Tag Archives: art

We Will Not Be Silent: Activists and Creatives Will Carry Over One Hundred Messages to New York’s Financial District

We Will Not Be Silent: Activists and Creatives Will Carry Over One Hundred Messages to New York’s Financial District

[NEW YORK, NY]  For three days this December (12/19, 12/23, 12/31), creative and concerned people in New York City will carry over one hundred unique messages on large, hand-held black and white placards to Wall Street. The activists, members of the arts and activism collective We Will Not Be Silent, will create a visual arresting presence from 9am to 5pm each day, organizing a People’s Picket at significant locations and handing out to the public a series of 20 different postcards containing facts, statements and poetry to provoke thought and conversation about the socio-economic impacts of Wall Street.

Thursday, December 19th »
8:45am:  gather at 60 Wall Street
9:00am-5:00pm: New York Stock Exchange and vicinity.
RSVP via Facebook

Monday, December 23rd »
8:45am:  gather at 60 Wall Street
9:00am-5:00pm: New York Stock Exchange and vicinity.
(Broad Street between Exchange Place & Wall Street)
3:00pm-5:00pm: Federal Reserve. Date marks 100th Anniversary of the Federal Reserve.
RSVP via Facebook

Tuesday, December 31st »
9:00am-5:00pm: New York Stock Exchange and vicinity.
(Broad Street between Exchange Place & Wall Street)
RSVP via Facebook

From 3-5pm on December 31st the group will dedicate their action in solidarity with recently freed Russian political prisoners, Pussy Riot.   Each sharing art & language as core tenants in their direct actions the tribute is a natural fit for the activists who have continued their vigils on Wall Street.  Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova echoes these sentiments, “I believe that in the end the word will break cement. Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Thus, the word is more essential than cement. Thus, the word is not a small nothing. In this manner, noble people begin to grow, and their word will break cement.”

We Will Not Be Silent is an artist and activist collective that has been in existence since 2006. Through the creative use of language embodied on shirts and on signs held up in public spaces.   We Will Not Be Silent  responds to current social justice issues, encouraging creative, public direct actions where many people can participate.

For more information on these events please contact Laurie Arbeiter at (917)915.6115, Sarah Wellington (201)446.2984 or email info@wewillnotbesilent.net For more information about We Will Not Be Silent you can visit their website HERE


Projection Artists Light up Walls of Brooklyn Detention Center with Visually Arresting Messages of Solidarity for Imprisoned Activist, Jeremy Hammond

[NEW YORK, NY]  A collective of projection artists and activists lit up the bleak walls of The Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC Brooklyn) last night with visually arresting images and messages proclaiming solidarity with jailed political activist Jeremy Hammond. The artists’ stunning action, which captured the attention of prisoners and administrators alike, comes two weeks after the 28 year old activist was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) of 1984.  Hammond’s sentence, handed down on November 15th, follows his May 28, 2013 plea of guilty to participating in the Anonymous hack into the computers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor).  The hack and the subsequent publishing of millions of exfiltrated Stratfor emails has sparked a global conversation into the unregulated operations of private intelligence firms and their frequent extralegal activities.

» Demonstrators from the In our Hearts Collective brought instruments, pots and pans, and their voices to make noise loud enough to be heard within the walls of the detention center. The Illuminator projected messages of solidarity on the bleak walls of the prison. “Free Jeremy Hammond!”, “Solidarity with all Hacktivists!” and images of the infamous Anonymous Guy Fawkes mask lit up the night.  Additional images are posted below.

Shortly after his sentencing at the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York, Jeremy Hammond was transferred from the Metropolitan Corrections Center (MCC) on Park Row in Manhattan to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn where he awaits designation by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to an institution where he will serve the majority of his sentence.

Hammond’s actions, while maligned by the Department of Justice as criminal in nature, have been celebrated by activists and journalists alike as a contemporary form of civil disobedience, motivated by a desire to protest and expose the secret activities of private intelligence corporations.

