Graphic design isn’t usually my focus, but when you’re interested in design and are living amidst the deluge of an impending Olympics in your hometown, the tide of graphics is impossible to ignore. Here’s a small sample of political cartoons and posters that incorporate the various Olympic logos – the standard logo with the five rings, as well as the Vancouver 2010 “Inukshuk” logo. (For controversy about the Inukshuk logo see here.) Above is Corey Rollins’ poster about Vancouver’s famous drug and prostitution problem (at left), which is based on the official Vancouver 2010 logo (at right). Rollins also did the healthcare poster below, and the taser shirt too, I think, but I’m having trouble verifying that. I’ll add more graphics to this post as I collect them, just in order to keep them all in once place, so check back if you’re interested. The issues being addressed in these graphics, as you can see, are homelessness and eviction, Vancouver’s infamous drug problem (which is sort of headquartered a few blocks from the stadiums and Olympic village, not to mention my studio), appropriation of First Nations’ imagery and land, environmental destruction, corporate/real estate development, debt, police action, suppression of free speech (Google “Free Speech Zones”), corporate perq’s and all of the other problems that generally accompany an Olympic Games. Being saddled with an Olympics during an economic downturn is no doubt increasing Vancouver’s level of unrest even further. Before you imagine that these are all overreactions, consider this: there is BC legislation waiting to be passed that could mean a 10,000 fine and/or jail time for anyone putting up an anti-Olympics sign in the window of his/her own house, under which law police will have the right to enter your home and remove it. I’ve even had elderly women tell me they’re so incensed that they’re planning to put a sign up too. In a surprising and much-appreciated move, though, the Vancouver police (who are really in need of good PR) held a press conference two days ago announcing that they will not enter any house to remove a sign nor will they lay charges. This will win them a lot of fans. Almost all of these graphics were found here. For a post on the official 2010 graphics on this blog, see here. NOTE: I’m not sure why people conclude that political cartoons equal violent protest. They don’t, and it seems to go without saying that trying to repress them stands a much better chance of causing violence than allowing them.
The flag above was produced by artist Kathryn Walter back when Toronto was bidding (unsuccessfully) for a summer Olympics. The artist recently donated the flag to one of the non-profit art centres in Vancouver that has had its funding abruptly cut by the provincial government, just prior to the Olympics. The government has claimed that the Olympic debt has nothing to do with the recent radical cuts to cultural funding in BC but there are doubts. Projected economic benefits of the Games have this year been downgraded from approx 10 billion to just under 4 billion [update – 1 billion], while the cost of the Olympics leapt from 3 or 4 billion to 7 or more billion. For a small province of only 4 million people, that’s a big debt to be carrying, especially on top of the recession-related deficit of billions we were already burdened with.
Above are the 3 Olympic mascots: Sumi, Quaatchi and Miga. Below is a graphic from the Poverty Olympics, “Give 2010 the finger.”
The four political cartoons immdiately below are from the No2010 site – not sure who the artist is. The 5 interconnected handcuffs motif has actually appeared at prior Olympics as well, including Torino and the Chicago bid.
Above, image by Gord Hill, Kwakwaka’wakw & Riel Manywounds, TsuuT’ina/Nak’azdli, June 2007. Below, Wolves by Ange Sterrit, Gitxsan.
To see official Olympics graphics and design done badly, see the Vancouver 2010 effort.