CARBONDALE—On the eve of the general election, two of Carbondale’s more innovative 20-somethings are making a political statement.
Patrick “Liberty” and Mike McCarney are the brothers behind Akomplice, a global graphic design company that they started in 2004. They’re known for making strong statements – an image of the Statue of Liberty holding a gun, and a t-shirt campaign promoting arts education with NFL football player, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis are among their designs. Now they’ve now targeted presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as the issue of unchecked campaign spending.
The Big Bird series, which is a T-shirt and poster, features a cartoon depiction of the yellow feathered friend standing triumphantly over a KO-ed Mitt Romney in a boxing ring. The image is a reaction to Romney’s recent statement that if he became president, he would cut funding to the Public Broadcasting Service where “Sesame Street,” Big Bird’s children’s TV program, is aired.
“It is a sure sign of the times that even Big Bird has become political,” reads Akomplice’s statement about the impetus behind the image. “PBS isn’t wasteful government spending – it’s a public good. The same politicians who want to gut [it] would use the savings to give tax cuts to the rich, adding to the already dangerous concentration of wealth in the world’s top one percent. We’ll fight to keep the money on the streets, where it belongs, and to put knowledge in the hands of every citizen, not just the fortunate few.”
A second shirt concerning money and politics contains an image of signs that appeared at the Democratic National Convention this past September. Hand-written cardboard signs with “Take $$$ out of politics,” and “Don’t fall asleep yet” appear on the front of the shirt.
Patrick, who grew up in Carbondale with his brother Mike, said it’s easy for young people to become frustrated about the political process. He said watching the recent presidential debates left him “disgruntled.”
“Here we are watching two dudes yelling at each other,” he said. “They’re not following the same rules and regs that high school debate teams have to follow.
Still, Patrick said he and his brother wanted to make a statement about the election and its aftermath.
“We want people to know that our generation does care,” he said.
The brothers’ parents are Mary and Steve McCarney. Mary owned and operated Planted Earth for years, and Steve was one of the founders of Solar Energy International.
Besides the political projects, Akomplice has recently released a new clothing line. Akomplice is available in 22 countries and 200 retailers. On television, Akomplice has appeared on everything from ESPN to HBO. The McCarney brothers’ graphic designs are popular with Carbondale local and X Games medalist Peter Olenick, skateboard legends Tony Hawk and Tony Alva, Snoop Dog, Carmelo Anthony, and the boys on the TV series “Entourage.”
Akomplice’s Big Bird and politics/money T-shirts are available, as well as the designers’ other projects, at akomplice-clothing.com.