In the lead up to sentencing Hammond’s attorneys submitted a memorandum asking for a sentence of time served, supported by 5,000 people in petitions hosted by Change.org and Demand Progress. Additionally, over 250 letters addressed to the Judge from friends, family, journalists, academics, the tech community, and prominent whistleblowers were included with the memorandum. Among them was a letter cosigned by 17 editors and journalists representing international media outlets in fifteen countries with a combined audience of 500 million people.


“There are many – like our adversaries in the United States Attorney’s office – who do not accept Jeremy Hammond’s actions as acts of civil disobedience; many who see what he did as one dimensional, criminal and malicious,” said Jeremy Hammond’s counsel, Sarah Kunstler, in her sentencing argument on November 15th. “In its sentencing submission, the government argues that Jeremy Hammond ‘was motivated by a malicious and callous contempt for those with whom he disagreed,’ and that his goal, demonstrated by statements that he made in chat rooms, ‘was to cause ‘mass mayhem’ by destroying the websites of entities he disliked.’ Contrary to the government’s representations, this wasn’t a malicious and unfocused act against an entity with whom Jeremy had a disagreement – it was an act of protest against the private intelligence industry and its ability to do what the United States, in theory, is prohibited from doing – targeting American citizens and other populations worldwide.”

Print quality images of last nights action are available for download HERE. To schedule interviews with Jeremy Hammond’s attorneys and supporters please contact Andy Stepanian, 631.291.3010, andy@sparrowmedia.net.

» Print quality versions of these images are available for download HERE.

The Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee is a coalition of family members, activists, lawyers, and other supporters who are working together to protect free speech and to support Jeremy http://freejeremy.net

Wondering Around Wandering Pop-Up Community Art Space Hopes to Revitalize & Celebrate Crown Heights

Wondering Around Wandering Pop-Up Community Art Space Hopes to Revitalize & Celebrate Crown Heights

[CROWN HEIGHTS, NY] Brooklyn artist Mike Perry’s recent endeavor, Wondering Around Wandering (WAW) is a 7,000 sq-ft creative wonderland nestled away amidst rows of former industrial spaces lining Dean St. in Crown Heights [938 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11238].

Conceived and Designed by Perry, WAW doubles as both a free exhibition space and community free space for life-long art making.  WAW is a revolutionary new concept in the way an art space interacts with the community.  Eschewing a typical NYC gallery opening process Perry began with a concept that everything had to be community-oriented and free …free entry, free refreshments, free classes, free workshops, free concerts, and all of it had to be available to people of all ages and abilities.  After several months of preparation WAW opened on September 15th with over 500 people in attendance.  Several successful community workshops followed the opening of the space and their second full exhibit titled Happy Accidents will be opening this Saturday, October 6th at 6pm.   A full list of WAW events is attached below* For a folder of print-quality images from wondering around wandering click HERE*

A celebrated graphic artist, illustrator and maker, Mike Perry is known for his big ideas.   With his finger on the pulse of the design world and a keen sense of Brooklyn’s ever-changing socio-economic geography, Perry quickly recognized that if a space like WAW were to succeed in Crown Heights then the Crown Heights community had to be part of the process.  Perry began his process by bringing his ideas to the local community board, and inviting them to become part of the journey.  Using the popular crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, Perry raised the start-up capital he needed to procure a discarded industrial building and with the help of local labor transformed it into a sprawling, brightly lit creative space.  Perry built bridges with local shops and artisans in the community and worked with them to create a “Handy Neighborhood Guide” that would be published along side event promotions as a way to encourage WAW visitors to patronize local businesses.

When Mike Perry moved his studio to Crown Heights 7 years ago he immediately fell in love with the community.  Wondering Around Wandering is a thank-you letter to the Crown Heights community that Mike adores and the start of a dialogue regarding art’s role in helping to transform Brooklyn’s abandoned industrial spaces.

