Starting this project, I knew that my views on decolonization and indigenous relations would be vastly different than my target market’s. When talking to my mom about the issue she brought up the inconsistencies in medical care when treating aboriginal children and families, and eventually we landed on the topic of the foster care system.
Initially, I wanted to focus on the failure of the government dating back to the Sixties Scoop. I knew I wanted to focus on the individuals to gain empathy from the target market, but I knew I couldn’t call the children broken or incomplete, and at the same time I couldn’t villainize the parents partaking in the foster care system who were providing positive experiences.
With this in mind, I originally landed on the phrase “Missing But Not Lost,” intended to address the Indigenous identities of the children separated from their communities who’s culture/language/family ties were “missing but not lost,” intending to build awareness for the issue and inspire change in elections. However, this sounded too close to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women campaigns, and it pointed fingers in the wrong directions. It was through ideation with peers and professors like Vida that landed the idea of the “FOUND” posters. The idea of being found vs. yet to be put the exact positive spin on the campaign that I needed, and gave footing to the funding it needed. Although this removed it from the direct problem (intergenerational trauma and a lack of parenting skills due to the Canadian Government) it re-contextualized the campaign into one of hope and community building, not loss and mourning.
To keep with the positive, youth centred theme I chose to utilize bright colours and children’s illustration. I wanted the posters to be eye catching and dynamic to make them stand out. (See mood boards above.) I understood that the target market would easily look past a regular poster with a child’s face on it, so I wanted to play to the emotional appeal by showing showing a child in a way that they would want their own to feel. Happy, whole, and inspired. This is also why I decided to incorporate an animated aspect into the campaign, to catch the eye and confront them with an image that seemed alive as opposed to static.
These animations could take form in a number of ways. A short 5 second ad with a simple found logo and link at the bottom, a long form narrated commercial, replacing the photography and illustrations exactly the same as the posters above, an animated card on the website, etc.
I also decided to include a website to provide an opportunity for education and further explanation of the initiative. The first step in removing cultural barriers is always education, allowing the viewer to build sympathy and de-mystifying the other group step by step. At Found.ca, the visuals match that of the poster, and then provides culturally relevant information for each of the illustrations to start educating the viewer in an approachable and comfortable way. Now that you have an emotional tie to the main child shown (Marcus) and you feel like you understand him a little, it explains the reality of the situation lower down the page as to not shock you with it straight away.
Overall, I wanted this campaign to be an approachable, positive way to address, educate on, and fund the very intense process that is rebuilding culture within indigenous youth that have been separated from their communities. The Found project builds up and helps fund organizations that help youth to reconnect with their cultures, languages, communities, and families. These are local youth groups, night-classes for Indigenous languages, Indigenous lead art camps, etc. that contribute to a sustainable community children in foster care would not have had they been without services that the Found project provides.
Although I’m happy with my final product, research, and strategy rationale, I think my ideation process and workflow could have been streamlined. I stressed myself out too much in the beginning stages and delayed my working time significantly. In the final product, I am happy with the aesthetic and art direction. I worked very hard on the copyrighting and hierarchy but recognize that there is always room for me to improve in those two areas. If it makes sense, I’d give myself a low A for execution and a B for process.
Indigenous Families are separated 3x more often than white families in favour of placing the children into a broken underfunded foster care system.
“The Sixties Scoop” refers to the mass separation of indigenous children from their families in 1960’s Canada, where they would be taken away to Residential School. Although promised as a temporary action, almost all of the children fell extremely ill, lost the skill to communicate using the language they shared with their families, or died inside these schools. Instead, the children who survived became displaced, forced to assimilate into white communities that refused to accept them on an equal level.
Cut to present day, and the Canadian Government has just been sued for the exact same offence. Indigenous families are separated by social workers and government officials three times as often as white families. This is due to prejudices and misrepresentation of First Nations in Canadian healthcare, as well as a long-standing double standard regarding what it takes for a parent to be deemed as “fit” to care for children. For example, although a white parent and indigenous parent might be enduring similar struggles, the bar for the indigenous parent is unrealistically higher. Because of this, children are taken away much more often than in white families even though the household could be exactly the same. In Manitoba during the early 80s, provincial officials estimated they took in 600-700 indigenous children every month.
“A recent study found that 52% of children under 15 in foster care are indigenous. Yet Indigenous children are just under eight per cent of the under-15 population in Canada today.
