Art by Vidushi Goel

Creative Activism: We Are One

By Alixandra Rutnik on Sep 23, 2021

We Are One artists and designers discuss their work


Earlier this year, in response to a disturbing rise in discrimination, hostility, and violence against Asians — concurrent with the social upheaval sparked by the murder of George Floyd — we at The One Club for Creativity launched a creative initiative called We Are One. Partnering with OUTFRONT Media, our goal was to invite our community to design digital posters that showcase their talents while giving voice to a need for support and solidarity both within our industry and the world at large.

The response from our community has been overwhelming, with submissions coming in from all over the world. A committee of One Club Board Members curated a selection of posters, which you can see in our online gallery. Many of these have been featured on our social media channels, and some will even be showcased on billboards across the country.

We had a quick discussion with a handful of the artists whose creations of love, strength, and unity have been selected to appear on OUTFRONT billboards: Wei Su; graphic designer and illustrator; Diego Fernández Brun; graphic designer; Tomato Košir, visual designer; and Vidushi Goel, designer.


We are living in a very challenging world these days, so what does a campaign like We Are One mean to you?

Wei Su: The We Are One campaign is a great reminder to all of us about what is right and wrong in life. It shows us what we really need to do especially in a difficult, hostile time like now.

How do we continue to push back against hate?

Constant education about mutual respect and sympathy is the key to reduce and eliminate hate in our societies.

"Constant education about mutual respect and sympathy is the key to reduce and eliminate hate in our societies."

 

 

What inspired your art for the We Are One campaign?

Overall I was inspired by the unjust and unkind incidents that have happened in society.

Both of your posters were chosen to go up on billboards. How did you land on these unique ideas?

The “meat grinder” idea is inspired by a common, recognizable cooking object in our daily life. By replacing the word “HATE” where the meat would go and churning it into tiny hearts, it creates an unusual meaning. It catches people’s attention, because it turns an ordinary object that we are familiar with into something completely different.

The “face rope” idea is inspired by human races and the power of solidarity. For example, people in the USA and Canada come from so many different backgrounds, and most of us can live and work with each other harmoniously. This is a vital reason why our nations as a whole are so strong and rich.

 

 

When someone sees your poster on a billboard, what do you hope they take away from your art?

I hope the audience can understand the positive message of my posters and share it with their families, friends, and coworkers.

How would you describe your artistic style?

The style of my work is usually idea-driven, graphic, and neat. My art oftentimes conveys messages that are thought-provoking and related to things happening in reality.

As a graphic designer and an illustrator what are some of your go-tos to get in the creative mindset? 

Studying the topic and problem carefully first is crucial for coming up with an idea or solution. News from different sources and social media are my go-to to get inspiration.

What is the next art project that you are working on?

My next art project is about what life will look like after the coronavirus pandemic.

SUWEIWORKS


Why is We Are One important to our industry?

Diego Fernández Brun: These campaigns are very important to open the eyes of humanity. We work in an industry where our daily work focuses on giving clear messages to incite, change or accelerate people's thinking about something– usually about products or services.

But what if we also use our knowledge and tools for something much more important? I hope that in the near future, these kinds of campaigns will be included in our daily work. Our industry has the power, tools and knowledge to accelerate this mindset change process for many people.

If we understand that humanity is presented in different forms, genders and colors but that in essence we are the same, we are one, we could face together the real problems that affect humanity such as climate change or inequality among us. Together we are much stronger.

What does this poster mean to you?

Creating this campaign was like a therapy session for me. It was the opportunity to download hundreds of feelings and thoughts that I carry within me onto a blank canvas. I just had to find the how and decide which of all the arguments that I bring up against racism could help to open people's eyes more.

"Creating this campaign was like a therapy session for me. It was the opportunity to download hundreds of feelings and thoughts that I carry within me onto a blank canvas."

 

 

And it was like peeling an onion. At first, I thought the solution was to try to change someone's racist mindset. But then I realized, that first, I had to help to open their eyes to the millions of people who accept racism in many things they do in their day-to-day– get them out of their comfort zone and let them think and act accordingly.

And that is what I want people to achieve with this piece: to think about their lives and about others, so that you feel a little uncomfortable in your comfort zone and that you join in the change.

How would you describe your artistic style?

It is a very simple art, but it forces you to bond in order to understand the whole of the message. It is not only a visual resource, but rather a trigger to move the neurons and to take home the task of thinking about how their life is compared to the lives of other people.

How do you stay motivated or get inspired?

My motivation and inspiration are always the reality of change. In everything I do, I always think about whether it will change my life or the life of others in a positive way. It moves me to positively change my life and try to impact positively the life of others. I want to leave my son a much better world than the one we live in now. I don't mean better technology, I mean an improved, more empathetic and more committed humanity.

What is the next art project that you are working on?

I am working on the brand development of my wife's venture that focuses on creating wellness and yoga retreats that combine the integrated knowledge of two women, to co-create unique experiences that unite body, mind and spirit.

They are deeply healing retreats based on healthy living, ritual, and the subconscious mind, carried out with integrity in stunning natural settings, allowing you to connect with the magic of the world we live in. I love supporting small local businesses run by women.

Like racism, gender inequality suffers from the same invisibility. So whatever I can do to open the eyes of humanity, I will do it with all my energy.

IG: diego_fernandez_brun


What does We Are One project mean to you?

