Apr 13

Highlights from Hiatus


I’m still making and thinking about things, my energy has just been redirected and maybe stretched a little thin.

In February RDS collaborated with Mary from Justseeds for the Migration Now! Portfolio Launch. The initial opening was cancelled due to snowstorm warnings, so our live silkscreen activity was combined with the Justicia / No One Is Illegal / Beehive / RDS / Justseeds panel event.


We created a design for bandanas featuring animals with different relationships to migration. We also made a handout with backstories. The process was nice, we developed our ideas and practiced printing over the course of two dinners hosted at Bike Pirates. Our initial inspiration was thinking about the relationship between migration and colonialism alongside classifications of animals as ‘native’ / ‘invasive’ species and it evolved from there.

I also started a new tumblr in February called other orders because there was stuff I wanted to share that didn’t fit on free the streets. It’s mostly been a space for reclaiming culture and experimenting with digital design. So I get to make GIFs from Iranian cinema, remix and recontextualize Dr. Doom comics, and post images that would otherwise sit on my hard drive.

Image from Marvel Super Heroes Presents: Doctor Doom (#20, 1969) #GenderTrouble

A scene from 20 fingers (2004)


May 12

If You Ate Today, Thank a Migrant Worker

I collaborated on this video with Regine, Leo, and our friends from Justicia 4 Migrant Workers.

Only snippets from this incredible journey are covered in this short video. The events connected the present realities of migrant workers to the history of unfreedom, as seen in the experiences of the anti-slavery underground railway movement and with indigenous peoples’ struggles against colonialism.

A follow-up to last year’s historic Pilgrimage to Freedom, which we also produced a video for.


Apr 12

Migrant Justice Political Graphics

Migrant Justice Political Graphics: No One Is Illegal – Toronto (2003-2009)

I just finished making a batch of these booklets. When I originally designed this back in 2010, I didn’t have the resources to get it printed, so it’s nice to see this through, even though it’s been a while (and I wonder if I would have done this differently now).

I haven’t updated the content, but I did design a new cover and I included the design as a mini-poster centrefold that you can take out (fun!). One thing I learned from this process is that if you’re going to make a booklet, make sure the page count is a multiple of 4! Also, not all staples are created equal, something to keep in mind when you’re stapling through multiple pages.

Fittingly, the multi-lingual cover image was inspired by – or maybe more accurately, lifted from – the banner at the bottom of page 24, so it’s nice to have them together here.

You can download a copy of the booklet here (select the booklet printing option to get it to print correctly). And check out the digital archive on Flickr here.

Apr 12

May Day 2012

I made this poster for May Day here in Toronto. I wanted to try my hand at a 5.5×17 inch format, basically two posters to an 11×17 tabloid page, while thinking about all of those narrow electrical poles we try to put our posters up on.

It uses very minimal text, which has some obvious advantages and limitations – it allows the design to be visually striking and clearer from a distance, but doesn’t tell you a whole lot about what May Day is or why it matters.

And yes, that’s my fist in the image. One of my goals is to use my hand in more of my work, but I thought that meant drawing! And I want to locate myself in my work more, in terms of why I’m doing it. In this case, I’ve been helping to organize May Day marches with No One Is Illegal – Toronto since 2007.

The original idea was not to have a singular image, but a series, so we could scan a bunch of people’s fists, and put those into the posters. I like the variation of a series and the possibility of people putting up posters seeing themselves in the image and feeling a sense of ownership.

This poster below is by M1M, one of the three groups – along with No One Is Illegal – Toronto and (de)Occupy Toronto – trying to help coordinate the planning of the day this year, and it gives you a sense of some of the collective demands.

If you’re interested in seeing more May Day designs, the folks at Occuprint have been sharing new posters almost every day.

See you in the streets!

Update: My friend Hussan made a composite of Toronto May Day Posters!

Mar 12


I wanted to share an array of images that I’ve gathered which use the fist & barbed wire as a symbol. For a change, I decided to try making an animated GIF. It was actually pretty easy, so look forward to more animations in the future.