More than 90 per cent of Manitoba’s 11,000 kids in care are Indigenous. In B.C. 64 per cent of our 6,804 kids in care identify as Indigenous, even though they make up just under 10 per cent of the population under 19.”
Katie Hyslop, TheTyee.ca
The children would then be placed in chronically underfunded foster care systems, where the adults responsible for care are grossly under assessed and without proper monthly allowance. This meant children were placed in abusive homes without sufficient opportunity for care, often with no opportunity to maintain their culture. This underfunding is the direct fault of the Canadian government, and the system they operate on is still modelled after the settlers ideas of First Nations upon first contact.
“Like every social issue facing Indigenous people in Canada, the origins date back to colonization.
The earliest settlers’ writings show their misunderstanding of Indigenous child-rearing and how their feelings of racial and cultural superiority clouded their judgments.
Early missionaries saw First Nations child-rearing practices as ‘negligent, irresponsible and uncivilized’ because they refused to physically punish their children and respected them as individuals, instead of seeing them as clean slates on which to write. Settler governments viewed Indigenous people, adults and children, as wards of the state. The 1876 Indian Act, …effectively gave government control over First Nations people’s lives, dictating where and how they would live, hunt, work and play…And how their children would be raised. Three years after the Indian Act was passed, then-prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald sent MP Nicholas F. Davin to the United States to study its system of industrial boarding schools for Native American children.”
Katie Hyslop, TheTyee.ca
To say this issue is multi-faceted would be an understatement. It is a perfect example of the cyclical damage caused by residential schools and the Canadian governments neglect to repair it. It demonstrates the depth of the mis-representation of Indigenous families, while showcasing the direct role that the government plays in perpetuation those stereotypes. As of September of 2019, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Indigenous groups suing the Canadian government. It was intended that as of 2020, each child affected up until 2006 would be payed out a maximum of $40 000 dollars each for the trauma the government caused. The Trudeau Government announced in November that they planned to settle the class-action lawsuit after asking for an appeal in October.
With this project, I hope to do two things.
Educate non-indigenous Canadians on the humanitarian crisis and cyclical, deep-rooted nature of the displacement of indigenous children in the foster care system in an engaging, emotionally appealing way that bridges the gap of these being real families, as opposed to groups and statistics on the news. I want families who aren’t necessarily invested in the affairs of first nations children to realize the depth of the issue and that our past of residential schools are not yet behind us.
Create a call to action for those who are entitled to compensation to utilize an advertised service (most likely a website, or office in their city) to take the next steps in receiving compensation.
“Bar’s work has been described as “deceptively simple”, featuring flat colours, minimal detail and negative space to create images that often carry double meanings that are not immediately apparent.”
Noma Bar is an Israel born graphic designer and illustrator who’s work has gained numerous recognitions and awards in recent years. His provocative, stark works are extremely conceptual while utilizing the most simplistic forms. He has truly refined the conceptual image, and is known for his flawless rendering of the “visual innuendo.”
Bar boasts a heavy publication list, including, but not limited to the likes of:
“Time Out London, BBC, Random House, The Observer, The Economist and Wallpaper*. Bar has illustrated over one hundred magazine covers, published over 550 illustrations and released three books of his work: Guess Who – The Many Faces of Noma Bar in 2008, Negative Space in 2009 and Bittersweet 2017, a 680 page 5 volume monograph produced in a Limited Edition of 1000 published by Thames & Hudson.”
Noma’s career is currently based in London, but began in his childhood. He would make caricatures of his teachers at school, and although crude, showed his potential from an early age. He also credits his creative influence to his neighbour, who would create life-sized sculptures out of extra farm machinery parts. He says that this laid the groundwork of his artistic visions, saying that it showed him that ‘you could take something and make it into something radically different, just by composition. That is the basis of all my work now.’
During the 1990 Gulf War, while seeking refuge in a bomb shelter in Israel, he noticed the striking resemblance that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s face had to a radioactivity symbol, and he created the first portrait that would later exemplify his symbolic style. He would go on to create similar images of Hitler, as well as icons of the times.
He would study calligraphy, graphic design, and Hebrew typography at the Jerusalem Academy of Art where he would refine his graphic style. He would meet his wife and fellow graphic designer Dana Bar. Upon graduating in 2000, Bar would move to London to pursue his career, with his first major publication afterwards being a full page of William Shakespeare for the popular publication Time Out London. The couple is currently settled in Highgate, where they work doing freelance and contract labels, and live with their two daughters Mia and Lili. Bar has produced multiple books collecting his works in recent years, the most popular being “Guess Who? The Many Faces of Noma Bar,” and “Negative Space,” both acting as a purchase-able portfolio of his extensive works.