Tomato Košir: It's time to engage ourselves in multiple social causes. Our profession allows us to be of service not only to our clients and their products, but also to broader agendas. People read less, and shorter texts. Constant daily disruptions and the cacophony of unrefined opinions further degrade even those beneficial messages that are actually received. Visual communication has tools allowing us quicker access to the brain then text or audio. If the message is designed properly, it can be properly decoded, become memorable, and affect us and our actions.

"If the message is designed properly, it can be properly decoded, become memorable, and affect us and our actions."

The “We are One” campaign expands our individual reach. It is a rare case of a professional event that isn't just for patting each others’ backs to make ourselves feel good. We have felt good and complacent for too long, and have allowed ourselves to go partially blind. Now we have to serve to the best of our abilities. Every little contribution stacks up and makes our society just a bit better

What does this puzzle piece mean to you?

Most of all I hope what the puzzle piece conveys to me, also conveys to the general public. Design isn't like art, which can be interpreted in ways perhaps unintended by the author. It has to be focused on conveying our message clearly. We complement each other. We are one. That is the message that got lost, and that is the missing piece to peace.

"We complement each other. We are one. That is the message that got lost, and that is the missing piece to peace."

What message does your art send?

Whenever design is in fact art is an ongoing topic in our profession. That being said, I believe that the term ‘art’ in graphic design can only be used in terms of choosing the design so masterfully that the message hits that elusive target somewhere in the amygdala. That is what I consider art in design.

As a designer what are some of your go-tos to get in the creative mindset?

To be useful is what inspires me. I know there is a design solution to most communication problems. It doesn't matter who are you working for, be it The Guardian, The Ministry of Culture, Weissenseer's Wooden Houses, etc. if the brief is clear, I can answer it. Our profession can answer it.

What is the next design project that you are working on?

Currently I am working on a couple of corporate visual identities and visual comments for newspapers and magazines, and organizing the 18th TypeClinic type design workshop.

TOMATOKOSIR.COM


We are living in turbulent times, so how does We Are One as a campaign speak to you?

Vidushi Goel: Creative activism like We Are One allows creatives like me to create innovative art and propel social change solutions for a diverse, often underserved audience. Such campaigns are a testament to the times and the cultural zeitgeist, that capture the challenges of our generations.

How do we continue to push back against hate?

To continue pushing back against hate we should craft more opportunities that empower voices and expressions of change to support the cultural movements. This will not only help to drive discussions through a larger contextual lens, but also overpower the regressive ideas on diversity and inclusion.

What inspired your art decisions for the We Are One campaign?

My submission statement was “Choose acceptance over ignorance. Choose empathy over hate. Choose life over blood. Choose humanity over race.” This statement encapsulates the meaning of We Are One for me.

Any physical feature or classification which may make us different, be it race, color, sexual orientation, disability, appearance, language, or any belief that makes one person different from another, shouldn't become a point of the divide to give way to hate. Instead, these dissimlatrities should be acknowledged, accepted, and respected to eradicate violence.

The artwork symbolizes the points of similarities that make us one – we all bleed the same, we’re a part of the same human species, and we’re made the same with one heart, brain, and soul. I would like my audience to see that we’re all equals and each human life holds the same value.

"The artwork symbolizes the points of similarities that make us ONE – we all bleed the same, we’re a part of the same human species, and we’re made the same with one heart, brain, and soul."

 

 

How would you describe your artistic style?

I would define my style as modern, abstract, and sometimes bold. I do believe that less is more and I leave my work open to interpretation. My art style stems from fine arts – painting and drawing. A lot of my conceptualization starts on a canvas or paper, which I transform into digital art.

What message does your art send?

So far in my practice, I have explored subjects like global warming, female infanticide, economic inequality, and mental health using different mediums. Through these subjects, I have tried to commit my voice to underserved people in hopes of creating more awareness amongst viewers and bringing representation to the affected.

As an artist what are some of your go-tos to get in the creative mindset?

As an astute observer of cultural movements, design, and media, I like keeping abreast with current events– my cross-continental experiences feed my creative abilities.

Living in New York City, I took the time to indulge in experiential art, installations, and design experiences, whenever I could, which expanded my imaginations. I came across new designers, artists, and art styles that pushed me to experiment with my own craft.

Sometimes making art is just about calling it a day and sometimes it is the need to share the unique voices of my target audiences. Either approach gets me in my creative mindset, organic or strategic. Allowing myself to be provoked, seeing the scope of creativity or fun in a task, collecting new experiences and just doing something for myself are all reasons that motivate me to let my creative mind grow.

Looking at design precedents is another way I keep myself motivated to create regularly. I derive a lot of inspiration from creators like Yayoi Kusama, James Turrel, Damien Hirst, Ann Marie Coolick, Jessica Walsh, Stefan Sagmeister, Michael Bierut, Veronica Fuerte, Gabby Lord, and many more whose work I follow. Research and learning is definitely a stimulus for me to keep innovating and competing as an artist.

What is the next art project that you are working on?

Currently, I am working on completing a project on global warming inspired by all the climatic changes we are witnessing. I created this abstract knife painting that I am turning into digital art. It is going to be a mixed media project made in five parts, which I cannot wait to showcase on my new website going live at the end of the year.

VIDUSHIGOEL.COM


Take a look at ALL the artists and designers whose works were selected for our Creative Activism campaign: WE ARE ONE.

WE ARE ONE ART GALLERY

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