For 20 years, Rini Templeton made drawings of activists in the United States, Mexico and Central America while she joined them in their meetings, demonstrations, picket lines and other actions for social justice. She called her bold black-and-white images "xerox art" because activists and organizers could copy them easily for use in their banners, signs, leaflets, newsletters, even T-shirts, whenever needed.
Her drawings also included workers, women and children, celebrations, scenes of town and country, many images from daily life. In all her work you can feel a unity with grassroots people across national and racial lines. She almost never signed a drawing, out of typical modesty. As a result, her style is widely recognized but her name is not.
Two years after she died in Mexico in 1986, Rini's work was published in a bilingual book in the U.S. (Real Comet Press, Seattle) and Mexico (Centro de Documentación Gráfica Rini Templeton). Entitled The Art of Rini Templeton: Where There is Life and Struggle/El Arte de Rini Templeton: Donde hay vida y lucha, the U.S. editorial coordinator was Elizabeth (Betita) Martinez. The Mexican team included 5 editors from the Punto Crítico magazine collective together with a production coordinator. All had worked with Rini extensively.
With the book out of print, it was decided to continue making her work available through this web-site. Rini's sister, Lynne Brickley, made that possible with generous support.
You will find 600 drawings here, organized by theme, with brief texts in English explaining the story behind each set of drawings. There is also a short biography about Rini. Photos of her sculptures, done before she switched to graphic work, are not included here nor are the many reminiscences of Rini written by friends and co-workers for the book.
In the spirit of Rini Templeton's life and work, activists serving causes that Rini would have supported are invited to use drawings freely in their leaflets, newsletters, banners and picket signs or for similar non-commercial purposes. Those wishing to use drawings in the production of an item for sale, such as a book, should write to the Rini Templeton Memorial Fund, c/o Elizabeth Martinez, 3545 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. A reasonable fee will be asked, to help maintain this web-site.
Donations are always welcome and can be mailed to that same address. Please send a copy of the item in which a drawing is used, such as a leaflet or newsletter, to the above address. It will be greatly appreciated. Ten years after Rini's death, the DataCenter in Oakland hosted a wonderful exhibit with dozens of items in which her drawings had been utilized since she died. We plan to do another in the future and would welcome your examples. Thank you. As Rini often closed her letters - Love and Venceremos.