Posts Tagged ‘St.Louis Community College at Meramec’

Stop Killing

I’ve created four images on this theme of Stop the Killing. My first version was created shortly after the Columbine shooting. I have been an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Art in St.Louis and I have been teaching  at St.Louis Community College at Meramec since 1997. The father of my Graphics co-ordinator at Meramec was shot and died later while serving as Mayor of Kirkwood, Missouri. I usually post this image after a mass casualty shooting. Recently I have began to think about how would I react if there was an active shooter while I am teaching. I think about escape routes.


Homeless illustration by Joerdan Carney a student in my illustration class at St.Louis Community College at Meramec

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Homeless posters displayed at “the Gallery Within” Webster Groves Christian Church

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Homeless posters at “the Gallery Within” Webster Groves Christian Church

Thirteen students in my Illustration class at St.Louis Community College at Meramec created poster illustrations that brought awareness of the many reasons that people become homeless.
Large format prints of these posters will be on display in “The Gallery Within” Webster Grove Christian Church. Also in the gallery will be photos taken by and taken of Scott Roy a former art student at Meramec that was homeless for a while when attending Meramec. This show will be hanging from December 19, 2017 until January 7, 2018. Gallery hours are from Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm and Sunday 9:00 am until 12:00 pm
Webster Groves Christian Church ( Disciples of Christ) is located at 1320 W.Lockwood Avenue St.Louis MO. 63122. The gallery entrance is on the West side of the building as you exit the parking lot.  John Dyess

Hannah Jones Have you ever felt invisible

Homeless illustration by Hannah Jones, a student in my illustration class at St.Louis Community College at Meramec

Below is Hannah’s statement about her Homeless poster.

“When tasked with making a poster about homelessness, I wanted to first understand more about it and why people become homeless. I found a variety of reasons but what stuck out to me most is how homeless people are treated. Whether intentional or not, homeless people tend to be ignored or avoided. They need help but there is so much stigma against homeless people that people are either afraid to help or just don’t care. They are basically invisible to a world that has left them in this situation. I wanted to represent that concept on my poster by having a homeless person blending into the background with others passing by not caring. A lot of times people become homeless and they can’t get out of it because no one is willing to help them, they would rather ignore.” Hannah Jones


Homeless illustration by ToQuyen Tonnu a student in my illustration class at St.Louis Community College at Meramec.

This is the statement on ToQuyen’s poster illustration.

“Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant;
there will always be someone out there that needs what you have to give.
Visit for more information on what you can do to help.”

On Christmas Eve my hope is that there is a room for those that are homeless.
John Dyess

Travis Hartsook

Homeless illustration by Travis Hartsook, a student in my Illustration 2 class at St.Louis Community College at Meramec.

I have been teaching at St.Louis Community College at Meramec for twenty years as an adjunct professor in the art department. I have taught a class called Drawing for Graphics and  Illustration. My last assignment in my Illustration class  was for my students to design a poster that brings awareness to the reasons people become homeless.Below is the assignment that I gave to my students.I will be presenting some my student’s illustrations on Homelessness, and their artist’s statement about their illustration, in future blog posts.

Assignment: Homelessness People become homeless for lots of different reasons. There are social causes of homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment; and life events which cause individuals to become homeless. People can become homeless when they leave prison, care or the army with no home to go to. Many homeless women have escaped a violent relationship. Many people become homeless because they can no longer afford the rent. And for many, life events like a relationship breaking down, losing a job, mental or physical health problems, or substance misuse can be the trigger. Being homeless can in turn make many of these problems even harder to resolve.
“I think good activist art should try to engage rather than shock or alienate,” explains artist Katy Bauer. “It’s easy to shock and alienate. It’s difficult to educate and inspire.”
For this assignment you are to illustrate in a poster style “Homelessness.” Your illustration can be rendered digitally or traditionally in a technique of your choice. Your illustration most be converted to a digital file that fits a paper size of 24” x 42” either in a landscape or portrait format. You should design your illustration to fit in the 24” x 42” format. You can add words to your illustration. I want your illustration to educate and inspire. I consider this activist art. I have attached a document of statements, that I have found online, about the purpose of activist art.
Step by Step Process • Research the reasons for homelessness and illustrate one or more reasons for becoming a homeless person. • Research poster design • Do at least 10 different thumbnail ideas. • Create your illustration

