2010 Olympics anti-graphics

Corey Rollins 2010+Drugs Olympic poster

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.

Riff on 2010 logo, with reference to police killing of innocent Polish tourist with taser at Vancouver airport

No Olympics flag by artist Kathryn Walter

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.

Corey Rollins Olympic mascots - Healthcare before Olympics

Above are the 3 Olympic mascots: Sumi, Quaatchi and Miga. Below is a graphic from the Poverty Olympics, “Give 2010 the finger.”

Olympic logo - Give 2010 the finger - Poverty Olympics

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.

olympic rings handcuffs

2010 Police State tank

olympic bulldoze

2010 Police State riot cop

Resist 2010 poster (designer unknown)

Above, image by Gord Hill, Kwakwaka’wakw & Riel Manywounds, TsuuT’ina/Nak’azdli, June 2007. Below, Wolves by Ange Sterrit, Gitxsan.

Wolves anti-2010 logo

To see official Olympics graphics and design done badly, see the Vancouver 2010 effort.

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19 Responses to “2010 Olympics anti-graphics”

  1. Tweets that mention 2010 Olympics anti-graphics | ouno -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ouno, Jordan Dawe. Jordan Dawe said: 2010 anti-olympic graphic design: http://bit.ly/O5a8T […]

  2. knitgirl Says:

    …just workin’ on my window sign……

  3. john hopper Says:

    Is it me or have the Olympics got a little out of hand? The bully tactics by both politicians and Olympic committees seems borderline police state. To stand up and question the sanity of holding the Olympic games is now put on a par with treason.

    Speaking as a Brit, many of us have misgivings about a country that is facing savage public spending cuts in order to pay for the bailing out of the banking industry, while at the same time being obsessed with out doing the Beijing Olympics. Are we to spend twice, three times, four times as much on a fireworks display to show them we can do better?

    We also have politicians telling us all that we should seriously lower our carbon footprint, which is fine. I’m not sure however, what size of carbon footprint the 2010/2012 Olymics will create, and how many extra flights will have to be created in order to ferry in athletes, the media and spectators.

    Anyone who says that the Olympic games is above politics is probably being selective with the history of the games. They have always been down there in the mire of politics. The games are a nationalistic orgy and with so many other pressing concerns on the planet should we really be indulging in what is now rapidly becoming a highly expensive political scrap for gold medals?

  4. Exciting Olympic Links, Round 2 – Turned Skyward Says:

    […] This collection would cause VANOC to collectively crap themselves, especially the VANOC logo redone with drug paraphernilia. […]

  5. Tommi Potx Says:

    I concur; the Olympics as we know them are a huge money grab for sponsors, and has nothing to do with amateur sport. The notion of international brotherhood via sport is a thinly clad face for sheer greed. I’d like to fly the flag pictured above during the torch relay through Calgary.

  6. sum dood Says:

    Love the olympic cock rings…. I saw them stuck all over everything while I worked downtown… not allowed to now tho… I had to move to Abbotsford to find a company that would hire me during the olympics… sux.

  7. knitgirl Says:

    if I’m not mistaken, I believe that my olympic cock n balls…..not my image……is hanging at the Vancouver Museum.
    sponsored by the cultural olympiad….muah ha haaaaaaaaa ….. for now.
    like, until I mentioned it…… : D

  8. LB Says:

    knitgirl, really?? How funny. Congratulations on the show.

    Sports Illustrated article on the Vancouver Olympics mentions the posters:

  9. MC Says:

    You guys are fagot terrorists and should be shot in the street. The Olympics are coming, deal with it or leave town.

  10. LB Says:

    Ah, the voice of peace and reason is here. Anyone else feel like hoisting himself on his own petard with a) threats of violence and b) misspelling?

  11. Earl G Says:

    I’m an anti-Olympic gay terrorist and I take offense to that MC — I’m leaving town.

  12. Ken Says:

    I do not have a problem with PEACEFUL protests. What concerns me is that a good number of protesters are not there for moral reasons but simply protest against the “establishment”. They often cite their “rights” to protest but do not consider the rights of the majority who want to enjoy the festivities without the threat of violence or the impeding of their lawful right to watch and or participate in a lawfully sanctioned event. The time for protest is over now that the Olympics are here and the protesters should ensure the success of the games so that in the end more money would be available for housing etc. I also wonder how many of the protesters actually work with the homeless and charities etc. or do they just like to make noise and protest.

  13. LB Says:

    I’m starting to receive a lot of off-topic posts criticizing violent protest, so this is just a reminder that this post is about graphics. It’s an illogical leap to equate a political cartoon with violent protest, and I don’t need to point out that taking the next step of equating the two in law would create a state in serious breach of human rights. Nowhere did anyone who is disenchanted with the Olympics mention violence here. Where violence and a threatening or lecturing tone have appeared in this discussion, they have come from a pro-Olympics position. What interested me when I wrote this post was the sheer extent and variety of these anti-Olympic graphics and cartoons, all very creative variations on a single theme. The fact is that these graphics, despite their variety and number, are in fact virtually invisible amidst the plastering of Vancouver in corporate logo-ridden Olympic visuals. What’s really amazing to me is that a collection of a few graphics offered as a corrective to a corporate monolith could arouse so much animosity.

    Lastly, around the time of the abolitionist movement in the U.S. there was a saying: “you don’t have to pick cotton to oppose slavery.”

  14. A reader Says:

    I don’t believe that you need to “actually work with the homeless and charities” to voice your disapproval that a corporation has basically hijacked your city.
    There is a spectrum of views on why the Olympics aren’t great for us or our city.
    I’m making the protest a family event, so I certainly hope the police won’t be all jacked up looking for a fight.

  15. LB Says:


  16. ff Says:

    You are a very ignorent person if you made this. You make me sick. The olympics are ment to unite nations and promote peace and eqality.

  17. LB Says:

    I think someone else just scored a goal against his own side.

  18. knitgirl Says:

    a hahahaha……I just LOLed…….

    thanks for the laughs ff……if that IS your real name.

  19. There are More Important Things Than the Olympics « Rants by Whitney Says:

    […] Image Source Mind Your Manners. Please Share:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]

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