Friday, 2 November 2012

Celebrate People's History posters

Although I made them years ago, I have never posted about the two designs I did for the wonderful Celebrate People's History poster series.

The most recent poster is about the Disney Animators' Strike of 1941. This strike took place after the massive success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. This poster is still waiting to be printed but is available in Celebrate People's History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution. While I'm interested in any successful challenge of workers against the bosses, what really excited me about this was what came after this strike. 

Many of the artists left Disney, disappointed with the antagonistic attitude they faced after unionization but also because they felt stifled by the old-fashioned style they were forced to replicate. They set up United Productions of America, (a name that evoked their successful union struggle) where the animation was far more experimental and reflected mid-century modernist style with clean lines and flat imagery.

One of my favorite animations made by UPA is Moonbird, which won the Academy Award in 1959. John and Faith Hubley secretly recorded their two sons having a totally unscripted imaginary adventure and then animated it. It's about a million times more adorable and interesting than anything Disney has ever done.

The first poster was made way back in 2005 about Highlander Folk School. Highlander was an adult education center modeled on Danish FolkehĂžjskole. Folk schools are based on the concepts of popular education, life long learning and teaching people to become active members of society.

This model was transplanted to the segregated South by Myles Horton and it became a hotbed of radical organizing for both the labor and civil rights movements. It was one of the only integrated educational spaces in the South in the 1930s, long before the Civil Rights Act in 1963 and the forced desegregation that came even later. This design is available through Justseeds as a poster, postcard and as part of the People's Movements in the US and Black Liberation poster packs.

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