for a photostream documenting WAW workshops & salons click HERE

About Mike Perry
Mike Perry (www.mikeperrystudio.com) is a designer and interdisciplinary artist. He draws, paints, illustrates, and animates. He creates sculpture projects and limited-edition silkscreen posters. He curates books and paints portraits. He writes children’s books and contributes to literary magazines. He teaches. His appetite for collaboration and creation is insatiable; the possibilities are endless. He works regularly for a number of editorial and commercial clients including Apple, The New York TimesDwell, Target, Urban Outfitters, Aldo, and Nike. In addition to his commercial, nonprofit, and personal artwork, he has also published extensively. His work has been exhibited around the world, including at two solo shows in Tokyo: We Are the Infinity of Each Other at B Gallery and Color, Shapes and Infinity at Public Image 3D Gallery. His 2012 monograph published by Rizzoli, Wondering Around Wandering, is an anthology that is at turns humorous, mystical, poetic, warm, sexy, and charming.  Mike Perry is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, and attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Now 31, he is seduced by a contemporary visual culture and the experience of life itself. His art forms and installations can be meditative and/or hyperactively sublime.

All events are free and open to the public, but space is limited, so your RSVP is required. RSVP links and more events will be added to the calendar soon. Check back often! Or joing the mailing list.

Thursday, October, 4
Open Drawing Night
(Sponsored by Duvel)
Must be 21+ to participate.
Thursday, October 4, 8:00–10:00pm
Limited to 30 people – RSVP HERE!
We opened up a few more slots!

Saturday, October 6
Happy Accidents Zine Workshop
(Hosted by Dr.Me)

Saturday, October 6, 10:00am–12:00pm
Limited to 30 people – RSVP HERE!
Scroll down to register for a future workshop.This workshop marks the opening day of Happy Accidents, WAW’s second group show. Led by the Manchester-based duo DR.ME — Ryan Doyle (DR) and Mark Edwards (ME) — this workshop celebrates the collision of the unexpected. Mix cut-outs, collage and hand drawing to create strange and amazing mini art-zines. We’ll have supplies on hand, but feel free to bring any old books or magazines you want to tear up and transform.

Happy Accidents — Opening Reception
(Curated by DR.ME)

Saturday, October 6, 6:00–11:00pm – RSVP HERE!
Essentially silliness crossed with the unexpected, this group show curated by DR.ME features a nonaccidental international group of multidisciplinary artists: Linus Bill, Rhys Coren, Ryan Doyle, Daniel Eatock, Mark Edwards, Jonathan Flanders, Sebastian Haslauer, Steve Hockett, Hannan Jones, and John P. Come to the opening party or see it anytime at WAW from Oct. 7 through Oct. 31.

Thursday, October 11
Goodbye Brooklyn: A one night performance byAndy Byers
Must be 21+ to participate.
Thursday, October 11, 8:00–10:00pm
Limited to 100 people – RSVP HERE!
Goodbye Brooklyn is a film-based performance that explores the greatest influences and tragedies the artist has faced during his 7 year stay in New York City. The performance will include three dances choreographed by Jennifer Mellor, musical performances by the artist as well as special guests Hospital Ships and sets designed with the spirit of what Wandering Around Wondering is trying to achieve in its vision to make art happen.
“I moved here to fall in love with the movies. And that’s exactly what happened. Now I’m leaving to make them.” – Andy Byers

Saturday, October 13
Ghost Notes: Understanding the Elements of Popular Drum Beats
(Hosted by Homer Steinweiss)

Saturday, October 13, 10:00am–12:00pm
Limited to 15 people – RSVP HERE!
Brooklyn-based drummer and songwriter Homer Steinweiss talks about the various elements that go into playing and creating rhythms for the drumset, and will attempt to perform a song with the help of the audience and special guests.

Greetings from Brooklyn
(Hosted by Santtu Mustonen)

Saturday, October 13, 1:00 – 3:00pm
Limited to 24 people – RSVP HERE!
Explore the impact of writing and drawing at breakneck speed. With pencil, ink, and paint we’ll craft spontaneous messages onto postcards, spending 1-2 minutes on each piece. In the end, we’ll pin the postcards to a wall and discuss the meaning of both their individual and communal presence. Each postcard will be mailed to a random address with recipients encouraged to send in pictures of their unexpected gift to be cataloged online for ongoing dialogue and sharing.

Thursday, October 18
Open Drawing Night
Must be 21+ to participate.
Thursday, October 18, 8:00–10:00pm
Limited to 30 people – RSVP HERE!
We opened up a few more slots!

