Piotr Szyhalski stands with a large letterpress banner
Piotr Szyhalski stands with a large letterpress banner
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Faculty member Piotr Szyhalski is featured in the August/September issue of American Craft Council.

Szyhalski, who grew up in Poland, remembers the resurgence of the poster for the 1952 Western movie High Noon in 1989: the image of a classic American cowboy accompanied by the logo of the Solidarity party resonated as a symbol of courage and triumph against the odds during a time that Poland was ruled by communism. In the article, Szyhalski reflects on growing up during a time of systemic oppression, the aftermath of the Solidarity movement, and the crucial role that art played in all of it.

“It was a big part of my aesthetic and social consciousness to understand without any doubt that a piece of printed artwork has a direct function in that social and cultural sphere." —Szyhalski

His upbringing has inspired him to create art that promotes discourse around complex social and political issues. He uses different media and often public collaboration to evoke a message. His most recent project involves a substantial, public-access letterpress printer in which people use their body weight to press one letter at a time. The end result is a larger-than-life statement that allows for users to have an amplified voice during a time of great dissent.

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