Throughout history, artists have used their work to respond to the moment, challenge narratives, and create change—and today is no exception. In this time of social and political unrest, CCA’s creative community has turned to their practices to spread the word about timely issues and voting rights. This all comes together through the Creative Citizens in Action ([email protected]) Artwork Campaign, an initiative uniting CCA-affiliated visual creators around democratic engagement leading up to the 2020 presidential election and beyond. Comprising a call for art, gallery installation, and exhibition website, the Artwork Campaign is just one project envisioned by [email protected], which, since 2018, has explored intersections between civic values and creativity through programming and curriculum connections.
Online and on view
The [email protected] Artwork Campaign received over 90 artworks and designs by 66 students, faculty, staff, and alumni. From poster designs and illustrations to paintings and digital art, submissions explore themes such as racial justice, Black Lives Matter, feminism, immigration rights, voting access, COVID–19, climate justice, and the healing power of art.
Beyond your screen, the exhibition is on-site at CCA’s Hubbell Street Galleries from October 13 through December 1. Visit in person, and then install your own at home! Downloadable posters are available on the project website, where you can also explore work by all participating artists.
Make. Act. Vote.
Creative empowerment and democracy are at the heart of [email protected]’s Artwork Campaign—from the curatorial vision and original works, to the many hands that installed the window activation. We are all creative-citizens and, even during physical distancing, have the power to spread that message far and wide. The following original artworks and posters are a few selections from the open call and will be sure to inspire you to use your voice and, of course, get out and vote on November 3.
Selected artwork from the [email protected] Artwork Campaign
George Pfau (MFA Painting and Drawing 2010) and Hannah Ireland (MFA Media Arts 2010): “We made this as a T-shirt leading up to the 2018 midterm election to coincide with volunteer work we were doing for progressive candidates. We’ve been giving away the shirts for free to friends and family.” Download this artwork
Connie Jeung-Mills (Project Manager, Marketing + Communications): “The democracy of our country is at stake with this election. We’re voting not only for our own future but on behalf of everyone who comes after us. I don’t want to regret that I didn’t do more when I had the chance.” Download this artwork
Andrea Moed (Adjunct II Professor, Graduate Design): “2020’s been a full-on garbage fire, hasn’t it? No election can cure the pandemics of disease and racism, free those oppressed due to poverty or immigration status, or bring about the justice we need, but as a timely, collective action, voting is a good start.” Download this artwork
Sarah Dunham, Joseph Perez-Green, and Lizzie Wallack (MArch 2010): “The Time is Now! / El Tiempo es Ahora!” Download this Artwork
Aaron Gundy (BFA Individualized Studies 2016): “This is a linoleum block print advocating for the disarmament, defunding, and abolition of police and prisons. The re-ignition of the Black Lives Matter street movement in 2020 has brought into common imagination the idea of total abolition of police. Abolition may sound like a utopian pipe dream to many, but you don’t get to utopia without advocating for it full force. This image imagines the power of love beyond authority breaking through the violent tools of the state. I made this poster because I asked myself how I could apply my artistic skills to the movement for liberation.” Download this artwork
Ingrid V. Wells (Former Assistant Registrar, Student Records): “Loud and Clear (oil on panel) represents the loud and clear voice needed in this election year. This focused voice is one of action for equality and social justice. This activist oil painting is meant to inspire viewers to utilize their voices and address the needs of our nation in an immediate way. We need to say enough of the misogyny and racial injustice, enough of the children in cages, enough of the deaths to COVID–19 due to misinformation. This year has been devastating for many reasons including the loss of so many to coronavirus. Now is the time to use our voices and visual power as artists to communicate our ideas about how we want to shape our country for the future. Now is the time.” Download this artwork
Rachel Berger (Chair, Graphic Design): “This poster was commissioned by the AIGA, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, for the 2020 Get Out the Vote: Empowering the Women’s Vote poster campaign.
