Charging the Future

4 05 2011

Bethany Reith, Arts in Transformation Concentration, Eastern University M.A, in Urban Studies

Changing the Future

Medium:  Linoleum Block Print

Charging the Future is a social commentary on the cuts that Governor Corbett has proposed for this year’s Pennsylvania budget.  In the piece you see a line of school age children waiting to make payments on the debt of PA.  There is also a pa education credit card that encourages us to charge the future.  To me the drastic budget cuts on education that Governor Corbett is proposing is essentially like using credit to pay for our debt.  However, this is an unusual type of credit because it is a loan on our future.  As education spending is cut the learning of our children, who will make up the future of our state, will inevitably be affected.  Furthermore, those schools in low income neighborhoods that are already struggling will likely be the most affected by the lack of funding, making the budget also a matter of injustice.

I decided to use the linocut medium because of the history of prints.  Historically before the printing press was widely used and long before photo copying, printmaking was used to protest and make statements about social issues because of its ability to make multiple copies.  I also like the clean, simple, black and white lines that are implemented in linocut prints.  The stark contrast powerfully emphasizes the message.

The intended audience of this piece is the citizens of Pennsylvania.  Since relief printing is fine art it could be shown in a gallery, while the black and white simple image would also make this image fit for being printed in a newspaper.

My biggest challenge was the positive/negative space reversal that relief printing requires.  Though I have some experience with relief prints, I do not consider myself an expert printer.  I studied the work of Elizabeth Catlett and Käthe Kollwitz, both famous, master printmakers, for inspiration.  Their worked gave me a visual example of how to make the positive/negative space reversal work.  I also struggled to know how to summarize my social statement about the PA budget cuts in one cohesive image.  Though I think my message is communicated, I possibly could have added something about the budget to make it clearer and stronger.

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