Charmaine Ortiz

Business as Usual

Business as Usual is a collection of WPA posters that I have appropriated to comment on the oppression of essential workers as seen through classism. Classism’s control of the working class and the exploitation of their labor is considered “business as usual” in a capitalistic system. I choose to revise WPA advertisements because of their historical power to persuade public opinion regarding water waste and public health. These posters were originally created as part of the Works Progress Administration to advertise critical social messages during the depression era and were later released to public domain for fair use. In my processes of revising these pieces of historical propaganda, I wanted to retain their original character and sense of urgency by making my edits appear seamless and causal. In recontextualizing these original posters, I updated their messages to reflect contemporary concerns regarding COVID-19 and capitalism’s exploitation of the essential working class. Formally, the posters’ original content was digitally altered by airbrushing, redrawing, adding new font, and creating additional graphics using Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fresco. Conceptually, the posters’ messages focus on essential employees that are being asked to “die for the dow” by placing their lives at risk for the sake of the economy.
Join the community to submit artwork & vote!
sign up for free