Beehive Collective

beehive“The True Cost of Coal” (current graphic campaign)

and other Beehive Collective campaigns:

“The Free Trade Area of the Americas”


“Biodevastation and BioJustice”

“Plan Colombia”

October 2-30, 2010

Opening Reception:

First Saturday Gallery Crawl: October, 2010; 6-9pm



Learn and See more, Order and Download Posters and Book the Bees!

Additional Local Events:

In Nashville:

1. Friday Oct 22 at the Little Hamilton Collective at 7:30pm (addy: 1318

Little Hamilton Ave)

2. Wednesday Oct 20th at Vanderbilt in Buttric 101

Close by:

3. Thursday Oct 21 at Middle TN State U in Murfreesboro, at 6pm in

BAS State Farm Room

4. At the Farm School on Thursday Oct 24 at 10 am

Beehive Collective’s Artist Statement:

The Beehive Design Collective is an a wildly-motivated, all volunteer, activist-art collective dedicated to “cross-pollinating the grassroots” by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images for use as educational and organizing tools. We work anonymously as word-to-image translators of complex global stories, gathered and shared through first hand conversations with affected communities. The Hive then works to literally put the whole story on one page by turning the stories into visual metaphors that function as a unified narrative.

In the process of this effort we seek to take the “who made that!?” and “how much does it cost!?” out of our creative endeavors, recognizing that the graphics are the result of much more than a simple drawing process and includes the efforts of many. From folks impacted by the policies we examine, to the researchers and advisors who help us along the way, to translators and community activists, a single graphic is the collaborative effort of an entire network. We only build, and disseminate these visual tools with the hope that they will self-replicate, and take on life of their own.

We distribute the graphics through out the Americas, entirely by grassroots, hand-to-and distribution. Each year our little swarm presents narrative picture lectures and workshops that tackle issues from globalization, trade, and resource extraction to energy, biotechnology and climate change. A committed group of worker bees, we are working to create holistic, accessible and education images and spaces that inspire critical reflection and strategic action.

Over the years we have learned not to take the metaphor of the busy bee lightly as our work is often overwhelming, ambitions, organic, thrilling, challenging and always moving forward in a way that we never imagined!

The Free Trade Area of the Americas:

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)…never heard of it? That’s not surprising as it was a free trade package that was being negotiated behind closed doors by unelected trade ministers. Like the infamous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the FTAA was an international trade agreement that aimed to eliminate “barriers” to the free flow of money, goods and services across borders in the Western Hemisphere, excluding Cuba, in an attempt to create ONE huge, integrated web of “open markets.” Based on research of the impacts of NAFTA on the United States, Mexcio and Canada, this graphic representation of the FTAA illustrates the consequences of this network and exposes its threat to the well-being of all forms of life throughout the Americas.

This image is a map of interconnections, which allows the viewer a moment to find oneself in the bigger picture of the time in which we are now living. For although the FTAA officially fell apart as a unified “trade package” in 2003, the larger agenda of unifying all the markets in the Western Hemisphere continues on as countries make bilateral and regional trade agreements (such as CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement passed in 2005/06) year after year.

For a complete interpretation of the image, please read the accompanying narrative.

The True Costs of Coal:

Your light switch is connected to a human and ecological drama wreaking havoc on coalfield communities, folks downwind and downstream of coal-burning power plants, and all of us faced with catastrophic climate change. Half the electricity in the U.S. comes from burning coal, the dirtiest energy source on the planet.

In 2008, the Beehive Design Collective allied with Appalachian grassroots organizers fighting Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining, a practice which blasts mountains into moonscapes to fuel the ever-growing global demand for electricity. “The True Cost of Coal,” a visually stunning graphic multi-tool for activists and ordinary folks seeking real solutions to the worlds energy crisis.

We are all impacted by coal, and we all play a part in the system that demands coal as fuel. The Beehive’s Coal Campaign strives to help more people understand the true cost of our national energy choices and how we are all connected to this issue. This graphic also looks to the future, raising questions about resistance, regeneration, and remediation while celebrating stories of struggle from mountain communities. The “True Costs of Coal” challenges all of us who casually flip on a light switch to examine our own connections to MTR- and to think about what we can do to stop it from within our own communities.


The second poster made by the Collective, “The Puppeteer” graphic was designed in conjunction with the “Biodevastation” graphic in 2000 as outreach posters for the 4th Biodevastation conference in Boston.

Elaborating on the theme of bio-technology and the homogenization of our food supply through genetic engineering, “The Puppeteer” illustrates how this process is happening in almost every aspect of our lives today and who is pulling the strings. From the rampant construction of neighborhoods that look exactly the same, to massive industrial food production that limits our diets and destroys bio-diverse and irreplaceable ecosystems to the manufacture of our very desires and imaginations, the metaphor of “monoculture” extends beyond the “simple” tinkering of a genome.

This graphic was the first and last graphic where the Hive used humans as characters in the image to tell a story.

Biodevastation and BioJustice:

A series of outreach posters made for the Biodevastation counter- conference in Boston, a gathering of the grassroots against the BIO Engineering industry Annual Meeting.

As series of outreach posters made for the annual BioJustice conference in Boston. BioJusticeis a week long celebration of sustainable food and alternatives to corporate healthcare. It is being developed by a wide coalition of public interest groups, activists, farmers, scientists, and concerned citizens, working together in response to the biotechnology industry’s international convention. For more info, visit

Plan Colombia:

Produced in 2002 after a two month research trip in Ecuador, Colombia, and the United States, “Plan Colombia” illustrates the deeper impacts of the so-called “Drug War” in Colombia. Although officially billed as an aid package to the Colombian government (currently over 6 billion dollars in size) to fight the production and transportation of cocaine, the Hive found that Plan Colombia is in truth the most recent manifestation of the long history of colonialism in the region. “Plan Colombia” is a strong metaphor of the multi-faced destructive influences of U.S. foreign policy and corporate monoculture on a global scale. This graphic attempts to expose the “Drug War” as a smokescreen for the multinational corporate interests in the extraction of the rich biodiversity and natural resources of the Amazon and her peoples. It is an anti-war poster that speaks in the mythology of our times…the cancerous monomyth of corporate globalization and its antibodies of grassroots resistance. This story is told in “layers” to help the viewer experience the different aspects of an extremely complex and brutal situation. The mission was to give an illustrated explanation of not just the nightmare, but also to give weight to the inspiring stories of hope, courage, and struggles of those directly experiencing the impacts of Plan Colombia. The tools produce from this collaboration are being distributed as anti-copyright material for use in campaigns in both South and North America.

Learn and See more, Order and Download Posters and Book the Bees!


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