Chuck Sperry is best known for his rock concert posters of bands like The Who, Pearl Jam and Black Sabbath. But the San Francisco-based graphic artist is also passionate about street-level politics. His protest posters, available for free, often show up wherever people are protesting.
"I wanted to find some icon to show that our future is with our support for science," says Sperry of the poster image featuring a close-up of a human eye he created for the March for Science that's happening Saturday, April 22 -- Earth Day -- in Washington D.C as well as elsewhere around the country. Thousands of people are expected to descend on the National Mall in protest against the Trump Administration's naysaying stance on climate change and bid to cut billions of dollars from science-focused federal agencies and scientific research.
"That's the trick: Take a complex idea and boil it down to one thing," Sperry says. "This eye gazing into the distance with a galaxy reflected in it; I wanted to show wonder and discovery."
For the backside of the poster, Sperry created an image of an astronaut, along with a list of adjectives like "adventurer," "explorer," and "risk-taker." He says these words "positively express the discovery and the risk-taking" of scientific endeavor. "I'm trying to ignite kids to see themselves as adventurers and explorers," Sperry says. "I'm also a huge space nut. I've got some space memorabilia myself."
Sperry, who previously designed a poster for the Women's March in January, says he was inspired to make these images by the science education company Planet 3. He says the organization is helping to distribute the images for the march by sharing a downloadable link to the poster via its website and social media channels.
The San Francisco-based artist owns his own silk screen print studio in Oakland, so it’s easy for him to make and distribute thousands of copies. Sperry will be distributing posters himself at the San Francisco March for Science, an offshoot of the main protest happening in Washington D.C. on Saturday.
"I'm on call," Sperry says. "Waiting to activate."
Funding for KQED Arts is provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Support is also provided by Yogen and Peggy Dalal, Diane B. Wilsey, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Helen Sarah Steyer, the William and Gretchen Kimball Fund, and the members of KQED