Arts Listings

Artist's Preview: 30 Yrs of New Work Now at La Pena

By Doug Minkler
Wednesday April 07, 2010 - 10:34:00 PM
Doug Minkler

My art show, 30 Yrs of New Work, is now at La Pena. The reception is scheduled for Saturday April 17th, 4 - 6 p.m. I hope that I will see you then, if not, the work will be on exhibit for one month between April 2 and May 1. There will be several just-completed posters as well as several prints from the 60's and 70's that have never been shown. (I guess I should have titled the show 40 Years of New Work.) The viewing hours for the show at the Cafe and Lobby areas are:  

Wednesday & Thursday: 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. 

Fridays: 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. 

Saturdays: 11 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. 

Sundays: 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. 


Here’s a short introduction/bio to the 60's and 70's draft-dodging, union-organizing section of the show : 

Most of the art I created in the 60's did not reflect my developing political consciousness, but, while attending Foothill Community College, in 1969, I did receive an award for a ceramic bust depicting a Napalm-burned sculpture of my head, complete with my singed draft card. I dropped out of Foothill in protest to the unfair practice of allowing upper and middle class students a free pass out of the war while forcing working class young people into military service in Vietnam.  

Some of the work shown here was created in the 70's at California State University, East Bay (formerly, Hayward State) where I studied art for a year and a half. One semester short of graduating, I felt compelled to focus on art full-time so I dropped out of college and used my student loan money to continue my art education through self-directed "home-schooling." After the student loan money ran out, I began a variety of industrial jobs to support my family and purchase art supplies for my paintings. I soon found myself fighting for worker rights by participating in contract negotiations, union organizing and strikes. In 1979, after eight years of industrial work, and its concomitant exposure to toxic chemicals, I returned to the art department at Hayward State to complete my BA degree in the hope of getting a job teaching art. I only had two remaining courses: Advanced Painting and Advanced Printmaking. The instructor for the painting class (after delivering a passionate lecture about artistic freedom) informed me that my work was propaganda--not art--and it had no place in the university. The instructor for the printmaking class told me that if he gave me credit for the work I was proposing for my independent study credits, his non-citizen status in the U.S. would be put at risk. I dropped out of college for the third and last time. 

In 1972, despite my non-student status, Gordon Hollar, my former Foothill College art instructor, was kind enough to provide me with a silk-screen and squeegee, along with excellent printing instruction. My first silk-screen posters, shown here, were inspired by both the Vietnam anti-war movement and the factory organizing work in which I was involved. The lessons from my 60's and 70's draft dogging and union-organizing days continues to guide my work today.