Draw impressions with a sociopolitical purpose. Ghosn is a phenomenon in the literary and visual arts communities of Greater Cincinnati. Ghosn, a recently retired doctor, was born in Beirut, Lebanon. After studying at a Christian Brothers school in Beirut, he arrived in America, where there was no opportunity to learn art history or art studio. In 1976 he arrived in Boston. There, he started going to art exhibitions and got in touch with art and living artists.
Producing art for Ghosn is a means of showing his separation of him and his answers to the political and social evils he sees wherever he goes. He is a natural leader. Ghosn gathers artists, poets, and writers to investigate universal messages about political and social inequalities. He is Thomas Paine of Greater Cincinnati, America’s first literary/visual propagandist, whose writings during the Revolutionary War directly impacted the creation of the first United States Constitution. Ghosn thus continues a long and admirable American tradition as an artist and organizer.
To the artist
While studying and teaching at the School of Medicine, Ghosn persuaded the powers that enabled him to curate visual arts exhibitions with his longtime friend and collaborator, Mary Heider, who was present on the scene. Arts of Greater Cincinnati created an art committee in the College of Medicine Library, where these exhibits were viewed. Ghosn made posters to market these shows, some of the best in town. The posters featured distinguished regional artists such as Tony Becker, Barbara Ahlbrand, Rob Jefferson, Halena Cline, Merle Rosen, Bukang Kim, and Andy Au.
To the art curator
Ghosn’s following has grown. He founded SOS Art, an institution whose purpose is to support the arts as means for peace and truth. Since the inception of SOS Art, Ghosn has organized 15 annual “SOS ART” shows. These exhibitions are not curated in the generally established sense of the word; anyone who wants to participate can do it. Typically, two three-day programming weekends are part of the events. Literary artists, performers, and poets participate with their art.
They also form round tables to discuss ideas of thematic interest such as social justice, poverty, and community building. Each SOS ART exhibition and its accompanying programs create ever-larger communities of artists and writers, reducing the isolation of creativity and bringing them together to project their voices and share them with even larger communities of artists, students, and stakeholders. According to Ghosn, it helps, provides jobs, and allows writers.
To the artist
Ghosn’s political work, mainly drawing ideas and woodcuts. Mark of training in small hand-made pictures helped Ghosn to make woodblock impressions. Pats fall helped him learn that type of engraving. Ghosn received an Artists Scholarship from the City of Cincinnati to generate a portfolio of socio-political images. Clay Street Press printed and released those prints.
And so began Ghosn’s career as a busy artist.
Ghosn argues that his work is always about emotions, value systems. Almost recently, he has used the idea as a metaphor, hinting that being in poverty and a more politically tricky era is a kind. His work is full of images that interpret these themes.
The power of the printing press
The internet and further technological progress perform it easy to forget how radical the invention of printing was in the 15th century. By making the creation of brochures and images much cheaper, ideas could spread widely among the average and below classes; the ability of information and pictures was no longer the exclusive domain of monarchs and the Catholic Church. Martin Luther’s manifesto creating Protestantism had a large audience due to the press. Ideas and images could spread with a new speed, boosting the middle and lower levels in Europe.
Before the invention of printing, most biblical stories were carved as sculptures in Romanesque and Gothic churches; the stories of the Bible have been seen, not read. And they have always represented the opinions of those in power. With the press came the advent of propaganda. Radically different points of view could spread rapidly in an increasingly urban population. With the press came cartoons and prints by artists such as Daumier and Hogarth, who mocked the ways and customs of the upper classes, the pompous and the presumptuous. Without Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” pamphlet, the dissemination of ideas for the American Revolution and the first American Constitution could not have occurred.
Art as propaganda
Ghosn’s art uses print for the same reasons he used in the 15th century: to develop his ideas about privacy, political crime, poverty, and the relation to a large audience. Therefore, the combination of art and propaganda, or art as propaganda, has a history of respected professionals. Newer fields such as animation are likely to continue these inclusion trends and attract a large audience; cartoonists like Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman have turned this art form into art.
Wood carvings like screams
Woodcuts exert a compelling fascination on our emotions, as the medium lends itself to expressionist technique and formal expression. Thick black lines control the woodcut works, and the attenuation of the person is a famous simile. The upscaling of the image is almost a necessity, given the tendency of woodcuts towards a substantial moving result.
You can see the effect of woodcut designers such as Kollwitz in the business of Ghosn and perhaps that of the late Cincinnati designer Shaw. He used the medium in his Malcolm X series to significant effect. Ghosn entitles a series of his woodcuts Scream, as that’s his theme: a kind of primal scream of anger, disappointment, and disillusionment at what he sees happening in America and within America. The title is reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s Scream painting and Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl. Ghosn provided text to each image, which added to his propaganda intentions.
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