from histories of colonialism, patriarchy, genocide, and exploitation.
Melanie has exhibited extensively nationally. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, the Latin American Collection of the Green Library at Stanford, the Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth College and the Library of Congress, as well as various other public and private collections throughout the U.S.
Mona Caron is a San Francisco-based artist who uses muralism, illustration, and photography in both her art and activism. She is known locally for her trans-temporal murals of neighborhood history leading to collectively visioned radical transformations into positive futures. Internationally, she is known for her botanical mural series titled ”Weeds,” a metaphor about resilience and resistance. Mona also creates art and graphics to accompany street actions and social and environmental justice movements. Her art has been used in climate justice movements, water rights, and labor rights groups, with organizations including 350.org, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Zero-waste Detroit, US Social forum, La Coordinadora por el Agua y la Vida and Fundación Abril of Cochabamba (Bolivia), Land is Life and Acción Ecologica (Ecuador), as well as advocacy groups for bicycle transportation worldwide.
Inti Gonzalez, 20, is the Street Spirit and Communications Leader at Youth Spirit Artworks. She lives with her two brothers and mother. Inti is working towards becoming a well developed musician and artist and hopes to have a career in the arts one day.
About her piece, “Hello there, we’re still here,” Gonzalez says, “People often ignore and disconnect from different issues that are going on around them, especially when those issues do not directly impact them in a noticeable way. It is good not to be hard on yourself if you do this, because most people do this in one way or another, which is why there are so many problems in our world. When we numb out and let these issues continue to grow, we all end up getting sucked down at some point.
Homelessness is easy to tune out at times, especially when actions are done to cover it up. The statement ‘Hello there, we’re still here’ really spoke to me because of this. A gentle greeting with a reminder that ‘we,’ the homeless, ‘are still here.’ A reminder to everyone of the still continuing homelessnes issue.
With art, it’s not only important to have a strong message. The combined creative aspect is important too. It is what amplifies a message to become even more impactful than it already is. Deliver your message with beauty and expression to help bring out the beauty and expression in the world, to help our world break through to a better future.”
David Solnit is longtime mass direct-action organizer, , carpenter, puppeteer and arts organizer who has helped to build arts into movements, mobilizations and campaigns, recently the Poor People’s Campaign, Fight for15, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Refinery Corridor Healing Walks, anti-eviction action with ACCE, and Line 3 Pipeline solidarity. Over the last decade he has worked in climate justice movements, helping to popularize the large-scale use of arts. He is the editor of “Globalize Liberation; How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World,” co-author of “Army of None; How to Resist Military Recruitment and Build a Better World,” and “The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle.”
San Francisco Poster Syndicate
The San Francisco Poster Syndicate is a digital collective that publishes political posters and movement art online, free for anyone to download. It was built by students and teachers in 2014.
In December 2016 Suzi Garner was on Adeline street in Berkeley when she spotted a large pink lettered sign in front of a homeless encampment that read, “Come Say Hi.” She was instantly drawn in, and went over to meet these friendly people. It was her subsequent connection and conversation, and the inspiration of that cardboard sign, which sparked the idea for illuminated tent installations.
Garner believes art can come in endless forms. “In my opinion, art which aims to engage the public on a social issue works best when it can make someone smile or feel a specific, individualized compassion and respect. This draws the viewer in and appeals to their humanity rather than stirring anger or pity,” she says.
This is why the “Where Do We Go?” installation—which sat at the I-80 South to University Avenue exit for about a month in October 2019—asked a direct question of the public. Garner attempted to do this in a playful manner, using colors, lights, rotating motors, and friendly lettering. The goal of the illuminated tent project was to make the issue of homelessness more visible in a positive, human light. These (often roadside) communities living in tents and other structures are not anonymous, shameful aspects of society, but conscious community members who hold wisdom in their life experience, neighbors with whom everyone in the community has a relationship, whether cultivated or not. Ideally the illuminated tents, either at I-80 or elsewhere, highlight this wisdom and inspire the desire to connect with all our neighbors, to understand their individual experiences, and hopefully find a way for us to advocate for and support one another.
Toan Nguyen was born in Biên Hòa, Vietnam. As of this writing (February 2021), he is an unhoused artist and activist in Berkeley, California. His art focuses on political issues, particularly homelessness.
Toan believes that raising awareness through art and working directly with our unhoused neighbors is a step toward solutions to help us solve the homeless crisis together. He says, “For me, art can be a form of harm reduction; a platform for expressions, self therapy. A moment of creativity and improvisations is what we (the unhoused) are forced to turn to when lacking stable housing, lacking art supplies—a variety of parallel routes we’re all carving with discovery, perseverance, and resilience.”
