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August 19, 2022

“I take one everywhere I take my PENIS!!” – Art Chantry Posters, 1993

In 1993, commissioned as a pro-bono project by Cole and Weber, a Seattle-based advertising agency, Art Chantry was asked to design a print campaign promoting condom use among gays, women and minority groups. The campaign was ultimately distributed by Washington State Department of Health and Social Services.

Chantry’s design work has become synonymous with the use of vernacular pictorial references that are drawn from technical and instruction manuals and cheap illustrations from the 1950s and 1960s. This use of visual and textual language is targeted to a specific audience, in particular young people who may feel disaffected by official government warnings on the subject.

‘Penis Cop’, an offset litho-printed in three colors, takes the image of a policeman from a public information poster and reworks the message into a humorous instructional on the use of condoms to prevent the spread of sexual disease. The headline, “I take one everywhere I take my penis”, implies a direct voice of authority, and is specifically designed to relay a very serious message in an amusing and ironic manner. The poster was hung in public restrooms, saunas and corporate offices, and in Chantry’s words, “those locations where sexual activity might take place.”

The poster was intended for a gay male audience, but it drew so much attention that Playboy Magazine asked permission to feature it in its Forum section in 1996. Public Health expressed concern that publication outside the intended arena (Seattle’s Gay Pride Parade) might jeopardize the program and would serve no legitimate public health purpose. Playboy editors chose to feature the poster regardless, with a jab at local politics.

The companion poster. “I have something for you” portrays two heterosexual couples—a Caucasian couple and an African-American couple—each promoting the use of condoms as the smart and sexy thing to do.


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