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Art: collage, illustrations, paintings, sculpture, Etchings, Lithographs, Photography, Posters

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American Civics Cesar Chavez American Civics Cesar Chavez
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Shepard Fairey Limited Print

 
American Civics Gun Culture American Civics Gun Culture
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"Gun Culture"

Jim Marshall captured what at first glance is regarded as an innocent child playing with a toy gun in Greenwich Village, New York, in 1963.

In many ways, I see this image as predicting the increase in gun violence that has taken place in the ensuing years in New York City as well as the rest of the country. Thirty-three thousand people per year lose their lives from guns, and I attribute this to an American gun culture that glorifies gun ownership and puts gun rights ahead of safety. Jim Marshall's image was ominous to begin with, but it was important to me that I use the American flag and gun violence articles in the art, to make the connection between an ingrained gun culture as part of the fabric of America and the resulting devastatingly high statistics of gun violence.

 
American Civics Two Americas American Civics Two Americas
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"Two Americas"

Jim Marshall's photograph of a coal mining family in Hazard, Kentucky, taken while he lived with them, says a lot with what it shows, which is a mother and two children huddled together in support of each other, but it says just as much with what it lacks. There is a conspicuous absence of material necessities and a father. I don't know whether the father was working in a coal mine when the photograph was taken or had potentially died young because of the health risks of working under dangerous conditions, but it is clear that the family is struggling and lacking.

In my illustration, I brought the figures of the family closer together to emphasize that love and support are essential to surviving hardship. My inclusion of news clippings about the perils and low wages of the coal mining industry are meant to illustrate the concept of 'Two Americas.' The America many of us like to believe in holds industrial power in high regard, but the less-talked-about America suffers from the low wages and health risks of that same industry.

 
American Civics Johnny Cash American Civics Johnny Cash
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Johnny Cash is one of my favorite musicians and also one of my favorite storytellers and social commentators. Cash felt compassion for the less fortunate, and I think his religious beliefs shaped his view that no human being is beyond redemption. He played live shows at San Quentin Prison and at Folsom Prison (where Jim Marshall shot the photograph that inspired my art piece) to do something kind for the inmates but also to draw attention to mass incarceration.

In this image, I wanted to capture Cash's iconic nature as well as the harsh exterior of Folsom Prison; Cash was fortunate enough to be standing outside rather than inside of this prison wall.  Prisoners and prison rights are often looked over, and I felt it was important to incorporate news clippings and graphics relating to their difficulties and raise awareness. The United States has the highest incarceration rate on the planet, with almost 25 percent of the world's total prison population.

 
American Civics Voting Rights American Civics Voting Rights
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Shepard Fairey Limited Print