December 03, 2011

My "Black Hills" billboard

Since I critiqued Shepard Fairey and Aaron Huey's artwork in Black Hills Billboard in Los Angeles, I thought I should offer an alternative. How would I convey the "Save the Black Hills" message to motorists speeding by?

First, find an image of a photogenic site in the Black Hills--such as this one:

Needles Highway in the Black Hills, Rapid City, United States
This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: Needles Highway

It doesn't have to be a photograph. Perhaps a stylized version of this landmark would work better. Then you could Photoshop a buffalo in the foreground to suggest the location: the Great Plains. Because most people won't know where the Black Hills are.

Put that on the left side of the image with word "Sacred" over it in big block letters.

Next, find a picture of an ugly strip mine. You know the kind--a barren wasteland of dirt sculpted into the side of a mountain. If it doesn't have a bulldozer or earthmover gouging a hole in the ground, Photoshop one into place.

Strip Mine

The location doesn't have to be in the Black Hills, although that would be ideal. This isn't a photojournalist report on strip mining. You're trying to convey the idea of desecrating the hills,

Put that on the right side of the image with word "Profane" over (or under) it in big block letters.

And there you go. This is simple and memorable at a glance. You don't have to slow down to read the two-part "The Black Hills...are not for sale" message on the original.

Since you want viewers to act, give them a URL that also doubles as a concise message. Something like would be perfect. Put breaks between words so people can read it more easily.

Back to the original

You can read about the installation of the actual artwork here:

The Black Hills Are Not for Sale:  The Mural Is Up in Los Angeles. Here's How It Got There

A few notes:

  • Huey calls it his billboard project, but this is more of a mural on the side of a building. It's still hard to read from a car--maybe harder than a billboard because it isn't elevated.

  • Actress Darryl Hannah spent several hours on the site helping to mount the image. Does she act anymore? Anyway, give her credit for her dedication to indigenous causes.

  • They added a small URL to the image: I'd say most motorists won't be able to read it, though pedestrians can see it well enough. My suggested URL is better since it conveys the point directly. With their URL, you have to figure out the connection between selling the Black Hills and honoring the treaties.

  • Any questions? Looks like I should be the nationally acclaimed graphic designer, not Fairey or Huey. Maybe they can update my website or blog while I design effective images for Native causes.

    For more on the subject, see Billboard Activist Seeks Donations and Billboards to Raise Awareness of Indians.

    Below:  Can you find the URL for more information? Probably not.

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    I don't understand the billboard. Something about the Black Hills, a Lakota boy, um, Japan? Well, since uranium mining has a history on Indian reservations, and Japan just had a nuclear meltdown, maybe? I mean, uh, uh, oh crap