Mark Welsh, a 36-year-old artist who lives in the Heights, released eight striking icons this week tied to specific neighborhood problems in Jersey City, from the drug trade in Greenville to homelessness in Journal Square. You can see them all here.
Welsh tells JCI he got the idea from a former coworker and friend, the artist Anthony Skirvin, who did a similar set of icons in San Francisco as a take-off of the famed posters and shirts created by designer Michael Schwab.
“Seeing the images Anthony created completely burned into my brain the same contrasts that are happening in Jersey City,” Welsh says. “I simply had to create a set of similar images highlighting some of the issues we are faced with living in Jersey City.”
He says that his icons fall on the periphery of political activism.
“I’m not an expert by any means about the political system,” he says. “However, if I can help draw attention to some of the issues faced in my community, then that’s one step I can make. If it helps bring people out to become active in their community, then its worth it.”
The images are free for the public to use in any way they fit, whether that’s by making posters, stickers, shirts or anything else. “I guess the real test is to see how the public uses them,” Welsh says. “That’s sort of the social experiment behind the images. It might also delineate what issues may be more important to which neighborhood.”
He says he’s also looking for feedback to “create the antithesis of each image,” to help show that there is a positive goal coupled with a negative problem.
co-founder of the Jersey City Independent; he now works for a public-policy nonprofit in Trenton.