The art director of the Bureau of Editorial Content from our very own US Government contacted me. The email was listed as ‘Unclassified’.
I was asked to create a poster for World Press Freedom Day which was May 3rd and this poster would be sent to and used by various U.S. Embassies around the world. There is quite a bit of irony that this poster is meant to promote press freedom around the world when our President is suggesting that our own press be shut down.
“I just wanted to let you know that we are all normal here.” The art director said over the phone.
As we have seen for the last year directly on TV, we can imagine working in any government agency has grown to be quite toxic. Between Trump firing this Bureau’s head and his distain for the Press who doesn’t agree with his worldview, we had to be careful how we discussed doing something so simple as a poster advocating the concept of a Free Press.
Knowing my work, the art director seemed like she wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to create a harsh commentary about Press Freedom, which I understood. This sort of thing isn’t that platform. We discussed ideas about how to present the poster. There were other parts of the conversation which were a little deeper and inflammatory but I will leave them out of this post. I feel bad for everything she's dealing with over there. It truly sucks apparently.
To protect myself, I needed to do some research on the art director and how this was going to be used because it’s quite obvious the Republicans, Trump and his Administration are the worst humans of our society. I hoped I could put a little piece of light out there through our own government and the fascism of Trump and his supporters.
I had a wonderful time doing the job. The art director was aces and surprisingly hands-off when we started going through my sketches. “Which one do you want to do?” and that was it.
The art director loved the piece and decided that it won’t be printed with a year associated with it as it has been previously so the poster can be used indefinitely around the world. As an artist, that may be an honor. As a citizen and a cynic, doing that makes me wonder if this will be the last Press Freedom Poster our government creates.
It truly was an honor to work with this art director for a project I find profound.