Saturday, October 20
(Hosted by Jim Datz)
Saturday, October 20, 10:00am–12:00pm
Limited to 30 people – RSVP HERE!
Scroll down to register for a future workshop.
Let’s create a large-scale modular drawing of an imaginary city! Participants will be provided with all materials needed for this active drawing session, during which everyone will draw individual pieces of urban space: a house, a park, a subway station, a bodega, a high-rise, a library, a farmer’s market…or anything else that comes to mind (a dirigible launch pad, a hot dog factory?). The size and complexity are limited only by our imaginations. At the end of the session, we’ll “build” the city on the wall of the gallery.

Thursday, October 25
Vehicle – a Dance Performance
horeographed by Lindy Schmedt & GREYZONE)
Thursday, October 25, 8:00–10:00pm
Limited to 100 people – RSVP HERE!
Vehicle is a dance created by choreographer Lindy Schmedt with her company GREYZONE. Inspired by the WAW space, the project involves five dancers as they create a dynamic landscape executing architectural forms. The work will be a special visual collaboration between GREYZONE and Mike Perry.

Saturday, October 27
Never Nude!
(Hosted by Josh Cochran)

Saturday, October 27, 10:00am–12:00pm
Limited to 30 people – WORKSHOP CLOSED.
Scroll down to register for a future workshop.
For this workshop we will draw from a costumed model in a unique and amazing setting! Music and stories will be played to enhance the mood while we draw. Please bring your own drawing materials. All ages are welcome.

Saturday, November 3
Still Life
(Hosted by Playlab Inc.)

Saturday, November 3, 10:00am–12:00pm
Limited to 30 people – RSVP HERE!
This workshop will mark the opening day of Artypes’ Salon No. 4, called ‘Still Life.’ You will be given a tote bag full of materials, and prompted to make a collaged Still Life from those materials. You will have the entire premises of “Wondering Around Wandering” to use as subject for your piece. Your piece will be framed, and hung on the wall for the duration of the ‘Still Life’ Salon. Artists will be present to provide critiques and encouragement.

Artypes: Salon No. 4 “Still Lifes”
Opening Reception
(Curated by Playlab Inc.)

Saturday, November 3, 6:00–11:00pm
RSVPs open on 10/8

Saturday, November 10
Create Repeating Patterns
(Hosted by Dan Funderburgh)

Saturday, November 10, 10:00am–12:00pm
Limited to 30 people – RSVPs open on 10/8
Make your art follow itself into infinity. Imagine your tiny drawing multiplying seamlessly across all surfaces out into space. Create patterns for wallpaper! Textiles! Camouflage! Curtains! Wrapping paper! Dan Funderburgh will show you how.

Saturday, November 17
Mega Zine
(Hosted by Joel Speasmaker and Mike Perry)

Saturday, November 17, 10:00am–12:00pm
Limited to 30 people – RSVPs open on 10/8
Joel and Mike share their favorites from their respective zine collections, explaining why they are so passionate about both the collection and creation of them, as well as walking through their personal working process. A collaborative zine will certainly be made!

Tuesday, November 20
Closing Party
Tuesday, November 20, 6:00–11:00pm
RSVPs open on 11/5


Occuprint & OWS: Notes on Art as a Weapon for Non-Violent Insurrection

Occuprint & OWS: Notes on Art as a Weapon for Non-Violent Insurrection

On the evening of February 16, a group of about 20 artists, designers, muralists, art historians and activists gathered at Interference Archive in Gowanus, Brooklyn, to discuss a selection of posters that have emerged out of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The event was organized by Occuprint—a collaborative project that curates, collects, prints and distributes various posters and graphics by and for the global Occupy movement. The Archive grew out the personal collection of its co-founder, artist Josh MacPhee. This unique space houses an impressive volume of print objects created as part of various social justice movements. One of its goals is to allow this kind of art to exist outside of dominant institutions (that may not be sympathetic to OWS) and instead take it into “the commons”— making it thereby more accessible to a greater range of artists and activists.

occuprint crit session

The Occuprint event was an energizing experience. The posters hanging on the walls represented a wide range of ideas, slogans and executions. It was exciting and affecting to see just how many artists and designers had been impacted by the Occupy movement. The passion in their work was evident. During the discussion, the politics and implications of the images in the posters were hashed out and debated; opinions were exchanged on the importance and problems of text, slogans and general aesthetics. Ultimately, the discussion transcended its original original aim of reviewing the posters, and progressed into a wonderfully inspiring brainstorm on how Occupy art could become as impactful and unforgettable as possible.


