I drove past a new billboard on Santa Monica and Highland with artwork that has a familiar vibe to it. I held up traffic for a moment as cruised by, straining my eyes and bingo! BARMINSKI! Bill Barminski, who was featured in Jack Rutberg’s Letters From Los Angeles. Bill Barminski who recently showed at Create Fixate and is part of The Karma Underground‘s upcoming benefit for Tibet House U.S. Bill Barminski who shared a grotty downtown warehouse with me and three other dudes before it was fashionable or even cool (We couldn’t even call it a loft because it was on the ground floor!). Wow! BILL BARMINSKI!
The billboard is part of the AIDS Health Care Foundation’s fine art ad campaign designed to promote safer sex, HIV and STD testing, and condom use. AHF is the largest HIV/AIDS organization in the United States, and are folks behind the Out of the Closet thrift shops which, along with having good selection of used items, offer free HIV testing. I took my HIV test at an Out of the Closet as part of the nationwide initiative #testme which came out of the Netroots Connect conference workshop in which I was involved. We reached 1.5 million people encouraging them to get tested. Have you been tested since your last relationship ended? Before you started a new one? Get tested! Okay, I’m off my soapbox and back to art.
Since the days of Keith Haring’s iconic paintings in the 1980s, art has been an important part of raising awareness of HIV and AIDS. The design of Bill’s signature ‘double mouth’ artwork is the perfect way for us to get the message across about the dangers of having multiple partners and not getting tested for STDs frequently. It was a pleasure working with such a great artist who really cares about this message.
I’m honored to have been asked by the Aids Healthcare Foundation to design a billboard. It just hit the streets…Play safe.
The Barminski billboard is the first in a series of AHF Artist Gallery advertisements that will feature a new artist every two months. Professional artists interested in contributing work to the series should contact AHF Creative Director Jason Farmer at email@example.com.
August 8, 7pm-midnight
Angel City Brewery
216 South Alameda Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Billboard landscape photo: Bill Barminski
Billboard image: AHF
All other photos: Lisa Derrick/CARTWHEELart.com