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Mike Thompson
Poster Art

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    Mike Thompson's International Poster Art is third in a series of international Political Poster Art. Poster Art has been an art form all its own since the 1880's. Posters became an excellent means of reaching those with limited communication channels. His work is highly detailed and finely done. Mike is a native of Jamaica and is involved with issues of peace and freedom internationally  - Don Noyes-More Ph.D. Editor in Chief.

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MORE POSTERS OF MARK'S CLICK ABOVE

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    MICHAEL THOMPSON  is an artist who was born in the island of Jamaica and migrated to the United States about fifteen years ago. He studied graphic design at The Jamaica School of Art, now renamed Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica.  In Jamaica he worked in the advertising business and later began making posters during the progressive years of (Michael Manley government 1970-1980s). In that period his work comprised a collection of political and cultural posters and paintings based on sociopolitical protests depicting the struggles taking place locally and internationally; for example the political changes that were taking place on the African continent including Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa. These struggles against oppression and for freedom in that region were always a recurring topic for his art. The anti-Apartheid movement led by the ANC and Nelson Mandela was very inspiring. It was during that period Michael won two poster competitions that took him with the Jamaican delegation to the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana Cuba in 1978 and then to in Moscow in 1985. This was a huge opportunity and experience for Michael as he was introduced to the beautiful Cuban poster designs created by the ICAIC and OSPAAAL that represented a wide range of content and style.

     Today, Michael designs and creates all his posters using Adobe illustrator program. He takes advantage of the clean two-dimensional vector style of illustrator that has come to define his signature style. He continues to use the same crisp simple style as if he is making a poster in the early years in Jamaica cutting stencil and painting in acrylic by hand. The pivotal topics of his digital posters demonstrate solidarity and protest with the many issues that he feels passionate about, such as peace, justice, and the environment that are part of the global movement for change. He also design posters celebrating Jamaican cultural and musical experiences, Africa, and the plight of indigenous people around the world.

     The goal of Michael’s art is to address war, poverty, racism and the underlying threads of violence and danger that underpin so many communities around the world, includes the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the festering occupation of Palestine. His political posters are designed to counter  “Cheap Lies” which has lead to the demise of millions of humans throughout the ages. “These soothing falsities should never imprison our conscience. We must open our eyes and let our voices be heard loud above the deafening silence.   As activist artists we should not just make beautiful art for others to admire, but also use our creativity to make or inspire positive change. It is the only weapon we have,” Michael he declares. He feels strongly that his poster’s art can make a difference and stimulate awareness. Like the noncommercial mass Cuban posters from the 1960-1980s, the aesthetic of his posters are similar to the Cuban style. The clear, crisp and a simple colorful designs are layered on powerful messages that are easy to see and allows the viewer to stop and think.

     Michael’s present posters were originally created for his Flickr AWARENESS POSTER PROJECT site. However, he now makes prints as the request for his prints have increased. The response he received online are tremendous,  especially posters created to draw attention to what was happening in the Gaza Strip during the attack on the territory in January 2009. He could not sit back and watch what was happening to the innocent civilians so he began posting posters to expose the “soothing falsities” being told on corporate news media. All across the world people responded to his posters on Gaza with positive support. His posters were published on Code Pink and were used in the Gaza March for Freedom held in Egypt to mark the first anniversary. Others were plastered on the streets of London during the large demonstrations that were taking place at the time. Michael has also contributed his poster art to THE HAITI POSTER PROJECT which is a collaborative effort by the design community to help effect change through their work for Haiti.

     His most recent posters have again pointed the finger closer to home, Jamaica. This time in solidarity with the people of the poor inner-city community of Tivoli Gardens. A poor housing estate located in the capital of Kinston, Jamaica. Collectively punished and brutalized during the attack by the Jamaican security forces where 73 people were killed including women and children. The operation was to serve a warrant on a local gang leader wanted by the United States. These posters are demanding justice for the innocent residents and seek to expose the atrocities which took place there.

     Michael has many things to say with posters and each one challenges the creative spirit and the mind for positive awareness.

      Michael is a Freelance Graphics Designer who lives in the city of Easton, Pennsylvania.

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