Oakland to Seneca Falls, via Reno, Redding, Crescent City, Riley, Eugene, Portland, Colville, Nez Perce Reservation, Wickahoney, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Jackson, Bozeman, Chinook, Minot, Miles City, Buffalo, Casper, Navajo Nation Off-Reservation Trust Land, Albuquerque, Odessa, Norman, Sioux Falls, Minot, Mobridge, Mitchell, Sioux Falls, Iron River, Iowa City, Naperville, Des Moines, Iowa City, Branson, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Knoxville, Johnson City, Huntington, Toledo, Battle Creek, Indianapolis, Birmingham, Tallahassee, Savannah, Richmond, Altoona, Lewisburg, Middletown, Providence, Boston, Springfield, Albany, Manchester, Concord, Portland, Rumford, and Burlington. 48 states, 16364 mi, 271 hr. VOTE.” Download this artwork
sherry xiang (BFA Community Arts 2022): “Green Vote is an environmental installation and social media project that aims to use sustainable materials, including leaves and cotton threads, to make a visible ‘VOTE’ sign on a burnt hill located by Highway 80 at Vacaville to encourage those who are conscious about the wildfires and natural environment to take the action and register to vote for the environment. The artist invited nine volunteers to collect leaves around the neighborhood and stitched them together into four letters.” Download this artwork
Amy Tavern (MFA Fine Arts 2017): “I started seeing masks on the side of the road back in April and began taking pictures of them. Then I started plotting them on a public Google Map. These ‘lost’ masks have become a symbol of what I see as American values, or lack of values. We are a culture that has the expectation that it can have anything it wants, whenever it wants, and that most everything is replaceable. We are constantly preoccupied with the next best thing and what’s best for us as individuals, instead of what’s best for the group. We are careless and thoughtless and lack basic compassion. Yes, I am discouraged, to say the very least. So let’s make something thoughtful together. American Values is a participatory project and I invite anyone and everyone to send me photos of lost masks he/she/they spots anywhere in the U.S. I will plot masks on the map indefinitely: https://tinyurl.com/y9l86578.” Download this artwork
Ashley Adams (MFA Design 2017): “Inspired by Frank Stella’s geometric abstracted paintings, this piece embodies all the voices and bodies behind the monumental movement. I not only envision this piece living in people’s homes, but also in public spaces. I hope it serves as a reminder to continue with the systemic changes and uncomfortable discussions, but more importantly the unity to fight for something that is beyond our present moment.”
Emily Van Engel (BFA Painting and Drawing 2012): “I painted a highway junction as seen from the CCA bus in Oakland in air pollution sediment. I wanted to capture this moment in air pollution to recognize how normal carbon-intensive travel has become, how it’s both ordinary and extraordinary, destructive... and perhaps fleeting. If we are able to transform our economy in a green or sustainable way, many things will change, including much of transit as we know it. The idea of losing the ability to travel to places quickly feels like a big loss of freedom, when you consider our interconnected highway system and the ease with which many can hop on a plane and travel around the world today. But I think there also would be a lot to gain in a de-globalized, re-localized post-carbon world. Our communities would only get more vibrant as we invest more time and resources locally. What if we spent less time in transit and more time outside, working and communing with friends, the natural world, and our creativity? What would it look like if we transitioned to becoming a human-powered society where we each truly had ownership of our own labor?”
Helena Parriott (BFA Individualized Studies 2010): “In this series I am stenciling with found waste. I am investigating through abstraction the found, flattened debris of industrialized products. Our relationship with what is produced and discarded is an underlying consideration in these works. The paintings are layered, sedimented passes of pneumatically sprayed paint on paper.” Download this artwork
Lampo Leong (MFA Painting 1988) and Chao Yang: “The mask is the most important icon of 2020, and it is loaded with tremendous symbolic meaning! At the time of the spread of COVID–19 around the world, China immediately recognized that wearing masks is an effective means of epidemic prevention. However, many countries argued about the usefulness of mask wearing and only announced its importance several months later; therefore, to a certain extent, they delayed a key method of epidemic prevention. With the magnetic movement of ink splashes, together with the yin and yang images of the masks and the medical symbol of the red cross, this set of posters highlights the positive role played by masks in epidemic prevention, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in order to fight off the corona virus internationally.”
