Like many artists I've spoken with, lately I've been reflecting on the intersections of my identity: as an American, a woman, a person of color, a teacher, an artist and an activist. The past few months have felt equally terrifying and inspiring. Even though, or maybe because the world feels so unpredictable, I've been making more and more (and more) art, without having to work all that hard to get to a place of creativity. The images simply appear fully formed in my brain. When I described this unusual-for-me process to a friend, she said, "So, then the hope is still in you, isn't it?" Yes, I guess it is. I'd forgotten it was there.
A few weekends ago, I went to a panel discussion at CoCA, with artists speaking about the connection between art and activism. Here's the advice that resonated with me most, that I'd like to share with you.
Jessica Sabogal said that the first thing she tells someone who wants to “join the revolution” is to drink a glass of water and get some sleep. With a long road ahead, you won’t be able to do any good if you burn out in the first two weeks.
Kamari Bright spoke about how each person in a resistance serves a role, and that she sees her role as providing inspiration to others through her art.
All of the artists saw activism as any action we do that helps us to speak truth about what matters to us. The act of using our talents to make and share our art (in whatever form it might take) is what makes us into leaders and activists.
As I strive to speak truth and hope, ideas of home and belonging have begun to fuel my paintings. One of the most recent pieces was an image I chased late into the night until I could get it out on paper in one go. 100% of the proceeds from this piece, my "Nevertheless, she persisted" illustration, will be donated to the ACLU.
I've been so pleased with the response to this piece so far, and am grateful that it can serve as a way to support an organization doing the hard work while providing a bit of hope to everyone who has purchased these art prints and mugs.
I hope you have a wonderful day, full of hope and peace.