The past couple of months have been almost as chaotic for me personally as they have been for the country. Almost.
My father passed away suddenly in December and my mom, who is more fierce than anyone knows, has had so much to deal with over the last several weeks that I don’t think she’s fully processed his passing. Since he died, I’ve been straddling two households so I can be there for her, bringing my work back and forth because I don’t want to lose the opportunities that have opened up for me over the past year. I spend my time these days packing and unpacking, doing laundry and grocery shopping, visiting doctors and illustrating, tossing, turning and worrying, and feeling grateful for a whole bunch of good things in the midst of all the challenges.
Which is a long way of saying that life is a messy (brutal, confusing, beautiful, love-filled) business, and all too often, the best and the worst of times aren’t easily teased apart but happen simultaneously in one big, stupid, glorious free-for-all.
So it is that over the last few months, I’ve re-learned the healing power of art, especially the art I make not because I’ve committed to it professionally, but because it expresses my heart and soul.
In November, heartbroken over the results of the presidential election, I wrote a post about how we move on. In that post, I shared a list of things I’d be doing in protest, and in support of a more inclusive, equal, just, compassionate and kind America. One of the things on my list was to “be an artist – because art heals, because the world needs more beauty and truth, because art is how I pray.”
Which is how my protest art was born.
All of these pieces are now available as 4×6 postcards, in two thicknesses, which are perfect for sending to your representatives, if you’re so inclined. :)
On Facebook recently, a friend questioned the phrase, “the future is female,” saying that it made her a little uncomfortable and she wondered if it was exclusive. She suggested “The future is human” as an alternative.
I understand her concerns, but in my mind, answering the question of equality with “the future is human” is a little like answering “black lives matter” with “all lives matter.” Of course, an ideal future is one in which there is balance and equality for all genders and gender identifications. But men – especially straight, white men – are not the ones who have been oppressed in our culture. They are now, and have always been, the ones in power, the ones who decide what has value in our society. When I see the phrase “The future is female” it feels empowering. It envisions a world in which women’s voices are given equal weight as men’s, and women’s rights really are human rights. (Another phrase that could make men feel excluded, but shouldn’t.) And, to be clear, I would feel equally inspired by “the future is brown” (or non-binary, or gender fluid).
I believe in the power of art to effect change almost as much as I believe in the power of love. I created this protest art from a place of love, and a belief that we are our best (most patriotic) selves when we are peaceful, respectful, and absolutely unafraid to rise up and resist.
I hope you are inspired by it.