Once again, it’s Sunday: time for our weekly look at something interesting or inspirational I’ve found on my wanderings through the pictorial wilderness that is Tumblr. To see more of the stuff I’m looking at, visit my Tumblr picture file, the Coelacanth Gallery.
My new story, currently called “treed”, has a major cat character in it. I draw dogs, and creatures that might as well be dogs, every day of my life, and I have live-in models for drawing them sleeping on my couch pretty much all the time. But cats are a mystery to me, both personally and artistically. So one of the things I’ve been doing on my Tumblr is collecting examples of grabby cat graphics. I’m hoping to come up with some kind of design for a really sharp, contrasty, inkable cat.
You can imagine my surprise when I sorted through my images, and found I had collected the same very striking red, black and white poster twice, once with English text and once with Arabic text. (I like the way the makers of the Arabic version changed the coloring to pop the whiskers.) If the IWW logo is historically correct, and this was originally an Industrial Workers of the World poster, then it is interesting to see an image that may date back to the Nineteen Twenties being revived for one of the populist movements of the next century.
I guess you can say what you want about the Wobblies, but if this is really one of their original posters, then they had (or have! see below) some first class graphic designers. And I hope they don’t mind if I borrow their some bits of their cat.
Update: I apologize if the tone of the above suggests that the IWW is a thing of the past. A little more research showed me that the organization is very much alive. (You can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.) I wasn’t able to find anything specific about this particular poster, which could be brand new. But I did find a very interesting article about the black cat, which, I learned, is one of the symbols of the IWW, and may originally be connected with hobo signs. Once associated with sabotage and violent action, which the current organization forcefully repudiates, the cat has become a more general icon, even a mascot.
If anyone knows the history of this poster, please pass the story along, and I will post another update.