Boots on the Ground for Peace

The assignment was to create an illustration that promotes peace. “What is the iconography of war and peace? Prof. Anthony Freda asked his students. “How can the icons be juxtaposed to convey an original message? How can peace be branded in a way that is effective and beautiful?”

The work was to align with the efforts of IH8War, an online gallery of protest art.  His freshmen, Principals of Illustration II students “more than met the challenge,” says Freda. “They created visually and conceptually sophisticated work.” Here are eight of the illustrations with the professor’s comments.


Above “Marissa Mahabir’s elegant brush work and line define a dynamic composition and powerful, symbolic portrayal of the war on peace,” says Prof. Freda.

“Jessica Garcia designed a striking and stark anti-war visual. Her image [below, of a boot crushing a civilian] is cleverly informed by classic 20th century poster graphics.”

student work 2
By Jessica Garcia

“The goal of the assignment,” says Freda “was to use the same branding techniques favored by propagandists to promote war and turn them on their head to sell peace.”

Turning iconography “on it’s head” is what Illustration Department Chair Ed Soyka says is at work in many visually compelling images.  “The artist presents visual elements you know of and puts them into a context you wouldn’t expect. It creates impact and suspense.

Aaron Medina
By Aaron Medina

Aaron Medina’s work, (above) “uses dark humor and a playful visual juxtaposition, of a flame thrower emitting doves, to effectively depict the absurdity of war,” says Freda.

Charles Hively, publisher of 3×3 Magazine, together with Sarah Munt, founded IH8War.  “We look for interesting approaches that first tell a story. Second [is to] compel the viewer to stop and pay attention, so he or she will hopefully embrace the idea that war goes against everything a civilized world wants, or needs,” says Hively.

J Wagner
By Joseph Wagner

“The students were to create an illustration that promotes peace,” says Freda. “The goal was to make a work of anti-war art that is both compelling and meaningful.”

Joseph Wagner’s parody (above) of Porky Pig’s sign-off “is a pop culture standard that gives the famous tag line an apocalyptic context.”

student work
By Ariana Zhang

Says Soyka “Prof. Freda’s students are learning ‘purposeful image making.’ It’s about using the principals of visual communication to create images that are memorable but believable.

Ariane Zhang’s work (above) “gives a fresh look at iconic Japanese motifs — a red, rising sun makes a bold backdrop to comment on the country’s war-torn history,” says Freda.

student work
By Danielle Mercado

“Danielle Mercado’s original and expertly rendered image, [above], illustrates the overlooked plight of the animal victims of war’s insanity and destruction,” says Freda.

Below “Meghan Pin Yuan Huang’s hauntingly beautiful drawing reminds us of the fragility of life and the human cost of war.”

student work
By Meghan Pin Yuan Huang

“The priority isn’t just to do an elegant drawing or rendering for its own sake, but to use these abilities to express ideas and information,” says Soyka.

“And they’re learning from Freda, one of the country’s most outstanding conceptional illustrators, known for his powerful ability to depict social issues.” They will apply this learning to “more advanced creative developments and professional assignments,” he says. 

Zhoudi Ye
By Zhoudi Ye

“Zhoudi Ye’s illustration merges icons of war and peace,” says Freda. “It’s a sophisticated and compelling advertisement for peace.”

Images used with permission.

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