In summary, Noma Bar is a unique illustrator of the day. There are not many who can compare to the sheer intellect and wit that is able to be conveyed by such minimal shape and line. As a budding designer and illustrator, I can easily say how admirable his work is. It’s always easier to include more, to overcomplicate your pieces and to justify them via the image. Bar’s work sits on a level of sophistication that makes this a non-issue. He’s able to convey recognizable and high-level concepts while providing the smallest amount of information possible, something that I think all illustrators should strive for sometimes. He really redefines what the word “graphic” (giving a vivid picture with explicit detail) means. Unlike others, Bar trusts the audience to fill in the missing pieces on their own. The work stands on it’s own, and that’s hard to come across.
The word “extraordinary” didn’t mean much to me until I discovered the world of illustration. Unlike photos, or even abstract fine art, illustration was able to take the mundane and make it just that, more. More than ordinary, but in a way that was believable and somehow more than real.
I’ve often found that while searching through the lists of illustrators for these blogs that there is one who stands out among the rest. While perusing this particular collection of names, however, there was nobody that jumped out to me. There was Braldt Bralds who has one of the most interesting names of all time and happens to paint only cats, which was interesting enough, but then I stumbled upon Francis Livingston.
Livingston’s work didn’t immediately catch my eye. The first images that come up after searching his name are city landscapes and beautifully lit buildings. Sure, they’re well done, and somebody else could easily write five hundred words talking about his quality of light and faithful devotion to intricate colour studies. But I wasn’t about to spend my time on just buildings when there were so many more attention grabbing artists out there.
But then I found this picture.
I was in awe, and immediately enthralled with the work of this man that I knew quite literally nothing about. He could be a murderer, for all I knew, but I didn’t care. This was one of my most favourite pieces I’ve ever seen, and it will be for a long time. Something about the quiet grandeur of the scene, the humbleness of the paint strokes and the nonchalant nature of the whale that peacefully swims above the unassuming crowd. This illustration makes me want to be there, to live in the world that Livingston has so deftly crafted.
And yes, obviously his quality of light and immaculate handling of colour and brushstroke quality is incredible. We can’t really talk about his work without recognizing his ability as the rest of the artistic world has. His biography on medicinemangallery.com touches the edges of his reputation, stating:
“Born in Cortez, Colorado, Francis Livingston is in the top ranks of American illustrators, and his work has been widely published. Francis Livingston’s paintings have been exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Livingston was awarded both Gold and Silver Medals from the New York Society of Illustrators, San Francisco Society of Illustrators, and Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.”
Livingston credits his inspiration to the likes of Sargent and Whistler, and studied Diebenkorn alongside the more modern Wayne Thiebaud. Looking at his more traditional illustrative works, this makes perfect sense. We can see that his landscapes strike a jarring resemblance to Whistler (as shown below), but add a twist of the “Bay Area flare” that Livingston was surrounded by during his formative years as an artist.
After a 10 year teaching career in San Francisco at the Academy of Art College, Livingston and his family relocated to Idaho. Much like James Elliot Bama Livingston completely switched genres and client bases. His earlier career had consisted of painting the San Francisco Board Walk for years, but now focuses on the stretching plains of the mid-west (see “Winter Landscape,” above).
However, his newest work consists of ones similar to the original “Light Stream” that caught my eye. Livingston continues to combine natural elements with 20th century architecture and mundane scenes to create striking, jealousy-inducing images. He creates a whole other universe within his paintings, which now tend to fall under the category of fine art instead of illustrations. Livingston brings to life the classic “Night at the Museum” concept in a lively, mature, more believable way. Additionally, he does so with the intent of making it seem situationally realistic. It’s this factor that makes these works of Livingston’s resonate so intensely with me. It appears as if you’ve just hung around Penn Station too long and you’ve just caught a glimpse of some of the largest creatures on earth commuting home from work.
That being said, I think this quality will give Livingston’s work lasting importance. Perhaps not in the eye of critics, or even in the world of professional illustration. These are the type of images that children see that make them want to become illustrators–much like the drawings that I credit my ambition to–that leave lasting impressions and stay in their mind forever. Dreamlike images (in my experience) tend to be far more impressionable than landscapes or portraits, no matter how great the lighting or colour palette is. I guess what I’m trying to say, in my oh-so-round-about way, is that Livingston’s works deserve value and permanence because of how inspirational and extraordinary they are. They made me feel like I did when I first discovered art and illustration, sitting on the carpeted floor of my childhood bedroom, putting together puzzles of a golden fairy queen, realizing that I wanted to create things like that. Personally, it’s works like these that deserve recognition and lasting praise over landscapes and immaculately done portraits.
