Earthjustice is the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, and they’ve been working on protections for wolves for years, all over the country. The Creative Action Network teamed up with them to launch this campaign—beyond the art they’re crowd-sourcing, you can see more about their ongoing work for wolves here. Organizer Aaron Perry-Zucker talks more about the campaign.
What made you turn to the wolf as a cause celeb?
Partly because they need help and so many of us love wolves. They represent so much about what it means to be wild, and the role wilderness plays in our society, and need to be protected. They’re also one historical example of arts and culture getting it wrong. For hundreds of years, storytellers have portrayed wolves as the bad guys—and those portrayals make it easier for all of us to look the other way as wolves are shot down or removed from the endangered species list. Since artists play such a prominent role in shaping that narrative, we think they have a unique ability to help out and rebrand the wolf.
Why are wolves in danger?
The gray wolf was one of the very first species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Today, some members of Congress are working to de-list wolves, stripping them of the protections that have been helping their populations rebound. Their image as threatening bad guys has made it easier for these members of Congress to portray wolves as a menace, despite their critical role as a lynchpin of the ecosystem. The issue is bigger than wolves too—in that if we allow Congress to start de-listing species from the endangered species list one at a time for political reasons, we’ll see many more beloved animals disappear too.
What does their danger mean for the rest of us?
It means catastrophe for the ecosystems where wolves live, the end of the wildness they represent, and perhaps most scarily, it paves the way for many more species to be targeted and disappeared from our landscape.
You are essentially crowdsourcing artwork. Is there a standard for inclusion?
Like all of our campaigns, everyone is welcome to contribute work and the specific standards for inclusion are outlined in the creative brief here.
Have you found that art and design are as effective as, let’s say, rock benefits?
Interesting question, and hard to say for certain as we’ve never hosted a rock benefit before. The value of our crowdsourced art campaigns is two-fold: growing the base of passionate and creative advocates for causes, and helping organizations tell their story and engage with young audiences more emotionally than, let’s say, lawyers, are used to doing. Anyone can contribute a design and every print and shirt sold not only supports them but it furthers the mission of Earthjustice by reaching new people with new and more engaging methods. So it’s hard to conclude whether one method is more or less effective (especially at something so hard to measure) but I think every artistic medium has a role to play in shaping what is important in culture.
Do you design your own typefaces? Have you created stunning type-centric design work? Have you produced a gorgeous handlettered project? If so, we want to see your work. All too often, typeface designs, typographic designs and handlettering get overlooked in competitions—which is why Print developed a competition that gives the artforms their full due and recognizes the best designers in each category. Enter Print’s Typography & Lettering Awards today.