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Boots on the Ground for Peace

The assignment was to create an illustration that promotes peace. “What is the iconography of war and peace? Prof. Anthony Freda asked his students “How can the icons be juxtaposed to convey an original anti-war message? How can peace be branded in a way that is effective and beautiful?”

The work was to align with the efforts of IH8War, an online gallery of protest art. His freshmen, Principals of Illustration II students, “more than met the challenge. They created visually and conceptually sophisticated work,” says Freda. Here are eight of the illustrations with the professor’s comments.

Marissa Mahabir

Above, “Marissa Mahabir’s elegant brush work and line define a dynamic composition and powerful, symbolic portrayal of the war on peace,” says Prof. Freda.

Jessica Garcia “designed a striking and stark anti-war visual. Her image (below, of a boot crushing a civilian) is cleverly informed by classic 20th century poster graphics.”

Marissa Mahabir

“The goal of the assignment,” says Freda “was to use the same branding techniques favored by propagandists to promote war and turn them on their head to sell peace.”

Turning iconography “on it’s head” is what Illustration Department Chair Ed Soyka says is at work in many of the most visually compelling images. “The artist presents visual elements you know and puts them into a context you wouldn’t expect. It creates impact and suspense. ”


Aaron Medina’s piece, above, says Freda, “uses dark humor and a playful visual juxtaposition (of a flame thrower emitting doves) to effectively depict the absurdity of war.”

Charles Hively, publisher of 3×3 Magazine, together with Sarah Munt, founded IH8War. “We look for interesting approaches that first tell a story. Second (is to) compel the viewer to stop and pay attention, so he or she will hopefully embrace the idea that war goes against everything a civilized world wants, or needs.”


“The students were to create an illustration that promotes peace,” says Freda. “The goal was to make a work of anti-war art that is both compelling and meaningful.”

Joseph Wagner’s parody above of Porky Pig’s sign-off “is a pop culture standard that gives the famous tag line an apocalyptic context.”


Says Soyka “Prof. Freda’s students are learning ‘purposeful image making.’ It’s about using the principals of visual communication to create images that are memorable but believable as a reality.”

Ariane Zhang’s work above, “gives us a fresh look at iconic Japanese motifs,” says Freda. “A red, rising sun makes a bold backdrop to comment on the country’s war-torn history.”


“Danielle Mercado’s original and expertly rendered image,” (above) says Freda “illustrates the overlooked plight of the animal victims of war’s insanity and destruction.”

Below “Meghan Pin Yuan Huang’s hauntingly beautiful drawing reminds us of the fragility of life and the human cost of war.”


“The priority,” says Soyka” isn’t just to do an elegant drawing or rendering for its own sake, but to use these abilities to express ideas and information.

“And they’re learning from Freda, one of the country’s most outstanding conceptional illustrators, known for his powerful ability to express information and depict social issues.” They will apply this learning to ever “more advanced creative developments and professional assignments,” says Soyka.


“Zhoudi Ye’s illustration merges icons of war and peace,” says Freda. “It’s a sophisticated and compelling advertisement for peace.”