Leslie Gutierrez Saiz (BFA Graphic Design 1997): “Created during the 2010 census, this image still speaks loud and clear. Hard working communities need equal access and cultural recognition. Native and immigrant voices need to be heard, seen, and counted.” Download this artwork
Nielsen Arenas (BFA Graphic Design 2022): “In the upcoming election, all we need to do to make a change is to vote for the people that will help create it. As a student and designer, change is a difficult task, but if we band together to fight for change, it will become reality.” Download this artwork
Nicola Hockley (BFA Graphic Design 1998): “Silence (hand-stitched hair and felt) is a response to the forgotten, erased, and rewritten voices of modernist women writers. Heroines by Kate Zambreno was the catalyst for its production.
This work is particularly meaningful to me in the current storm of COVID, climate change, social unrest, etc. We need to give representation to the overlooked and forgotten voices of the margins. As a female artist, with pro-feminist views, I feel the need to pay homage to the women in art and literature who have been silenced and deserve our attention. Now, more than ever, we need to bow down to their pioneering groundwork—they have laid the foundation for today and tomorrow.
I am drawn to textiles because I believe they have the capacity to invite a more intimate relationship with the viewer and encourage a sensory response. The work considers textiles as a salient/non-verbal mode of communication. Silence is a conceptual inquiry negotiated through materials. I use the intrinsic qualities of these materials and processes to evoke associations, emotions, convey meaning, and to align myself within a history of women’s labor.”
Niv Rajendra (MFA 2022): “Land is a consciousness to collaborate with. A teacher if we listen closely. We are in a constant dialogue with rocks, leaves, tide patterns, traditional wisdom, and more—yet we seem to be entirely disconnected. This disconnect can be seen in the violent crumblings of our current systems. Land is our spiritual home and deep listening is a political act. Let us listen to land and lead our everyday from a place of care, resilience, joyfulness, and generosity.” Download this artwork
Lauren Szabo (BFA Illustration 2010): “Prophecy (Wish You Were Here) (oil on canvas) is a meditation on what is to come and was created during quarantine in the studio. How do you see the future and, more importantly, what would you like to see?” Download this artwork
Dive deeper into [email protected]
The [email protected] Artwork Campaign features work by Aaron Gundy, Aashi Jhaveri, Adrian Harper, Amy Tavern, Andrea Pescosolido, Andrea Moed, Andrew Roque, Ashley Adams, Cary Loving, Cendrine Colin, Chinasa Porter, Clark Gussin, Connie Jeung-Mills, Damaris Huaker, David Maes Gallegos, Devone King, Emily Van Engel, Garth Fry, George Pfau, Hannah Ireland, Haonan Jin, Helena Parriott, Howsem Huang, Ingrid V. Wells, Jackie Mantey, Je Kramm, Jenna Rosenthal, Joseph Perez-Green, Julia LaChica, Junyang Shen, Katayoun Bahrami, Kim Curtis, Laila Espinoza, Lampo Leong, Lauren Szabo, Leslie Gutierrez Saiz, Lizzie Wallack, Lola Fraknoi, Maia Kobabe, Marsha Shaw, Michael Wertz, Mitchell Kim, Nicola Hockley, Nielsen Arenas, Niv Rajendra, Rachel Berger, Rameses Sorrell, Reddy Lieb, rick gutierrez, Robin Dintiman, Robyn Waxman, Roy Cannon-Berg, Sarah Dunham, Scott Underwood, Siana Smith, sherry xiang, Sophie Smith, TT Takemoto, Vrinda Gangwal, Yuanlin Xue, Zoe Holtzman, and Ziyao Wang.
October 15, 2020