On Tour: It’s So Worth It to Be an Artist (Laura Zinger in Wilmington, DE)

26 Mar

Sign I liked in downtown Wilmington, DE

I recently sold my 10-year-old Honda to a dear friend of mine who also just so happens to be Nicole Hollander, the creator of Sylvia as well as the topic of one of my next documentary features.

Since then, my main modes of transportation have been the Chicago CTA system and my own two feet. When I was prepping for the On Screen/In Person Tour, I knew I would have to drive to all of the 6 screening locations, and was trying to figure out a way to balance this out with my new found beliefs that cars are probably going to prove to be a large part of the downfall of human kind (because of the pollution and societal disconnection it causes).

I decided that I would balance out all of the driving alone in a car polluting the world about 4-5 hours a day by walking and taking public transportation whenever I possibly could.

The first screening location on the tour was Wilmington, DE, where, before the screening, I was slated to talk to 50 Graphic Design students and faculty at the Delaware College of Art and Design (DCAD) during a very cool one hour speaker program they have called “Common Hour” where an artist or graphic designer or some other creative professional would come in and talk and present to the students for an hour about their career and advice they had for transitioning from college student to working professional or just a plain old regular happy human being.

DCAD

I arrived in Wilmington the day before the screening and decided to acquaint myself with the town itself by walking around and using Yelp to find out the best and most affordable places to eat according to local opinion.  I answered a million emails that have been overwhelming me for months, discovered that the shower in my hotel room had “invisible bathmats,” and watched the newest episode of The Office on Hulu. (Andy goes after Erin! Sorry, did I ruin that for anyone?)

 Sheraton Suites in Wilmington, DE: Home of the Invisible Bathmat

The next morning, according to my new found beliefs that cars are both evil and stupid, I set out to take public transportation to go to a little breakfast café that was highly recommended on Yelp called Fresh Thymes.

I ended up taking the 10 Bus to the café, and being from Chicago was shocked how friendly everyone was on the bus, and that they were all talking to each other. On Chicago buses, I try really hard not to talk to anyone and just put on my music and ignore everyone. I actually chose not to put my headphones on during this bus ride, and just openly eavesdropped on all of the conversations, because it was pretty impossible not to.

After an amazing breakfast at Fresh Thymes, I got back on the 10 Bus with the same driver, and settled in for another eavesdropping session. One stop later, a woman got on the bus whom the bus driver immediately recognized and greeted warmly as Ms. Kathy.  She got on the bus, knew the bus driver, talked to everyone who got on the bus after her, and handed out flyers to everyone included me. When I asked her what the flyers were for, she told me that the city was trying to move the bus route out of the downtown area, and that they were all going to fight it.

Soon after, an older gentleman got on the bus.  The bus driver knew him immediately too. This man was an Ex FBI agent (or an Ex-cop) from NYC. He was fighting the moving of the bus route too. The bus driver introduced him to Ms. Kathy, and he and Ms. Kathy starting talking passionately about fighting the moving of the bus route. They were both leaning towards each other discussing how they were going to work together to fight this.

I sat there completely shocked and amazed that there was a protest being organized in the bus seats right in front of me.  They literally talked about lying down in front of the buses like how people laid in front of cars in NYC to protest the Vietnam war.

I worry a lot and often about the loss of public, civic spaces that America is undergoing right now due to monolith corporations like Amazon.com, and lack of funding. Library funding is being cut, which is terrifying, because libraries really are the pillars of our communities in that they give their citizens free access to information and intellectual freedom. If we lose our libraries, and we lose independent book stores and independent businesses because they cannot survive in the current structure of America, where can we freely gather in protest and to organize?  I started thinking that public buses were going to be one of the last remaining public spaces for communities and American citizens, but I had never really seen the bus used this way until taking the 10 Bus in Wilmington, DE, where I witnessed Ms. Kathy, the Ex-FBI agent, and the bus driver all working together to organize a protest on a moving bus. I have never in my 33 years of life seen Democracy this immediate and in front of my face before, and I was so moved by what was happening in front of me that I went back to my hotel room (with my invisible bathmat), and rewrote the talk I had prepared for the students at DCAD.

