Everything starts with a single action and even the smallest act has an impact. I believe this to be true in life, in art, in creating change.
IT ALL STARTED
with a single stroke on canvas. Then every day, for the next 100 days, another one was added. Some days it was a splatter or bold line, others it was an imprint or tiny blob. Stroke by stroke, action by action, layer by layer, this piece began forming and evolving until the final hundredth day! Throughout the process I had absolutely no idea what the finished piece would look like. Every time I’d predict how a stroke would end up, I was proven completely wrong lol. It was full of pleasant surprises! But when I look at the completed canvas, it feels like every drop of paint is exactly where it should be.
I also see a correlation between the shapes and textures to all the actions we have taken in our lives, the memories created, the experiences that have shaped us, the imprints made in our minds and hearts.
Some people and events are like the bold dark strokes. Others are beautifully delicate. And then there are memories and experiences we don’t remember anymore, but it’s there—buried underneath, like layers of paint.
The 100 days of painting began on January 31st and ended on May 10th. During this time, I read headline after headline about racism, hate crimes, mass shootings, senseless acts of violence and brutality; I read too many names belonging to people whose lives were cut short and lost too soon. And this was all happening during a worldwide pandemic that just added more fuel to the fire. It made me feel sad, scared, helpless, and sometimes hopeless.
In the midst of all this, I happened to see an Instagram story talking about Hollaback!’s 5 D’s of Bystander Intervention and through that, learned about the free virtual training workshops Hollaback! offers. They teach you how to respond to harassment in public spaces, both as a bystander and as someone who is experiencing it. I decided to sign up for one.
Right from the beginning of our workshop, I felt comforted by our moderators, Dax and Marita, as well as the 1600 ish people who were also on this training and maybe felt the same things I did and wanted to do something about it. As it ended, I felt more knowledgeable and prepared. This training reminded me in many ways of how much our actions truly matter, that it can affect the people and world around us, and that taking action can strengthen and empower us–as individuals and as communities.
When I started my painting, there were no preconceived ideas of what it would mean or look like. I didn’t know what would be happening in this world and how I’d feel. But somehow, the idea of taking action seems to be the theme that ties it all together: taking action to create, to learn, to change, to connect.
From my hands and heart to yours, I share with you Connect II – Taking Action, a limited edition 11×14 art print that will give back to Hollaback!
The original painting is black, white, and grey acrylic on canvas and was created using a variety of tools including brushes, chopsticks, my hand, sandpaper, makeup sponge, my friend’s finger, string, paper, leaves, rocks, bubble wrap, Valentine’s paw, and even a waffle :) Here are a few videos documenting the process: Valentine’s paw, my hand, the first 50 strokes including the waffle, and as many of the 100 strokes as I could fit in 30 seconds (don’t forget to have the sound on / click the speaker icon for optimal viewing!)
Each art print also comes with two 5″x7″ interactive calligraphy prints inspired by the theme. They are created from my original brush lettering and are finished with hand painted details making each one is unique. Finish the sentence by filling in the space then hang it up as a gentle reminder and affirmation to take action towards your dreams and goals. The second one is meant to be shared with a loved who may also enjoy filling one out and having this reminder.
The limited edition art print is currently available for pre-order (this helps to make the process efficient and less wasteful for myself and the printers) and will be retired when the above goal is reached.
The calligraphy print is also available on its own, in 2 different sizes.
ART FOR A CAUSE
$10 from every print will be donated to Hollaback! to support the important work they are doing to end harassment and violence in its many different forms.
I have a goal to find homes for 60 of these prints because this will provide Hollaback! with 1 month of their video conferencing platform so that they can train up to 3,000 people at one time. They average 50 training sessions per month! I can’t emphasize how valuable the resources they provide are (I highly recommend signing up for one or several workshops!) and how they keep it accessible by making them free.
I hope looking at Connect II inspires you to take action, that it can serve as a gentle reminder when you need it that you have it within you to take that first step–whatever that may mean to you and whatever that may look like. And that one small act can lead to another and another and another. Maybe one day you’ll look back and reflect on the 100 strokes you’ve created too.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU
to Lindsay Jean Thomson for hosting the 100 Day Project which inspired me to make this painting, Jean Wang for sharing the 5 D’s in her stories, the amazing folks at Hollaback!, Cherise for suggesting I use a waffle, everyone who gave me awesome suggestions on what random objects to paint with, Faith who is the only other human who created a stroke on this piece, and to Valentine who let me use her paw. Without all of these people (and one pup) and their actions, Connect II wouldn’t exist as it does today.