The Occupy movement's not dead, says Brooklyn-based poster artist Jesse Goldstein. It just needs a thorough shot in the arm.
"One of the things we have to figure out is what's going to help get the people back out in the public," Goldstein told the Daily Dot. "We need to find that energy that was circulating in the Park when the movement was more active."
Goldstein's doing his part to re-energize the movement through occuprint.org, a website that he created with partner Josh McPhee to collect, print, and distribute posters made mostly during the height of the Occupy movement.
There are 376 in total, each one a bold interpretation of the Occupiers fight against banks, capitalism, and America's system of government. Some remake timeless art, taking cues from "American Gothic" to push for the support of labor unions. Others take a direct stance against the Republican party. All come from the creative minds of the 99 percent.
Founded as an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street Media, an Occupy-centric news publication that published Goldstein's posters in its first issue, the site is one of the most complete aggregators of artifacts from the Occupy movement, a collection that's been called "inspiring", "invigorating", and memes "in a dialog that is going to change the world and save the planet."
"I think we had a bigger impact outside of New York City because we provided a way for people to plug in from all over the world,” Goldstein said of the site. “Now that the park isn't occupied and energy is shifting, the fact that we're sort of alive and kicking has given us increased exposure within the movement.”
Goldstein believes that occuprint.org can play a major role in revitalizing the Occupy movement but knows that can’t happen given the site’s current resources. For the past few months, Occuprint’s reach has been limited to online; Goldstein and McPhee upload digital images to the site, which Occupiers can then print and post in their own towns. That’s something both intend to change, however, and the two recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $16,800 necessary for occuprint.org to take its presence offline and resume distributing art around the country.
With 17 days left in the campaign, Goldstein and McPhee have already managed to raise $15,175 for the project, money that will go directly towards printing costs, shop fees, paper expenses, and shipping. The two also want to put together a portfolio of Occupy-related art that will go in the permanent collections of museums, libraries, and other art institutions. Like all things Occupy, getting the opportunity is going to take work from the entire 99 percent. Goldstein and McPhee can spark change, but they can’t make it alone.
"Public art and graffiti has been so criminalized in so many cities that it's increasingly hard to get posters up. We want to provide people with the materials to help reclaim some of the tradition of taking over public spaces."
- Kickstarter: Occuprint
- Location: Brooklyn, NY
- Summary: Occupy Wall Street poster artist hopes to funds necessary to enable mass distribution of Occuprint art
- Goal: $16,800
- Amount raised as of press time: $15,175
- Days Left: 17
- Best Buy: For $100, backers will get a limited edition French Paper print of Alexandra Clotfelter’s “Beginning is Near” poster, the first poster Occuprint distributed in October.