Activist art

Activist art represents and includes aesthetic, sociopolitical, and technological developments that have attempted to challenge and complicate the traditional boundaries and hierarchies of culture as represented by those in power. Like protest art, activist art practice emerged partly out of a call for art to be connected to a wider audience, and to open up spaces where the marginalized and disenfranchised can be seen and heard.
Activist art incorporates the use of public space to address socio-political issues and to encourage community and public participation as a means of bringing about social change. It aims to affect social change by engaging in active processes of representation that work to foster participation in dialogue, raise consciousnessand empower individuals and communities. The need to ensure the continued impact of a work by sustaining the public participation process it initiated is also a challenge for many activist artists. It often requires the artist to establish relationships within the communities where projects take place.If social movements are understood as “repeated public displays” of alternative political and cultural values then activist art is significant in articulating such alternative views. Activist art is also important to the dimension of culture and an understanding of its importance alongside political, economical, and social force in movements and acts of social change. One should be wary of conflating activist art with political art, as doing so obscures critical differences in methodology, strategy, and activist goals. wikipedia

The Artist and Homeless Collaborative is an example of a project that works with strategies of public participation as a means of individual and community empowerment. It is an affiliation of artists, arts professionals and women, children and teenagers living in NYC shelters, the A & HC believe that their work in a collaborative project of art-making offers the residents a “positive experience of self-motivation and helps them regain what the shelter system and circumstances of lives destroy: a sense of individual identity an confidence in human interaction.” The process of engaging the community in a dialogue with dominant and public discourses about the issue of homelessness is described in a statement by its founder, Hope Sandrow: “The relevancy of art to a community is exhibited in artworks where the homeless speak directly to the public and in discussion that consider the relationship art has to their lives. The practice of creating art stimulates those living in shelters from a state of malaise to active participation in the artistic process” wikipedia

“If anything, art is… about morals, about our belief in humanity. Without that, there simply is no art.” Ai Weiwei

I think good activist art should try to engage rather than shock or alienate,” explains artist Katy Bauer. “It’s easy to shock and alienate. It’s difficult to educate and inspire.”


Yesterday,I showed my illustrations students, paintings from life ,that I have created while attending painting groups, in the St.Louis region. I teach these students at St.Louis Community College at Meramec.I will share these paintings ,that I showed my students yesterday and paintings I show them in the future. This painting is oil on Plyex canvas board and is 13.5″x13.5″ These paintings are for sale.  This one is $300.00 plus shipping cost.        John Dyess


This is a detail of the painting.





Dragon Girl created by Jeff Weigel

There will be an art opening titled “Read with Me” on Sunday May 15,2016 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at the “Gallery Within” (Webster Groves Christian Church,1320 W. Lockwood Ave. St.Louis MO 63122 } featuring the art of Jeff Weigel author and illustrator along with students’ artwork on reading and literacy. These are the students of John Dyess from St.Louis Community College at Meramec.


Dragon Girl by Jeff Weigel

Space mechanics-color

Space Mechanics by Jeff Weigel

Read with Me

Literacy art by Tom Eaton

The art on this post was created by two of my art students at St.Louis Community College at Meramec,for an assignment to design art that promotes the importance of learning to read and reading books.This art,the literacy art and designs by other Meramec art students and the illustrations of illustrator Jeff Weigel will be part of a gallery show in  “The Gallery Within” at  Webster Groves Christian Church.


Literacy art by Chelsey Farris