Steve Lambert

is making prints for you.

Yearly Archives: 2017

Chapter in Artist as Cultural Producer

I contributed a chapter to The Artist as Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life (amazon, library). The book includes forty essays from “artists who have successfully expanded their practice beyond the studio and become change agents in their communities.”

It’s edited by Sharon Louden, published by the University of Chicago Press, and you can get a copy at your local bookstore, library, or amazon.

The whole essay is in the book and I’ve included an excerpt below. This excerpt was chosen by the editor, Sharon Louden, for the launch at The Strand. I’d prefer you read the whole thing from beginning to end, but the paradox of an excerpt is that it may be what gets you to read the whole thing.

Chapter Excerpt

When I was young I was often told the future was wide-open and full of possibility. But the means to that end was a strict and prescriptive path. Follow instructions, work hard in school, continue on to the best college possible, and from there you’re free to pursue your dreams! And be warned: not following this path will lead to limited options and likely failure. You can do whatever you want with your life, but you have to do this first. The problem was I couldn’t stand school.

I was a good student. I was curious and wanted to do well, my grades were good, I was liked by teachers and fellow students, but over time I wanted more than what my public high school could offer; for example the few art classes offered were a joke, music was about rote performance rather than creation and composition, subjects like photography and film didn’t exist. So out of obligation I set my desires aside and continued to push myself in areas that felt less and less relevant as I advanced; upper-level math, college level history courses, marching band, track and field, and so on. I was disciplined, endured as much as I could, and tried to channel my frustration into improving the situation the ways I saw how. I sought out information on my own with the spare time I had, and even tried to improve the school by running for, and becoming, class president – this didn’t work. Over time my effort wore down to indifference, then to resentment. Yet every weekday I had to come back, continue to work hard, and came to hate it.

All the details leading up to being committed to a psychiatric hospital are not relevant here, but this antipathy with school was layered onto other issues including a family health crisis and a death, severe migraine headaches, stress, and a lack of skills in coping or even speaking about my problems. It all collided. I was overwhelmed, in physical pain, severely depressed, and felt exhausted in every way – I’d run out of ideas and could feel myself self-destructing. I withdrew and internalized – I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know how. There’s a lot I’m leaving out, but it was bad. I needed it all to stop and felt if I could die somehow, at least I could have relief.
Someone happened to ask me the right questions at a specific moment and caught a glimpse of what was happening inside. I was checked into a hospital later that day on an involuntary hold – though at that point I was ready to volunteer. That intervention saved my life.
Those months spent in treatment became a turning point. Over the next few years I learned skills to manage stress in my life, but more importantly, I felt like I narrowly cheated death. Doing what I was told had been a total failure so I could now, rightfully, say fuck it all. I had license to reshape my life as I pleased.

When I checked out of the hospital I took a state test to leave high-school. I had no idea where I was headed, but whatever I did would be better than before.

The contrast was unreal. The outcome of my hospitalization was independence. I felt freed from constraints that had completely failed for me and released into an open space where I could choose how to move forward. There were options and I could make choices. It was the best possible outcome from a horribly painful situation and I am still so grateful for it.

The echo of these experiences are in nearly every art work I make. My work is about sharing liberation and agency. We don’t have to accept our world as it is, the ways we’re told we should navigate it, nor the costs and misery that come along with it that benefit so few. I don’t want to make art that just points out problems. I want to go further than suggesting solutions. What I’m trying to do is offer the experience I had – to give people the feeling of liberation and power that I felt. The democratic ideal that we’re not subject to culture: we can create it. And I trust they will go on and do so.

Fight Back Pack #1

Pay what you can & I’ll send you all this:

The fight back pack

  1. At least 1 Respect risograph print on #80 French Paper
  2. At least 4 risograph prints on standard paper (thin typing paper) to distribute as you see fit
  3. At least 5 Respect stickers
  4. At least 2 Lies stickers
  5. Shipping in a big sturdy mailer via our US Postal Service

And, as hinted by the “at least” above: a surprise or two.

Buy One Get Five

The idea is to have you help distribute these. If you want to request one of the phrases I’ve used at the bottom, let me know. Also, you can include other pay what you can items or a Capitalism Works for Me True/False print as well, since I’ll be going to the post office anyway.

I’m not making these to make money or further my art career. If this print is something you want in your life and to share in your communities, I want you to have them. If you can help offset the costs of making and mailing them, it helps. All the money I get from you I’ll use to make more.

Send what you can via Paypal or Dwolla or Venmo or Square Cash or just send me a check or whatever.

Respect is an American Value Prints

17in x 11in
Risograph on 80# French Paper

Buy One Get Five

Pay what you can & I’ll send you all this:

The fight back pack

  1. At least 1 “nice” print on #80 French Paper (like this)
  2. At least 4 prints on standard paper (thin typing paper) to distribute as you see fit
  3. At least 5 Respect stickers
  4. At least 2 Lies stickers
  5. Shipping in a big sturdy mailer via our US Postal Service

And, as hinted by the “at least” above: a surprise or two. If you want to specify one of the phrases at the bottom for the nice print, let me know. Also, you can include other pay what you can items or a Capitalism Works for Me True/False print as well, since I’ll be going to the post office anyway.

