From Action Comes Hope
The phrase “From action comes hope” is my takeaway from listening to the Our Warm Regards episode “Apocalyptic Narratives, Climate Data, and Hope with Zeke Hausfather and Diego Arguedas Ortiz” hosted by Jacquelyn Gill, a paleoecologist at the University of Maine, and Ramesh Laungani, a biologist at Doane University. I took the vibrant Glowing Gone colors to illustrate this phrase and use my voice about taking action on climate.
The phrase made me think of the pollinator garden I planted in my backyard in 2016 to provide a Monarch waystation to assuage some of my climate anxiety. Climate change has been impacting Monarch migration and the milkweed they eat, and Monarchs happen to migrate right through my area in North Texas. This past summer (2020), I was filled with joy when I spotted Monarchs in my garden for the first time. My small action gave me glimmers of hope in the climate crisis.
From action comes hope!
This piece was painted for the Color Voice Expo, hosted by Bodypaint America.
Model: Anja Yamaji
Body Painter: Breanna Cooke
Cleanup for the Monarchs Mural
This container dumpster covered in Monarchs was painted for the City of Dallas “Murals on the Move” program, a joint project between the Office of Arts & Culture and the Office of Code Compliance. Each year, the city selects one artist to paint a mural on a 22 ft x 7ft steel dumpster. When complete, the dumpster is added to the Dallas Sanitation Department fleet and is transported on the back of a truck to pick up bulk trash all around the city on a daily basis.
The mural design is based on my experiences starting a pollinator garden in my backyard in 2016. Dallas is on the migration path for Monarch butterflies and climate change combined with habitat loss has severely impacted their numbers. Knowing that, I was thrilled when after a few years of growth, my garden finally attracted Monarch butterflies. Since then, I have included these butterflies in many of my art pieces as a vibrant, visual message about environmental protection.
The mural design is from the perspective is as if you are lying on your back looking at a sky full of Monarchs. My hope is that people who see the dumpster driving down the road will feel inspired to add pollinator-friendly plants to help these endangered insects.
I’ve designed some stickers and magnets to match the mural. Check them out in my online shop.
Say It With a Sticker
As an introvert and artist, I love using stickers and apparel as a way to spark conversations about climate change and voter advocacy. I’ve designed and illustrated a range of stickers, buttons, magnets, and printed apparel to make it a little easier to share what I’m passionate about.
However as an environmentalist, I know printed merch isn’t the perfect solution (yet) since it does create waste. Trust me when I say that I understand the internal conflict that comes with being an eco-minded artist!
I strive to make my work as eco-friendly as is feasible for my budget. I print small runs of smaller merch, I use print-on-demand for most of my apparel so it’s only manufactured when you order it (no excess inventory), and the supplier manufactures it in the facility closest to you to minimize shipping carbon emissions. The apparel in my coral reef collection is made in the USA to reduce emissions and is printed on polyester made from recycled bottles. All of my shipping materials are biodegradable or recyclable (exception is the print-on-demand stuff, I can’t control the packaging) and I pay for carbon offsets for stuff shipped directly from me. My postcards and paper products are printed on FSA-certified recycled paper with soy-based inks.
I’ve tested many different products that are more sustainably made (like stickers made from wood!), but they’re frequently far beyond my budget. My hope is that in the future, eco-minded materials, products, and manufacturing will be the norm, not the (more expensive) exception.
“…Humans should take a cue from the monkeys he studies. “We are told that individual action is the answer. Individual recycling, individual cutting back on consumption. But the cumulative effect of individual actions is a lie. You’ll never see a monkey defending a tree on its own. Male and female monkeys band together to defend it in groups. Collective action is the identifying characteristic of primates. They’re more cooperative than egotistical.”
Don’t Be Alone, Be Part of a Movement
This was painted for FIBOPA, the International Bodypainting Festival in Argentina. The theme was “ARDE – Fires in Latin America” and focused on all the various climate, agriculture, and real estate development factors that have contributed to intense forest fires in South America in 2020.
As I researched the fires in South America, I read an article in the Guardian: ‘Total destruction’: why fires are tearing across South America by Uki Goñi, Sam Cowie, and William Costa. I learned the sad news that fires in the Gran Chaco forest in Argentina have devastated the family groups of caraya monkeys (black-and-gold howlers) that Primatologist, Martin Kowalewski, studies.
A closing paragraph from Kowalewski in the article stood out to me about how the monkeys band together in groups to survive and how we humans could learn from them. It reminded me of Jane Fonda’s advice to climate activists during her interview on The Daily Show: “Don’t be alone, be part of a movement.”
In 2016 I was alone in my climate advocacy. Then I joined Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers and learned that the true power of the individual is in the group.
Model: Anja Yamaji
Body Painter: Breanna Cooke
Lobby Like It’s Hot with CCL
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) empowers everyday people to meet with their members of Congress and advocate for climate policies and solutions. As a contract graphic designer for CCL, I’ve designed a range of marketing graphics and merch for volunteers to use in their efforts.
Some of the newest designs bring some humor to the urgency of climate action with “Lobby like it’s hot,” because it’s definitely hot here on Earth!
Wear the Warming Stripes
Wear a message about climate change with the ‘warming stripes’ created by Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). They are visual representation of the change in global temperature over the past 100+ years (1850-2021). Each stripe represents the temperature that the world averaged over a year.
Warming stripes are licensed under CC BY 4.0. Details at showyourstripes.info
Many apparel products in this collection are made of recycled polyester and elastane, making it the closest I can get to an eco-friendly choice for print-on-demand products.
Be A Seed
This piece was for Living Art America’s North American Bodypainting Championships in 2017. It’s about the analogy of a seed and how even when we feel buried, if we reach out, we’ll find there are lots of other seeds supporting each other with their roots. When they all bloom at once, they can change the landscape.
The front was about my first year after joining Citizens’ Climate Lobby and how we were like this swarm of seeds, coming together as climate advocates in Washington DC. You can see the Capitol building in the background on her stomach.
The faces are some of the teens involved with Our Children’s Trust. It was a group of youth from across the U.S. who brought a lawsuit against the US government to secure the legal right to a safe climate and a healthy atmosphere for all present and future generations.
Body Paint: Breanna Cooke assisted by Anja Yamaji
Model: Emma Dubin
Photo: Bonnie Stanley Photography
Face of Change: Climate Solutions
This piece was for Living Art America’s North American Bodypainting Championships in 2016. It’s about changing the “face” or images of climate change from polar bears on icebergs, to innovation and solutions to address it. We can do this by supporting scientific discovery of solutions to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, while also embracing existing solutions (like wind and solar) to power greener cities.
Body Painter: Breanna Cooke
Model: Imani Kimbrough
Photo: Craig Shaffer
What the world needs now is: clean water
The theme of New York City Bodypainting Day in 2015 was “What the world needs now…”
My interpretation of the theme is: “What the world needs now is…clean water.” This was an outdoor and fast-paced event, so my design was intentionally simple and bold. The front focuses on the positives of clean water, while the back shows the negatives.