May 19 - 23 2014

"Freedom's On Me" Memorial Day Exhibition

Presented by FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

The FIDM Chapter
The Student Veterans of America
“Freedom’s On Me”
An Exhibition Honoring Memorial Day
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, OC Campus

Commemorating Memorial Day and fallen Iraq and Afghanistan U.S. Military Members, “Freedom’s On Me” marks the national day of observance with an exhibition of poster art featuring portraits of individual war heroes. The posters are reminiscent of the patriotic posters displayed in America’s downtown storefronts during World War II. The public is invited to meet the artist and see the exhibition, Tuesday, May 20, 2014, from 2:00 – 4:00pm, at the OC Campus of FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

The free-to-the-public exhibition will run through Friday, May 23, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY: Monday, May 19/Wednesday, May 21/Thursday, May 22, 9:00am – 6:30pm and Friday, May 23, 9:00am – 5:00pm. For an appointment, contact Jim Nemmert, 949-851-6200.

Poignantly recalling such vintage World War II posters as “Uncle Sam Wants You”, and “Rosie the Riveter”, Specialist Poto Leifi, US Army Reserve, the “Freedom’s On Me” Exhibition artist, veteran, and graduate of FIDM, will greet the public as he unveils the exhibition of his 12 poster art portraits of the fallen of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The exhibition will honor the fallen from all branches of the military. Three of the posters will honor fallen Orange County military members.

A California commercial artist – turned soldier, Poto Leifi thought US troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq should be honored in a way that celebrated their patriotism. Leifi started his poster project in late 2005, but his story begins on 9/11.

“After the 9/11 experience, work kind of lost its flavor,” he said. Leifi wanted to enlist, but colleagues persuaded him that age 34, was too old. Leifi stayed engaged with his busy freelance career, designing shoes for Sketchers footwear company, and creating vintage jazz posters for an art publisher. Then in 2005, U.S. soldiers at a coffee shop told him he wasn’t too old to join. A year later, at age 39, he was in basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Fired up about joining the military, Leifi searched the Internet for patriotic posters, but wasn’t thrilled with what he saw. With the help of some friends as models, he began to make new posters inspired by World War II vintage art.

Leifi was assigned as a multimedia illustrator to a military psychological operations unit in Kandahar province, a key front in the war in southern Afghanistan and designed the posters after-hours. When he created the first few posters, word spread, especially through meetings of Gold Star families, the military support organization. He continually has a backlog of requests.

The title of Leifi’s special art project “Freedom’s On Me” is a patriotic twist on the expression, “Drinks are on me.”

Student Veterans of America is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 as a result of the newly formed post 9/11 GI Bill. The SVA’s mission is to provide the needed resources, support and advocacy for student veterans to thrive in post-secondary education and beyond. Starting in 2008 with 20 chapters, the organization has grown to 750 plus chapters across America.
FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising has over 100 members in their chapter of Student Veterans of America.

Exhibition Information
Public Opening with the Artist: Tuesday, May 20, 2014; 2:00 – 4:00pm
Gallery Open to the Public: BY APPOINTMENT
Contact Jim Nemmert: 949-851-6200
Monday, May 19: 9:00am – 6:30pm
Wednesday, May 21: 9:00am – 6:30pm
Thursday, May 22: 9:00am – 6:30pm
Friday, May 23: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Admission Info


Dates & Times

2014/05/19 - 2014/05/23

Additional time info:


Location Info

FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

17590 Gillette Ave., Irvine, CA 92614