Monday, February 16, 2009

Artist. Aboriginal. Anti-Capitalist — the works of Dylan Miner

It's such an empowering and exciting experience when you come across great things for the first time — books, ideas, friendships — and in my case, revolutionary printmaking. Sadly, as time moves on, we often overlook those things which meant so much to us at a particular time. So when it pops back up to remind you of that initial buzz — to relive the experience all over again — it's a bit like finding a $20 note hidden away in that rather obscure inner pocket in the depths of ones overcoat. Sweet.

Stumbling upon Dylan Miner's personal website was an experience not dissimilar.

I first came across Dylan's work in 'Wobblies: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World' — his illustrations accompanied the chapter headers in a bold and distinctive black and white style, easily managing to stand out amongst the other amazing graphical historiographies which also littered the pages. I eventually found more online at, and now, his personal site.

His use of various printing techniques, the bold block colours and IWW and anarchist revolutionary content easily won an adherent, but what I really like is his line work. I'm no art critic (as you can tell), but there's something inherently human in the odd, humorous and sometimes warped interpretations Dylan presents — the portrait of 'Bakunin' for instance, or "Power in a Union'. The physical weight of the linework, the boldness, the jerks and jaggered woodcut strokes — and yet at the same time, the personality of his mark making — often makes me smile, even when conveying such confrontational and political themes. And I think for folks making such charged and meaningful work, that has to be a good thing. There is a place for alienating and negative work, but there's also a (rather large) place for work which can challenge and deconstruct the ideas of the viewer in a positive and empowering way. To that end, the work of Dylan Miner serves as a worthy example.

View links for more work.

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