Art has forever communicated struggle, political movements and humanity to an audience that may not otherwise see it. Artist TJ Templeton carries on this tradition with his new solo exhibit at Petshop Gallery, Youthful Commodities focusing on the all-too-recent practice of child labor in America’s history.

A combination of assemblages, encaustics and printmaking tell a story of the children who built our country by sacrificing their childhoods and the activists who spent their lives working to change that. Templeton utilizes public domain photographs from Lewis Hine in his pieces as a fitting tribute.

To further illustrate their labor, Templeton works in mass production methods including making hundreds of sardine cans for his Cannery Kids project himself in his studio. Adding the children’s images to the cans puts faces to the product they were exploited to help create.

Youthful Commodities opens November 4 at Petshop Gallery, 2725 N 62nd St and runs through December 31. For more information, visit or

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