Below is the talk I gave them, titled “It’s So Worth it to Be An Artist.” I also want to say how impressed I was with the student body and faculty at DCAD. They were open, communicative and alive with ideas and comments. It was one of the best talks I have ever had the pleasure of giving about filmmaking, art, Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., and Proceed and Be Bold!

 

It’s So Worth It To Be An Artist

 Laura Z talking to students and faculty at the Delaware College of Art and Design (Photo Credit: Shawn Hall)

Why?

Because you get to be creative, you get to interact with people, and you get to collaborate and grow as a person.

I was on the 10 Bus this morning and there was a protest being organized by citizens in your community who are against the bus being moved out of the downtown area.

Ms. Kathy got on the bus, knew the bus driver, talked to everyone who got on the bus, handed out flyers.  Another gentleman got on the bus. He was an ex-FBI agent  from NYC. He was fighting the moving of the bus route too. He and Ms. Kathy talked passionately about lying down in front of the buses like how people laid in front of cars in NYC to protest the Vietnam war.

Ms. Kathy doesn’t want to take the 12 bus because if they move the buses out of your downtown area, and she is forced to, when she gets off of a long day of work, she’ll have to take a CAB to get to the 12 bus. What is the point?!

We are losing all of our public spaces like bookstores to Amazon.com. Library budgets are being cut. I feel that the only personal spaces we will have in the future are public buses. Ms. Kathy and the rest of the people on the bus this morning were using the buses in a way I have never seen before in my entire life to organize a protest movement against the moving of the bus routes out of downtown.

They need your help, because their flyers SUCK.



They need you, all of you to take on this project and redesign them flyers, posters and hang them all over this town.

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr., the subject of the documentary I directed called Proceed and Be Bold! taught me this: To fight for what is right in this world you need two things!

YOU NEED TO BE ORGANIZED!

YOU NEED POSTERS!

Laura Z talking to students and faculty at the Delaware College of Art and Design (Photo Credit: Shawn Hall)

Who is Amos Paul Kennedy Jr? What does he do? (If you have a DVD copy of  Proceed and Be Bold!, watch the “Layers and Colors” scene here.)

I met Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. when I was your age: idealistic, passionate and wondering what the hell I was going to do after I graduated from college.

He was 45 at the time, strolled into the library where I worked as a college student wearing overalls and half an hour late. I was so upset with him for being late, but I’m so glad I waited for him.

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. has taught me more than I ever learned in College.  He taught me the effectiveness of a simple message.

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

The world needs graphic designers and artists. They world needs people who can put effective and direct images out into the world in a way that is easy and eye catching so that people will look at them and hopefully do what they say.

Here is a great example of one of Amos’ posters having a big impact. (If you have a DVD copy of  Proceed and Be Bold!, watch the “York, AL” scene here.)

So, I want to know who is going to help these bus protestors with designing better more effective flyers and posters? Which of you is going to hang them all over town and show up at these meetings and hand them out? Who is going to help get the message out because that is your responsibility not only as graphic designers, but as citizens of this country and citizens of this city.

I want to go back to Chicago and see in the news that a group of College Graphic Design students helped their city with design. I want to see that you all stood up for the call of duty and made a difference.

Because if we’re not here to make a difference, then why the hell are we here?

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.’s posters say:  it’s ok to be gay.

According to Kennedy, your Parents have a message for you too.

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

What is your message? What messages do you want to put out into the world as a graphic designer and artist? You’re all in college and get to educate yourself and create design almost 100% of the time. You should be finding your voice and developing your message now. Like tonight folks.  Bus flyers anyone?

I want to leave you with one of my favorite posters of Amos’, for just the simple design and this quote.

Poster designed and printed by Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

http://www.kennedyprints.com

Special thanks to John Breakey, Bates, Shawn Hall, Brad, and all of the other wonderful students and faculty I met at DCAD. Thank you for inviting me to talk and meet all of you! Seriously, one of my favorite experiences.

Post by Laura Zinger, OSIP touring filmmaker

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One Response to “On Tour: It’s So Worth It to Be an Artist (Laura Zinger in Wilmington, DE)”

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  1. On Screen/In Person Tour: Proceed and Be Bold! in Wilmington, DE | 20K Films - March 26, 2012

    […] Post 1: It’s so Worth it to Be an Artist […]

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