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Faux Propaganda Art

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 8:52 PM
Untitled-1 by techgnotic












The Comfort of Mindless Obedience



When is information true and useful and when is it just “propaganda?” Why in fact is an image or phrase or animated art sequence “propaganda” rather than it simply being a “lie?” What about acceptable lies that define our society as much as they degrade it—for example commercials that obviously hype a product with untruths or political advertisements full of unachievable platitudes.







It can be instructive to look back at the early days of “mass society” and the need to impart vital national information before the ubiquitous presence of personal radios, televisions and telephones in every citizen’s home. World War I and World War II provided the framework worldwide for the mass “propaganda poster.” It’s amazing how similar the mass propaganda posters of the warring nations were – in their patriotic images just as much as in their simplistic messages of sacrifice and belief in the cause. Many are familiar with Uncle Sam, born in WWI and Rosie the Riveter from WWI, whose “Yes, we can,” was repurposed in the 60s and again recently as an Obama campaign maxim.


The messages seem simple and quaint today, instilling the glow of some kind of nostalgia. Yes, the point of propaganda was always to get us back in line, onto the straight and narrow for God and country or for country and religion alone, the conundrum that the opposition were doing the same was easily handleable without too much intellectual athleticism. In fact, sometimes mass conformity feels good – like a U2 concert. We’re being sold that something is way more important that it really is, but we don’t mind … so it’s “propaganda” as opposed to being a “lie.”








“We’re being sold that something is way more important that it really is, but we don’t mind … so it’s “propaganda” as opposed to being a “lie.”








“Us” vs. “Them”


In researching the subject the Mass Propaganda Poster didn’t make it through the Vietnam War era. If it showed anywhere as a graphic equivalency, it was on anti-war T-shirts. It wasn’t just improved TV technology and the daily coverage of that national struggle (in the jungles of Nam and the streets of American cities). It was also that the war was too confusing, to ambiguous, to be reduced to the simple “us” vs. “them” formula of the two wars that had come before. So iconic poster art of young American men fighting evil devils wasn’t just ineffectual, but insultingly simplistic.


So instead, the mass propaganda art posters of the 60s were the psychedelic rock-n-roll posters promoting the new phenomenon of guitar heroes. The cultural “war” it seems was better suited to the creativity of simple iconic poster art than the complex disaster of war. Of course, the use of mass propaganda in posters was reaching a zenith at the same time in China as part of the Cultural Revolution in every home, every workplace and every government operation.







Today, while “actual” political propaganda posters are still occasionally put out on the street of our cities to vex the establishment by artists like Robbie Conal, there is the new phenomenon, best exemplified by artist Shepard Fairey’s “OBEY” posters and stickers, of “faux (false) propaganda art,” which mocks and comments on the very concept of mass propaganda itself. The artworks often call up classic images from the “loose lips sink ships” days of war era propaganda to stir our patriotic fervor for battling the Sith and joining in other causes. Star Wars and Star Trek are favorite subjects used for the primary context of these fake posters, as well as many video games and movie and TV franchises. Faux propaganda memes are a regular subject for deviantART satirists as can be seen on this page.


Faux propaganda art has an eerie vibe – like playing with fire. Remember, this was the stuff utilized, for real, by feared despots to drive others to countenance the murder of millions. But now it seems so childishly safe in its simple messages. One has a feeling of nostalgia, even—as if any evil has been sapped from the subject, and with the viewer being a survivor of a bygone era. We are no doubt being manipulated and “sold” on more contemporary issues by more sophisticated means of mass propaganda flooding our brains daily—but at least these colorful beasts from the past are easily mastered for our simple enjoyment.









Once again, Do we have any scholars out there who might shed an even more educative light on the subject?


Has anyone been studying or reading extensively about the history of Propaganda Art?




Would love to hear opinions, analysis and corrections from those of you even more familiar with the history of propaganda art than I.









CommentaryFrom deviantART's Advisor in Chief






The notion of “faux propaganda” is false because it remains propaganda. When my kids asked me what I did during the Vietnam War, my answer was that I fought the war against the war in Vietnam; and that my side won. The strongest image I have of that movement is, of course, the peace sign. The second strongest is a raised red fist. The first of these symbols was borrowed from the anti-nuclear movement of the very early 1960’s. The second was borrowed from communist propaganda posters of the 1920’s and possibly earlier.


Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster was propaganda—for good, I believe, just like the peace sign—even though it owes its context to posters of Mao Tse Tung and the now high art of Andy Warhol. The red fist was propaganda for bad as it was to become to be understood and then it was used for good, as I believed; and will likely be considered bad or good again in another round of propaganda to come. But what’s interesting to me is that the stylized look of a Mao poster, the peace sign and the raised fist will always be considered propagandistic in a Pavlovian sense. You see them and you know them to be propaganda.


makepictures






Questions For the Reader


  1. Do you like modern faux propaganda art or does anything recalling the Horrors of past wars still seem inappropriate as an art subject – if only because of possible inadvertent trivialization?
  2. Do you think faux war propaganda posters for movies like Star Wars raise real issues about the danger of war (like in Star Wars) ever being presented, even subconsciously, as “fun?”
  3. Are there examples of modern mass postering (like the Obama “HOPE” political posters) that still send “real” and effective messages and information?
  4. What about your own politics drives your feelings on this subject and artform?







When is information true and useful and when is it just “propaganda?” Why in fact is an image or phrase or animated art sequence “propaganda” rather than it simply being a “lie?” What about acceptable lies that define our society as much as they degrade it - - for example commercials that obviously hype a product with untruths or political advertisements full of unachievable platitudes.

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
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Username Changes Now Available

Wed May 16, 2012, 3:18 PM


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2012: Year of the Dragon
















According to the Chinese zodiac, 2012 has ushered in the year of the dragon upon the world stage.


In addition to occupying an ages old position in our cultural consciousness, legend and folklore surrounding
the dragon mythology has long been firing the kiln of our dreams with fright and menace. When we are speaking of
Dragons, we are speaking from ancient texts gathered form the beginnings of kept records of any kind and from all
points of the Earth Sphere.


In a time before modern science and anthropology, farmers tilling their fields and
fishermen drawing their nets would find amazements that struck them with fear and awe: fanged serpentine skulls
larger than the tallest man, along with other bones indicating powerfully-taloned creatures taller than the treetops.
All creation itself was assumed to be no more than several dozen human generations’ lifetimes’ long, so the idea
of dinosaur remains from 200 million years ago was beyond the most educated human comprehension of the time. The
mind of ancient man must have been reeling.







Dragon by TheMinttuDragon Mage by kerembeyitLava Dragon by kerembeyitBahamut by GENZOMAN


What were these creatures? Monsters? Gods?! And more pressing: Did they still walk the earth? (Or fly above the clouds?)  
In what remote lairs could they be found?  Mountaintop keeps?  Inside volcanoes?  Living deep beneath the oceans?






Believable stories, legends, mythos had to be created to help humans
calm their fears and place these terrifying beings within some kind of manageable
context in their lives and societies.

The dragon mythos was born.












Although ancient Europeans imagined their dragons to be originated from the seas (like the terrifying “sea serpents” and
giant octopuses and squids that haunted the seafaring Europeans’ nightmares) and the Chinese and Far Easterners imagined their
dragons to have flown forth from volcanoes, spewing the volcanic fire that was their birthright – what is remarkable about
dragons is their ubiquitous presence in the myths and legends and historic consciousnesses of peoples and societies all over
the world. "Dragon” is an instantly understood idea and image held in common by every person currently alive. Dragons have continued
to evolve as frightful symbols of nature’s overwhelming destructive forces, far beyond the defenses of humankind, on down through the millennia.





Of course, in our warp-speed modern times, just when science might be thought powerful enough to finally “explain away” the “dragon”
skulls and forever vanish the monsters from our fitful dreams – we, being the fun humans that we are, have decided to embrace The Dragon
in our pop consciousness like never before, even transforming him (and her) from a force of destruction into a friend and protector (as in
Anne McCaffrey, George R. R. Martin, and Harry Potter novels and many highly-grossing films and video games). It would seem that while we
as intelligent beings value our scientific discoveries, we value just as much our marvelously crafted and generationally passed-down stories, myths and legends.




Thus: Our Dragons will live forever!




Grimbelly by kerembeyit:thumb99595873:Quetzalcoatl by GENZOMANHydra 2 by el-grimlock









Questions for the Reader




1

What aspect of the “dragon” most fascinates you personally? The mystery of their possible actual reality (now or long ago)?
The amazing worldwide span of the “dragon story” and belief as well as the millennial timespan of the legends? Or simply the
the incredible fun that fills the dragon stories and artful depictions?






2

Do you think science ruins wonderful myths like “dragons”?  Or can science and mythic consciousness exist side by side if both are respected, appreciated and given their due?







3

Which dragon story or depiction most influenced your childhood?










4

What is your first impression of a person you see wearing dragon jewelry?





:thumb201999787:Spirit of the Dragon by KellyMorgenJewelryChinese dragon pendant by ukapalaIce Dragon Necklace by MonsterBrandCrafts



5

If a living dragon were discovered to be living in an Icelandic volcano, what impact do you think this would make on our world?  What if because they emerged in Iceland, Bjork and Robbie Rotten were designated as our human ambassadors to the upper echelon of an emerging dragon society?









6

If we ever needed to, who, in your opinion do you think we should assign this most important of positions, specific and depending of course on which Volcano in what part of the world they were to emerge from?  And why would they be best for the job?










End of Results