I remember waking up that morning in November and reading a group text message from my friend, "It happened." I cried in my bed and then had to explain to my mom why I was so upset and terrified about the election results. Over the next few months, every conversation was about some shitty thing Trump did or didn't do. I feel privileged to say that I don't remember the last time the entire country felt so angry, divided, and fearful. Before heading to the Women's March in D.C., I spontaneously illustrated a few poignant quotes from strong women. They were colorful and straightforward, but somehow still powerful. Most importantly, I had fun creating them.
Out of sheer frustration and hopelessness about the political climate in the U.S., I decided to pursue a personal project celebrating women for Women's History Month in March. I was sick of being surrounded by negativity and wanted to contribute something positive to the world. As a type-A lady who has to-do lists and religiously lives by her calendar, this project was relatively unplanned. I sent a call out to friends, family, and collaborators to answer the question, "Who is your shero?"
Up to this point, most of my creative work had been primarily analog and black and white. Black acrylic ink markers were home for me. I wanted to challenge myself outside my comfort zone, so I spent a weekend having fun in illustrator and using the Adobe Creative Cloud app on my phone.
I'm not one to pace myself, so naturally, I pushed myself off the deep end by challenging myself to use over sixty individual colors. There wasn't a single color I used twice in the thirty-two illustrations I created for the project. If something scares me, I try to face it head on, sometimes dangerously so. This creative experiment helped me gain confidence in using color in my designs and illustrations. Previously, I would hesitantly pick colors and avoid any muddy, gross hues, but now, I'm able to embrace the potential for every color combination. The stranger the pairing, the more I gravitate towards it. I was super excited anytime someone complimented the colors because that was the most challenging aspect of the project for me, besides getting enough people to participate in my project!
Another challenge I struggled with was physically completing the project because I wanted to share one drawing a day during Women's History Month on my Instagram. On average I had twelve-hour long work days working as a designer while commuting from Manhattan to NJ. Because this project was so spontaneous, I didn't plan out when I would create or share the work on my Instagram. Some days, I would rush back home after a long work day and stay up late to complete the drawing because I didn't want to miss a day. As much as I wish I had more time to reflect and create, I think the lack of time prevented me from overthinking. This whole project was a bit of a creative experiment for me (as most passion projects are). Before this project, it had been many months since I pursued another personal project. Despite the exhaustion and frustration, I felt the creative spark within me come back to life and I found the joy in creating again.