“A modern renaissance man — one of a rare breed of intellectual designer-illustrators, who brings a depth of understanding and conceptual thinking, combined with a diverse richness of visual language, to his highly inventive and individualistic work.”
When you think of iconic mid-century design, you think of Milton Glaser. Responsible for some of the most iconic images of North American advertising, Glaser continues to create even today into his late 80’s. He’s the man behind the “I <3 NY” logo, the Bob Dylan poster, and more recently, Trumps famed “Space Force.”
He began to build a name for himself with the co-founding of Pushpin Studios (1954) in collaboration with Seymour Chwast, and would continue the reputation he built for himself by once again cofounding the New York Magazine in 1968. In 1977 he would design the most commonly used logo of all time, the famous I Love NY. Originally Glaser had been bored of the project, not finding a singluar design that did the idea justice, and came to a point where he decided to do the work pro-bono. Thats right, Glaser did not receive a cent for what is now one of the most easily recognizable images in the world. He ended up scrawling down something in the back of a taxi cab and calling it a day.
Glaser boasts a prolific portfolio consisting of almost 400 works, including “posters for Lincoln Centre, Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, the Holocaust Museum… Cooper Union, the Philadelphia Zoo, the 1984 Olympic Games, the Van Gogh Estate… the Metropolitan Opera, Bob Dylan, and others.” (hyperallergic.com)
A short overview of his accomplishments includes, but is not limited to:
Designing over 50 magazines,
Remodeled Washington Post, La Vanguardia, O Globo
Created over 400 promotional pieces in his career
Graphic and Architectural Design
2004 Lifetime Achievement Award
2009 National Medal of Arts
In the way of the psychedelic 60’s, Glaser contributed many influential pieces to the world of music. His work for Bob Dylan remains one of his most iconic works, but also proudly owns works for Aretha Franklin, and others. The work is trademarked by his signature limited colour palette, flat, islamic inspired geometry, and countless historical/artistic references that show through each piece. In a modern sense, Glaser showed his expertise in the realm of 60’s design when he created the graphics for the final season of Mad Men, debuting in 2015.
Although one would typically end a post like this with the classic “In summary…” it’s hard to put the works of Milton Glaser in to a few simple sentences. Only a small part of his career has been covered in this post, and there are years and years worth of revolutionary design that comes with the name “Milton” attached to it. He is often regarded as one of the most influential designers to date, and for good reason. He is equal to the likes of Saul Bass, Paul Rand, Peter Saville, and others, and will always be regarded as a pioneer of modern design, as well as what it means to be a working creator.
“His depiction of sultry, sensual femininity, with a bewildering palette of pearlescent hues, created a powerful image in fifties America – and one of impeccable morality. His quality of light was unique – the highlights burning with adjacent areas of pink and lilac. The reflected light he loved so much seemed to come from beneath, and scattered around the face giving an almost unearthly glow.”
What do you get when you combine pin ups, Monet, and science fiction lighting? Edwin Giorgi. If that equation doesn’t quite seem to add up, the proof is in the pudding; Giorgi was one of the few artists who were able to seemingly combine genres and pull it off effortlessly. At the same time, he appealed to the mass audience by creating works with exciting colour palettes and pop-culture centric images.
For the most part he was self taught, and started his career in advertising and fine art. He possessed a degree from Princeton and left with the full fledged intention to become a writer, but his love of fiction and story telling led him down an alternate path of illustration. Starting out as a copywriter in an agency, he was told the cruel but essential phrase “You would be better as an artist.” Rough, yes, but this pushed him in the right direction.
What made Giorgi stand out so much from his contemporaries was his dramatic depiction of light, colour, and feminine sensuality. Much like Russel Patterson, Giorgi created women who were powerful and sensual, strong in their emotions and structured as a crucial character within the scene. Paired with his expert illustration of light and colour, the figures worked with it to communicate a precise feeling and mood within the illustration. He does so marvellously, as the figures could easily be overtaken by the aggressive brushstrokes and unapologetic use of colour.
His career consisted of illustrations, personal commissions, advertising, and works that accompanied entertainment mediums as well. His work was extremely well received among the public, and his career was long and prosperous.