I’m a big fan of the propaganda poster.Â So today’s Art Appreciation Moment features a new take on the propaganda poster by artist Paul Sizer.Â The color, composition, and word usage ties this piece together, and had this been done in the 1940’s, it would probably hailed as one of the best examples of anti-Nazi propaganda.
Now that being said, you really owe it to yourself to take the jump and read Sizer’s response to people who may have taken offense to such a well done image.
This poster is an emulation of propaganda posters from the World War 2 era. Propaganda, by it’s definition, is simplification of ideas to elicit a reaction from the greatest number of people. During this era, these kinds of posters were used to rally the allies against a common enemy, that of the Nazi party and Hitler’s military complex (and later Japan).
While I do agree that Hitler’s ideals and actions are some of the most atrocious in history, I DO NOT endorse the automatic assignment of the actions of a person to the actions of a nation or ethnicity. We saw this raise its head after 9/11, and it was ugly and sad to see that it still exists. Hate towards anyone is not something I wish to foster or encourage, but I also feel it’s important to recognize when we are being asked to feel that way and question it, given the repercussions of unthinking actions (i.e. the last 8 years of American politics).
In making this poster, while light-hearted in intent, I did understand that it showed a simple-mindedness of intent that did permeate lots of the propaganda (on both sides) of the time. I would encourage viewers to take note of this, and look around them to see other examples of this used for ill ends.
Also, iconic typography and images like this poster uses can be used for good or bad purposes (for good use, see the recent Barack Obama “YES WE CAN” campaign posters!). Design works if it is well done; but the message of the design is as, if not more, important.
Also, to all persons out there named Fritz: this poster is NOT a slight to you. In war times like this, generic names were assigned to persons to represent a nation or ethnicity. Using a name like Fritz was another oversimplification in an attempt to assign actions to “the enemy” we as Americans were fighting. “Fritz” was also a generic term for any German soldier. It is not my intent to foster this kind of branding, but rather to bring it to light so that we can react and counter it when we see it happening today. We work better together than apart.
Thanks for reading and understanding. The smarter we are, the more art enhances our lives.
My own take on an World War II Allied propaganda poster, using my BLACK ANGEL illustration.
Nerd factor: I rebuilt the color image as a tritone using the red-blue-black colors used in the typography of the poster design to make it look more feasible for how it could have been actually printed. DESIGN NERD! DESIGN NERD!
Sorry, I call me like I see me!
PS: Nazis suck, just to be perfectly clear.