Jim Marshall's photographs of a coal mining family in Hazard, Kentucky, taken while he lived with them, says a lot with what it shows, which is a mother and two children huddled together in support of each other, but it says just as much with what it lacks. There is a conspicuous absence of material necessities and a father. I don't know whether the father was working in a coal mine when the photograph was taken or had potentially died young because of the health risks of working under dangerous conditions, but it is clear that the family is struggling and lacking.
In my illustration, I brought the figures of the family closer together to emphasize that love and support are essential to surviving hardship. My inclusion of news clippings about the perils and low wages of the coal mining industry are meant to illustrate the concept of 'Two Americas.' The America many of us like to believe in holds industrial power in high regard, but the less-talked-about America suffers from the low wages and health risks of that same industry.
--Shepard Fairey, April 2016