Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
by Alec Opperman for Station To Station
Justseeds is a cooperatively run network of witty, political print makers and designers. The group has artists scattered across the United States with several members who reside in Mexico and Canada.
From graffiti to posters, their work centers on political activism and social justice. Labor is a common motif, and migrant workers are found in many of their political posters.
Their work is quirky but effective. Meredith Stern, a Justseeds’ artist, explores social issues through her prints of cats. While some wondered if Stern was paying homage to the internet gods or unhealthily obsessed, Stern cleared up the confusion by explaining the political significance of her cat depictions.
I have been asked several times about the use of cats in my artwork and so I now present a succinct explanation of why I am not simply obsessed with cats and instead am very intentionally choosing to use cats to represent ideas of social change. On a very basic level, cats are free of dog-ma. Also, using animals rather than people as the central figures in a piece allows for a more open interpretation of who is being represented. When images of people are used in artwork, it’s easy to attribute a specific ethnicity, age, gender, sexual identity, or other cultural associations to the person in the image. Through the use of animals, all these identities are vague, and the reader can instead allow themselves to be transported into the activities being presented in a fantastical and playful way.
Who knew that cats were so packed with meaning? Stern argues that ideas of “social change, anarchy, and spirituality” can all be found in cat work. Meow.
This article originally appeared on StationToStation.com