The Artist’s Response



Banksy, “Slave Labour,” shows a barefoot child sewing a Union Jack which brings attention to issues of labor inequality and nationalism. Located in an area that had been a 2011 London Riot site

So, my fellow artists: Wow! What a week!  History has been a long and interesting tale, with many surprising twists and turns.

When history takes a twist, how have artists responded?

Liberty Leading the People

Eugène Delacroix, “Liberty Leading the People”, one of the most famous images of revolution. Exhibited and purchased by the state from the Salon of 1831. Now in the Louvre.


“The Funeral of the Stamp Act”, attributed to Benjamin Wilson, 1766. This may look a bit tame, but the colonial reaction to Great Britain’s tax legislation was not. Check out what the puppy is doing!

If you’re having trouble processing all this, and need a break – don’t worry.  You’re not the only one. There are quite a few artist blogs that have gone silent this week.  If you’re inspired, that’s valid also.  Your feelings, whatever they are, are there as a resource to be tapped when you’re ready.

Artist’s responses to major events can not only communicate with the viewer, they can also help the artist by allowing an outlet.  Right after 9/11, I organized an art project in San Francisco to honor those who had passed, and saw for myself the healing that occurred that day.  One of the best reasons to make art is – it’s good for everyone, and you, too.  So, be there for each other, and make great art, my friends! See you in December!


Leah JLeah Jay (Jakusovszky) has been an artist and illustrator in San Jose for 25 years. She creates using a variety of media including watercolor, acrylic, pastel, ink, and collage. Her illustrative work has been featured in many books, and highlights from her career include directing 2001’s WTC Memorial Art Project to facilitate artist’s responses to 9/11 and successfully crowdfunding her artbook “Amphibian Love” to benefit Save the Frogs in 2015.

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