Artist and activist Kenny Cole on Monroe will speak Monday, Feb. 22 at Waterfall Arts Belfast, 256 High St. The 7 p.m. talk is part of Waterfall Arts’ monthly series of Artist Lectures.

Cole will talk about his personal evolution as a political artist, showing images he has made over the past decade. He said his politics involve a struggle to account for the scale and breadth of military investiture worldwide. His imagery is often laden with information, statistics and language appropriated or invented and rendered in ink or paint as hand-drawn text. This language, Cole said, is both visual and functional.

“I believe that we are often overwhelmed by information that we cannot fully retain and art seems to me to be a unique device that is capable of retaining information in a way that is wonderfully digestible,” he said.

In addition to text, he includes vibrant and brushy colored flags, bunting and cartoon-like clouds, all intended to reference the pageantry that symbolically prefaces and heightens the acceptability of military ventures.

Cole received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Pratt Institute in New York and has shown his work at galleries and museums in New York and Maine. Cole and artist Natasha Mayers of Whitefield organized a Draw-A-Thon in Bath and a Draw-In at the State House in Augusta. These art events are part of a 90-day political campaign, organized by the Brunswick-based Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space to raise awareness about the portion of Maine taxpayers’ money used to finance the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cole’s work can be seen in two exhibitions this winter, “Awash in Gouache” at the Water Closet Gallery at Mad Girl World in Portland; and “Food For Thought 2” at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast. He also is a mentor in Waterfall Arts’ 2010 Branching Out program. For more information about his work and to see more images, visit kennycole.com.

The lecture series at Waterfall Arts, now in its eighth year, features engaging and inspiring presentations by regionally and nationally recognized artists, poets, big thinkers, writers and art historians, followed by lively discussions. Admission is $7 at the door, free for high school and college students. For more information, call 338-2222 or visit waterfallarts.org.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.