The posters reviewed during the Occuprint event elicited a variety of reactions and contrasting opinions, which made for a dynamic discussion. One example of this was the “Occupy Everything” poster.  Some saw tremendous power in its blankness and argued that the message of the movement was effectively crystalized in the simple graphic. Others noted that the poster’s starkness made it lack emotional resonance, and that it was unclear who the protagonist was.

A poster with the slogan “You Are On Our Watch” hit a nerve. Unwarranted police brutality and attacks on peaceful OWS protesters during the past 6 months have uncovered the ugly reality of a police state. The shout “The whole world is watching!” had become a ubiquitous presence on videos of police assaulting innocent people. The poster reminded protestors of the power of their recording devices. While everyone agreed that the message was essential, some disliked the cubist style of the poster and wondered why the images of riot police were not made more realistic. Others were unclear about the ultimate destination of the poster and where it would be most effective: amongst protestors, or on the wall of a police precinct.

The poster for Occupy Oakland has in many ways become synonymous with the Occupy movement. The image of the protestor waving an Occupy flag, while facing down a riot gear army, evoked feelings of courage and triumph. However, some at the event disliked that protestors were (inaccurately) represented by a single figure; and that the enemy was defined solely by police, boiling the movement down to an “Us against Them” sentiment.


The Monopoly Tower poster was singled out for its creative execution. The object of the beloved board game (also a popular event at McDonalds—a massive & corrupt corporation) is to accumulate the most money; inarguably, the game taught children the concept of wealth and big business. With this in mind, the Monopoly Man becomes a potent symbol of universal greed, as effectively shown on the poster.  To view the entire collection of over 250 posters, please visit http://occuprint.org/Posters

Being originally from Russia, I see parallels between the Occupy Wall Street movement and Perestroika—a period of reform in the former Soviet Union in the mid to late 80’s, initiated by then-head-of-state Mikhail Gorbachev. One of the movement’s main policies—Glasnost— was designed to usher in a new era of greater freedom of information and governmental transparency. These government-intiated policies (imagine if OWS was an initiative of the US government…) ultimately took on a life of their own, leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union and an end to the Cold War. In reflecting on all that movement accomplished, it is impossible to ignore the artwork that emerged during that time. In hindsight, it is clear that it had a huge impact on the mind set of the population. “Artists had rediscovered the power of their weapon, and crowds of people would gather in front of their works.” (from “The Russian Poster”, published by the Russian State Library) What also made the political art of that era particularly interesting was that, contrary to prior Russian art like Constructivism and Socialist Realism, it was beautifully non-conformist and free from the constraints of one unifying aesthetic. Here are a few unique examples:

The writing on the plate reads, “The one who doesn’t work, doesn’t eat”– a popular Communist slogan. The shattered plate, its fractures are the hammer and sickle symbol, is a powerful metaphor for the crumbling Soviet regime.

your fate

The movement reinergized the consciousness of the country in many ways, including bringing about a new environmental awareness. “The fate of the planet—is your fate.”

“Don’t wait for orders!” implores this poster, intended to encourage autonomy and initiative amongst the people.


The artist humorously yet poignantly depicted the great men of Communist ideology-Marx, Engels and Lenin as inflated with ideals of little practical value. The words “The great are only great because we are on our knees. Let us rise!” surround the image— the motto of the newspaper “Les Révolutions de Paris,” a paper which appeared from July 12, 1789 to February 28, 1794.

The radical changes born out of Perestroika once seemed unfathomable, almost fantastical. And yet they occurred, largely thanks to the persistent, unified action of the people. So what kind of changes and improvements in the United States right now seem so radical as to feel impossible?.. The dismantling of the military-industrial complex?.. And end to factory farming?.. Quality education and healthcare made accessible to every child?.. If they feel impossible, then they are worth striving for.