Leslie is an artist, organizer and educator who creates tactical art, media spectacles and unsanctioned installations from within movements fighting for a right to the city and an equitable future. The collaborative work reclaims public spaces for collective joy and resistance, with an integrated media strategy to push policy and public discourse towards an ethic of equity, justice and accountability. She also works as an arts organizer with Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition and Coalition on Homelessness to help spotlight global real estate speculation, hyper gentrification and the tech industry’s impact on housing and inequality. Within these coalitions she designs public art and creative direct actions that help push the narratives and demands coming from those most impacted to the forefront. Stolen Belonging is a multi-year project that she’s working on with Coalition on Homelessness to visibilize the possessions stolen in the sweeps, the impact of such violence, the ways in which such thefts steal a person’s ability to belong in the city, as well as collective solutions to the sweeps. Find more of Leslie’s work here.
Yesica Prado is a multimedia journalist, artist, and activist. She was born in Nezahualcoyótl, Mexico. At nine years old, she immigrated with her family to Chicago, Archer Heights. She earned a BFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before turning 21, she was granted a humanitarian visa. Yesica used this new opportunity to seek a master’s in journalism from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.
While in school, Yesica lost her housing. She came to the Berkeley Marina and joined a vehicle community already residing there. They created a network of support for one another, showing the empathy, resilience, and kindness present even in the face of precarious living. Yesica captures these elements in her visual and written work to shed light on our shared humanity, inviting her audience to look past “a situation.” Her work engages viewers in the moments and emotions we all collectively experience in this life. Yesica hopes her work can help bridge communication gaps between people. Change prejudices about Poor communities. Erase borders. Unite People.
This tent installation, it’s a celebration of life for our fallen comrades, who passed away on the streets of Berkeley in the last three years. We wanted to offer a monument to our friends to their resilience and courage to resist being crushed by the obstacles of living outdoors. We wanted to cherish their loving memory and provide healing for our community that mourns them. The fragmented colorful fly on the tent represents the brokenness in our lives, which it’s further emphasized when darkness falls and the tent is lit up, revealing the tears in the fabric. But despite the hardships and conditions we find ourselves living in outside, we can fill those cracks with gold – Love. Hope. Community.
Krista McAtee (she/they) is a second year student at UC Berkeley studying Ethnic Studies and Rhetoric. With the school planning to build more unaffordable housing on People’s Park, she made this poster as a form of resistance. Students are voicing their disgust with UC Berkeley’s targeted attack on the poor and they refuse to be complicit in the harm and violence perpetuated against the houseless community. They have and will continue to fight tooth and nail to prevent the displacement of those who use the Park as a resource for supplies, food, and shelter while there are no better systems in pace to actually house those living at the Park or offer housing that is genuinely affordable for low-income people. Krista’s design was created to reflect the ongoing battle to save the Park from development by the university.
AVA BLU GANADEN
I’m Ava Blu, I am 15 years old and an artist at Youth Spirit Artworks. I like doing all kinds of mediums and sizes of art. I really like watercolor and pen but I also like painting on big surfaces with acrylic. I have been doing art ever since I was little because my mom is also an artist. We would always do art projects and art stayed with me through out the years.
This piece reflects the impact of homelessness as a whole. Homelessness not only effects homeless people but also the real estate market, public services, and everyone’s tax dollars. This peice brings awareness to homeless people and other lower class citizens.
Hi my name is Aceeyah and i’m a digital and traditional visual artist at Youth Spirit Artworks. i pull my inspiration from the cultures of my parents and my life experience in order to make art!
I wanted to make a piece about the amount of disproportion there is of people on the streets. it is a human right to have a shelter and know when your next meal is however the unjust system has taken this away from so many people.
Jason Powell-Smith is a Youth Spirit Artworks participant.
Images come into my brain and I draw or paint them. I mainly paint in acrylics because I like making them smooth by adding water and I like the feel of using a brush. Right now my theme is cats, because of a previous project I did for a client who wanted a cat design. I create because I feel good being an artist and my style is abstract. I love doing artwork for me and customers love my art. It makes me feel good when everybody buys my art. I am a Youth Spirit Artworks participant and a top seller in the program!
Homelessness is spreading in the community but I wanted to show how the Tiny House Village is helping with that. My piece addresses homelessness by showing a Tiny House in the middle to house people who have been evicted and kicked out of their home. This hits home for me because I have experienced being evicted out of my home too. I see people in the streets experiencing homelessness near my apartment by the freeway with tents up. There are so many Tent Towns around the neighborhood. I want people to know that people need help getting shelter and food. The Tiny House Village is one of those places to support homelessness.
Dave Loewenstein is a muralist, printmaker and community organizer based in Lawrence, Kansas. Examples of his community-based murals can be found across the United States, and in Northern Ireland, South Korea and Brazil. Loewenstein’s prints, which focus on social justice issues, are exhibited internationally and are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Yale University, and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. This “Stop Evictions” design was made in to support Sanctuary and in solidarity with folks facing detention and deportation here in Kansas and across the country. https://www.daveloewenstein.com/