  • #1 Julius Fuchik (book author), Notes From the Gallows (1948) via Justseeds
  • #2 Unknown Artist, Nikdy! (1961) via 4000 Communist Posters Torrent
  • #3 Kearny Street Workshop, Benefit Olga Talamante (~1975) via Kearny Street Workshop Archives
  • #4 One Year of Military Dictatorship (1977) by Malaquías Montoya in Just Another Poster? Chicano Graphic Arts in California (2001)
  • #5 The Struggle Continues via Howard Besser’s T-Shirt Database
  • #6 Unknown Artist (~1943) via 4000 Communist Posters Torrent
  • #7 Naji al-Ali’s Handala
  • #8 Solidarity Across Borders, Montreal
  • #9 No Borders South Wales website banner
  • #10 No Borders Camp
  • #11 www.noborders.cz sticker, in Prague
  • #12  www.nooneisillegal.org sticker, in Toronto
  • #13 No One Is Illegal flag at Zapatista encuentro 2007, via No One Is Illegal – Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories
  • #14 No One Is Illegal – Toronto banner
  • #15 No One Is Illegal – Toronto patch

From Olivier Razac’s Barbed Wire: A Political History (2002)


Aug 11

Freedom of Movement

Hello internet! Check out these two new graphics made with help from my friends Sheila, Samay, Hannah, Ed and Faraz. Oh and from my mom as well :)

Originally the idea was for these images to be on the front and back of a t-shirt. The freedom of movement text came to me one day while brushing my teeth, while the no one is illegal graphic was inspired and more or less lifted from this banner. We picked some languages that fit our context/identities better and worked on getting the best translations in Spanish, French, Chinese and Farsi that we could.

Last week we did a run of the freedom of movement image as a screen-print in some really awesome colours and gradients, and today we made a bunch of posters and t-shirts with the no one is illegal image, but we haven’t united the two designs yet.

Between my job at a youth centre and my community work, I’ve been doing a lot more screen-printing lately, and that’s been making me pretty happy. While printing today (and making some other art, including a banner and giant scissors), we had a conversation about how we first got exposed to screen-printing.

I remember running into my friend Michael Jacko, who had just bought some mesh from the art store and was trying to explain the concept of screen-printing to me, before it made any sense. And then I remember Txus Parras Todos taking up an unofficial artist residency in the hallway of the OPIRG-Toronto office, where he created his own mobile studio and showed us how it was done.

I remember Punchclock making the best movement t-shirts ever. Being introduced to Justseeds. Getting my hands painty again with my DIY apartment heroes Cameron and Sheila. Benefitting from Renee’s vision. Lara’s generosity. Holding it down with Louis and Kai’anne. And the feeling of helping someone else with their first pull. <3

Jun 11

May Day 2011 March for Status for All

I finally completed the short version of this video from May Day. It was a fun a collaboration with two videographers including my friend Owen from LCO.


May 11

Let Alvaro Stay

Image by Julio Salgado

A friend of mine, queer artist Alvaro Orozco, was picked up by immigration enforcement on Friday. We are organizing to try to stop his deportation.

Update #3: We Stopped Alvaro’s Deportation!

Update #2: Why Alvaro’s arrest matters

Update #1: Interview with Alvaro from detention

Campaign Page


At 8pm on Friday evening (May 13), award-winning undocumented queer artist Alvaro Orozco was arrested on his way to dinner with friends. Now in detention at the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre, he faces imminent deportation to Nicaragua.

An accomplished artist and dedicated advocate for queer and newcomer youth, Alvaro’s love for art and commitment to community has captured the appreciation and respect of thousands of people in Toronto. He received the 2010 Street-Level Advocate Award from the Toronto Youth Cabinet and City of Toronto in recognition of his work with queer and newcomer youth.

Alvaro first rose to national prominence in 2007 when his refugee claim was denied on the basis that he did not look “gay enough” for the adjudicator hearing his case via a television screen in Calgary.

This story was picked up by the largest newspapers in Nicaragua, effectively “outing” him to the entire country he left at age 12 due to severe physical abuse by a father who threatened to “kill any child of his that was homosexual.”

Alvaro, now 25, is still waiting for a decision on his Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application.

Friends and supporters of Alvaro are meeting to move quickly to stay his deportation. It is critical that we keep this strong voice in our community.

Alvaro’s Accomplishments & Exhibits

- Volunteer/Mentor with Supporting Our Youth (SOY)

- Mayworks Festival, Toronto, 2011

- Toronto Youth Cabinet, 2010 Identify & Impact Awards, Street-Level Advocate Award Winner

- Migrant Expressions Photography Exhibition, Montreal, 2009

- Under the Bridge Art Exhibition, Toronto, 2009

- Jumblies Theatre, Prop-Maker and Photographer, Toronto, 2009

- Refugee Rights Day, Toronto City Hall, Toronto, 2008

- ArtWherk Collective 2007, Pride Art Exhibition, Toronto, 2007

Image by Sheila Hewlett



Alvaro Orozco, Under the Bridge Art Exhibit