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Meeting at a Distance: Gary Lichtenstein in Conversation with Eric Orr, Live 04/17/20 3PM EST

April 17, 2020
4 min read
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Master printer Gary Lichtenstein has been silkscreening editions and multiples for over fourty-five years. In this unprecedented crisis, Gary Lichtenstein Editions is working with Urban Pathways to provide new CDC-guideline signage for all of its housing. Gary has teamed up with artists to improve upon the CDC signs, making them stand out and communicate more effectively with communities.

Join Gary in conversation with artist and designer, Eric Orr, who pioneered his own style of graffiti using visual iconography instead of writing; his distinctive robot has become his signature and alter ego. Gary and Eric discuss their collaboration on this new poster project—including their process, why the project is important, and how art and design can connect, communicate, and make an impact.

Lichtenstein explains:

“When NYC announced that all non-essential businesses be shut down, we shut down. It was brought to our attention a few days later, however, that screenprinting had been deemed “essential” since health & safety signage was in high demand. We quickly shifted gears and Melissa started doing the outreach. We were introduced to Urban Pathways (UP), a 45 year old non-profit that focuses on moving at-risk and homeless individuals into apartments. These aren’t shelters. Everybody gets an apartment and UP provides health care, meals, education, career and psychological services, as well. The majority of UP’s employees are on the front line and they are working 24/7 to make a real difference. 

UP was thrilled with the idea of signage that could really communicate the important, vital messages that are critical right now. Social distance… washing hands… the black & white CDC print outs are hard to read and hard for UP’s tenants to understand. We reached out to Eric Orr, an artist who we have worked with repeatedly, and he jumped at the opportunity. 

Our first batch of posters, “Keep Your Distance When You’re Walking” has already been installed. Our second batch of posters, “Actions Shape Our Future: Wash Your Hands” will be shipped out tomorrow. Urban Pathways operates 15 buildings throughout NYC primarily – there is also one in Newark, NJ. We’re honored to be partnering with an organization who works daily on the front lines to keep people safe and healthy during this time of crisis. 

The coincidence is that screenprinting originated as a sign painter’s technique. Signage. Communication… the ability to understand what is being conveyed by a simple sign… so terribly important at a time like this… what is the point of a sign if nobody looks at it or can’t read it or understand it?”

Streaming live Friday, April 17 at 3pm EST


Until the end of June, Gary Lichtenstein Editions is donating 50% of all silkscreen print purchases to the heroic efforts of Urban Pathways, a not-for-profit, social services, and supportive housing organization serving at-risk and homeless adults in New York City.

@garylichtensteineditions in the studio 2020.

Support the essential work of Urban Pathways by purchasing a GLE print here or by donating directly to Urban Pathways here.

Meeting at a Distance presents recurring digital conversations, started in a time of quarantine. The series features artists from Mana Contemporary Jersey City, connecting with each other from afar. Join the community as they discuss this new time and how it has shifted their practice, process, and thinking.

All Photo’s & Text Copyright 2020 Matthew A. Eller or are used with permission of the author.  Follow me on Instagram @ellerlawfirm

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