We can make art.
One of the most profound things about art is that it allows us to imagine new futures for ourselves. In times of great moral crisis—for example, now—art has the capacity to give hope and sustenance. I am convinced that this is one of the reasons our work as creatives is so often dismissed. Far from frivolous, art can become a weapon of mass destruction aimed at the power structures designed to maintain systems of oppression.
I’m not just talking about abstract art that exists on the fringes of society either. I’m talking about mainstream art, commercial art, and freelance art. I’m talking about the ways our creative decisions influence cultural narratives and norms. From using stock photography that’s made up of diverse identities to incorporating inclusive language into ghostwriting without being asked, there are a multitude of ways to disrupt and redistribute power in our creative work.
I am also talking about making art that imagines the future through vivid stories. Whether in writing, film, illustration or other medium, we have the ability to show others the world we’re hoping for. What’s more, we can collaborate with others to co-create these stories and make them all that more complex and deep. As creatives, we have the unique ability to make something from nothing, including the future that we want to live into.
I understand that this can feel scary at first, especially if your ideas would be described as radical. And I promise you that we are hungry for your art however radical it may be. We are looking for catharsis and a way forward and we need you to share your vision with us. We need to hear as many stories as possible that affirm that a different future is possible. One that restores our humanity and the humanity of our oppressors.
There is no room for fear. The art you are creating, the stories you are telling, are bigger than you or I. In this way, I hope you find the courage to throw yourself into making your art. Not as a martyr but as someone who is deeply invested in cracking open the lies that are crushing us. You still get to take care of yourself; you still get to be well. And we still need you to share your ideas with us. As a priority; without rushing and with urgency.
If you must first access financial wellbeing in order for this to be possible, that’s okay. That is your first step. Then, please make your art. Even if it is rough around the edges. Even if it could use some work. However powerless you feel about what’s happening in our world right now, the antidote to your anxiety is to create. This is how I am responding; this is how the folx in my creative community are responding. Please join us. We need you.
So, what futures are you imagining through your art?