I’m not making these to make money or further my art career. If this print is something you want in your life and to share in your communities, I want you to have them. If you can help offset the costs of making and mailing them, it helps. All the money I get from you I’ll use to make more.

Send what you can via Paypal or Dwolla or Venmo or Square Cash or just send me a check or whatever.

Why so “American”?

I’ve been building on the Respect is an American Value design – making stickers and now prints.

Including words like “honor” and “respect,” using red white and blue, and borrowing elements from the shield of the Great Seal of the United States are all a conscious effort to appeal to those who may not be ready to immediately agree with the content. Like Capitalism Works For Me! True/False, the hope is to have people like the aesthetics before they’ve read what it actually says.

How it comes together

This is printed on an older Risograph machine we have in the New Media program at SUNY Purchase. The machines are like a combination of a mimeograph, screenprinting, and photocopying.

Each layer is printed separately – red, then blue, then an overlay of black soy and pigment based inks. You can see each stage of the process in the animation.

Process animation

The Riso has it’s own aesthetic. It’s inherently imperfect. Having everything align perfectly can be tricky (even when you’re as highly skilled as I am!) so sometimes you get these nice, slight, misalignments and smudges. Each print is different and prints also get their own patterns of ink texture and halftone. Below is an example of a nicely “misaligned” print.

Example of slight misalignment (but it still looks good!)

Below is a very short video of the last stage of the print being made on the machine.

Book signing at The Strand in NYC

I contributed a chapter to The Artist as Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life (amazon, library).

I’ll be reading a section and signing books at The Strand as part of the launch for the book. The book includes forty essays from artists who have successfully expanded their practice beyond the studio and become change agents in their communities.

Artist as Cultural Producer Event at The Strand
Thursday March 2: 7:00PM – 8:00PM
828 Broadway (& 12th Street)
New York, Ny 10003

CAA Conference – When Art Claims to Do Good

I’ll be co-chairing a panel with Elizabeth Grady at the CAA Conference. If you’re going to be there anyway:

When Art Claims to Do Good: Assessing the Impact of Socially Engaged Art

Time: 02/17/2017: 1:30PM–3:00PM
Location: Petit Trianon, 3rd Floor

Chairs: Elizabeth Grady, Independent Scholar; Steve Lambert, Purchase College–State University of New York

For Freedoms/Four Freedoms: Dissecting the First Artist-Run Super Pac
Elizabeth Driscoll Smith, Independent Scholar

When Artists Declare a State of Emergency: The Collective ATSA at Work
Ariane Noël de Tilly, Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Art and Social Death
Blake Stimson, University of Illinois, Chicago

more info

FREE DESIGN: LIES

Near where I live, the fans of conspiracies and Republican demagoguery have put stickers on the guard rails of our highway off-ramps. That inspired me to design these stickers.

This design is an update of the “You Don’t Need It” stickers I made with Packard Jennings ten years ago.

I’m putting this design in the public domain – no copyright. I trust you to use them to reference things that are verified lies. I wouldn’t put them on someone elses car, because that’s not respectful, but I do think it’d be funny to get a Trump bumper sticker for your own car and put this next to it. (Please send photos!)

Download Vector Art – Adobe Illustrator File
Download Vector Art – SVG 1.1 File

You can have your own made. Or if you just want to send me a few bucks and contact me with an address, I’ll put a few in the mail.

I have been designing others (like this) as the current Republican administration has given me sticker fever and will be posting more soon. Join the mailing list.

Speaking at eyeo Festival

I’ll be speaking at the 2017 eyeo Festival this year. You can learn more and register.

About the Eyeo Festival

Since its inception in 2011, the team behind the Eyeo Festival has been inspired by the notion that this decade presents an exceptionally exciting time to be interested in art, interaction, and information. The way we experience all three is changing. The way all three interact and overlap is quickly evolving. Easier access to powerful tools and technologies continues to increase. What data is, where it comes from, and how we utilize it, looks different than ever before.

What can we do with it all? What can’t we do? Artists, designers and coders build and bend technology to see what’s possible. What’s next with interaction, what’s revealed by the data. Eyeo brings together the most intriguing and exciting people in these arenas today.

We start with a day of pre-festival workshops and the 3rd edition of the Eyeo Summit – this year’s theme is Code+Resistance. That night we kick off Eyeo with keynotes and a mixer. Then it’s three days of inspirational talks, demos, and labs and plenty of opportunities to connect with people whose extraordinary creations are pushing the envelope. The line up is amazing. A cast of more than 40 brilliant individuals creates one amazing collection of talent and insight. Add yourself to the mix, and it just gets better. Converge to Inspire – Indeed.

Free Design: Respect is an American Value

I designed this tonight as a 3×4 inch sticker and ordered 500. I literally took a line from this article in making this.

Respect is an American Value

You’re welcome to use the graphics and order your own stickers. I like to use VGKids and StickerGuy but any company should be able to use these files. They’re scalable if you want to make posters or whatever.

I’m putting this design in the public domain – no copyright.

Download Vector Art – Adobe Illustrator File
Download Vector Art – SVG 1.1 File

I have been designing others (the Republican administration has given me sticker fever) and will be posting them soon. Join the mailing list.

Update: Stickers are made

If you just want to send me a few bucks and contact me with an address, I’ll put a few in the mail.

Respect is an American Value Stickers