Towards the end of the Occuprint discussion, Rodrigo Dorfman—a Chilean filmmaker who was in attendance— shared a few stories from his youth. He described how in the mid-80’s, young activists would defy the nightly curfew imposed by the Chilean dictatorship, and put up giant posters under the cover of darkness. “WE ARE NOT AFRAID” and “JUSTICE FOR THE DISAPPEARED” were some of the slogans on the posters, painted in huge block letters. Rodrigo recalled how he went out to film one of these actions with the full knowledge that he could get shot on the spot. This was the kind of risk activists faced in order to bring these posters to the public, to inspire and motivate people, to give them hope; and to stand up to the tyranny of the authorities.

And this was the question we were left with: What kind of poster is worth getting arrested for?.. or even worth getting shot at for? This poster must be of tremendous urgency and relevance; it must agitate and disturb; it must stop you dead in your tracks; it must enlighten and inspire you to act. This poster must be so compelling that distributing it becomes essential. This poster requires courage.

Art is indeed a weapon, and an especially powerful one in the midst of a peaceful movement.

In 2012 Occuprint will be producing thousands of posters and printed materials for Occupations around the country.  If you would like to support Occuprint’s efforts you can contribute to their Kickstarter fundraising campaign → HERE




The Art of Insurrection: An #OWS Creative Roundup

At the heart of insurrection, beneath both good and ugly, is something eerily beautiful.  This beauty sits with the unbridled passion of the insurrectionaries.  With such passion creativity explodes …on canvasses, in printed materials, on film, scrawled on the walls of public places, etched across ad-spaces, or braided into songs.  The exponential growth of the Occupy movement cannot be compared to any other movement in recent history.  Out of what seems like a bottomless well of inspiration and creativity has come remarkable creations in the name of Occupation.  Sparrow has been involved with the Occupy movement since it’s inception and some creative projects, artists, and makers have besieged our hearts, below is a small roundup of our favorites.

From our friends At The Hop Productions comes “That Which We Occupy” (above) a stunning short with an eerie echo of the spirit of OWS.

“This is for you who have stood up. This is to acknowledge your cause.  We are trying to awaken a world that has sunken into a swamp of lies.  Occupy, protest & demand that there be real change.  There are no holds barred on freedom.  Let’s continue.”

»”Lunch at Zuccotti”  From his unwavering support of Project Palestine, to his work with The Harold Hunter Foundation, to documenting urban farming movements around the world, Paul Park’s boundless talent for making films has helped to beautifully document other creative projects in and around Occupy Wall Street.

»”Guerrilla Gardening at OWS”  Students from Sterling College in Vermont came down to Occupy Wall Street and showed us how to plant and sow seeds anywhere where there is soil. In this short film, they demonstrate how easy it is to grow winter greens and beets right in the parks flower beds, and then speak earnestly and passionately about the importance of farming, and understanding where our food comes from.

»”Permaculture at Zuccotti Park” Paul Park documents the mobile design lab at Zuccotti Park that would process the grey water from the OWS kitchen.

»Josh MacPhee’s artwork has become a cornerstone of Occupy’s graphic identity.  From his work with Just Seeds Collective on the Peoples History poster series to countless illustrations in contemporary revolutionary texts, Josh’s work continues to inspire and give vibrance to today’s social struggles.

»Rachel Schragis illustrated The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City as this gorgeous typographic flow chart. This image was generated by a crowd-editing process in Zuccotti Park facilitated by Rachel Schragis.  It is endorsed by the Occupy Wall Street Arts and Culture working group, and is based on The Declaration of the Occupation of NYC,  as written by the Call to Action Working Group and adopted via concensus by the NYC General Assembly.

»Occuprint is an online depository of the creative poster art that has come to define Occupations everywhere.  The Occuprint Lab emerged out of a collaborative poster project with The Occupied Wall Street Journal, Sparrow is honored to help assist Occuprint with production of large print runs of their posters.

Do you know of a great project that should be highlighted in our OWS creative roundup?  Email us with details info@sparrowmedia.net