fbpx
Connect with us

Spotlight

Meet Lea Chen, a Young Entrepreneur Breaking the Model Minority Myth Through Fashion

Published

on

Lea Chen with dark hair wearing a yellow dress with tattoos on her arms,  standing in front of a brown brick building.
Source: Lea Chen

Asian style has been known worldwide for its unique designs and patterns in its heritage way.

It has recently been the center of attention, both positively and negatively, the former being due to the rise of K-pop and the popular Chinese street fashion TikToks, and the latter being the appropriation of Asian culture (specifically the fox eye trend and Kim Kardashian’s maang tikka).

However, there are still very few Asian designers present in mainstream Western fashion. This is possibly due to the “model minority myth” — a phenomenon that has boxed Asian Americans into solely professional careers. 

BLENDtw had the opportunity to interview Lea Chen, the CEO of the e-commerce apparel brand AA BATTERIES, which prides itself on being a brand that is “for and by Asian Americans.”

The recent Wharton Business School graduate said that the journey leading to the creation of this passion project was not an easy one. However, the result of this tough journey was a company that will make a difference in mainstream media.

Tell us about the name “AA BATTERIES.” What does it represent?

The “AA” part represents Asian Americans. I actually started this brand four years ago in college, and I only recently rebranded it to AA BATTERIES in the end of March.

That was when I wanted to do something very focused on the Asian American community. This is coming from someone who didn’t really feel pride in her identity growing up.

I feel like I didn’t see designs that were reflective of our culture and heritage. I wanted something that was not only representative of us, but that fueled us and made us feel proud — that recharged us, essentially.

I think it was perfect because I knew I wanted “AA” or “AAPI” in the name to represent us as Asian Americans. On top of that, AA batteries are already a thing, and I wanted a brand that really energized our community.

How did your relationship with your AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) identity evolve into what it is today? 

I grew up in Edison, New Jersey. Though I’m fortunate to have grown up around a bunch of Asian Americans (for context: my high school was 80 percent Asian), I resented my Asian American identity during my childhood.

When I was a little kid, I would ask my parents if they were sure that I was one hundred percent Chinese. “Are you sure I’m not, like, Irish or Spanish or anything else?” Growing up in Edison, I always felt labeled as “just another Chinese girl.” I had expectations set on me, and I didn’t always fit into them.

I think when I went to college, my relationship with my identity changed. I met people who grew up in a very different background than me. They had grown up in very White towns and had always longed to meet other folks from the AAPI community. 

I think it really opened my eyes to feel more grateful for the town I grew up in. It helped meeting some really creative Asian Americans who really wanted to make an impact and do something different.

My journey started with me growing up in Edison not really loving being Asian American, then me going to college and really educating myself about the community and really loving it.

You started with Lovelea. What made you want to create your own apparel brand that focuses on Asian American representation? 

When I first started out, I was running on the adrenaline of “Oh, it’s so exciting to run a clothing brand, regardless of the name or how cohesive the designs look.”

That was really exciting and it did teach me a lot, but it came to a point, maybe about a year and a half in, where it kind of reached this stagnant point.

It was at this time when I was looking back, or just sitting back and looking at the brand and thinking, “You know, what is this brand really about? I’m not super passionate about it, so how can I expect other people to be interested in it?” 

It’s really an investment of a brand and a mission that they believe in. So if I’m asking that of people and I don’t really even see the value of the company, I don’t expect anyone else to support it.

I had that moment where I just needed to reset this whole entire thing. And so I thought about, like, “what am I super passionate about?” and “where is there a gap?” 

I know a bunch of Asian American illustrators and designers and creatives just from personal relationships and digital groups. A lot of people are so talented in this community, but either they don’t really pursue it seriously or they just see it as a hobby.

They don’t necessarily think they can make money off of it.

Since rebranding, I’ve been way more invested, excited, passionate, and fulfilled by the brand, but I also see the community response increasing and that’s equally, if not more, important to me.

A white sweater with a green bottle on it lays on a green, yellow, and white background.
Source: Lea Chen

As you know, there are hardly any Asian American creative entrepreneurs in mainstream media. This is possibly due to the fact that the Asian American community encourages stable professional careers such as medicine, law, and engineering.

Did your family have any hesitations with the idea of you pursuing a career in the fashion industry? 

I think the biggest hurdles were sort of those external comments. I remember I would go to these Asian family parties, and we would go down the line and each kid would go down the line and say what we’re interested in.

I would always say that I’m interested in fashion and business, and other parents would just kind of raise an eyebrow and look at me and say “Oh that’s cute, but fashion’s just a hobby, what are you actually studying in college?” I was super fortunate that my parents were supportive. 

My mother works in a more creative industry, so they really pushed me to pursue what I was passionate about. It was definitely a frustrating time to hear people in the community speak this way.

I even had some acquaintances my age question my passion and interest just because it wasn’t a stereotypical path that Asian Americans typically take.

It helped that I was taking a business perspective to fashion. I knew I wasn’t necessarily going to fashion school. I was going to business school, so it didn’t directly limit me in terms of my industry. I think that probably made them feel more at ease.

I also think with running AA BATTERIES, something that I’ve just been lucky to have with it is that I don’t look at it necessarily as a clothing brand that has to make a profit. From day one, I started it because I wanted to learn as much as I could about entrepreneurship and about this community.

Ultimately, I just call it a passion project that happens to have customers and bring in profit and have a community around it. It’s just really a passion project at the end of the day. When I describe it that way to my parents, it also helps them feel comfortable.

What advice do you have for young BIPOC women who would like to start their own business? 

This is gonna sound super cliche, but know that taking the time is super valuable and that you only get to launch once. I remember when I started my clothing brand, I was a freshman in college. It was over winter break; I was super naive. I launched within four or five days from having the idea.

I essentially launched because I was like “Oh my gosh, I can print a shirt, this is amazing,” and I just put it out there, put like six designs; there was no cohesive mission. The name was really bad. The website looked kind of janky. 

I remember I was so excited about it, but I didn’t do that much research into the best manufacturing that could have been done or if these were really the best designs. I was relatively narrow-minded and just thought, “I’m so excited about it, so other people are just naturally going to be excited about it.”

Then there were so many mistakes and things I had to fix that I had to do after I had already launched. Not only do you only get to launch once, but your reputation in potential customers’ minds is set once you have it there.

First, it’s very very hard to change your first impression. So there are a ton of people, I’m sure, who saw my brand four and a half years ago, and maybe they don’t even realize I’ve rebranded. They don’t realize I’ve changed my printing production partners and manufacturing process, or my whole website.

I’ve noticed that your website has a vast range of collections. What inspires the creation of each collection? 

The collection vision and theme is really driven by the artists that I collaborate with. I think my favorite part about the brand is the fact that we collaborate with these artists.

These Asian American artists are so talented — their work deserves to be showcased and also financially compensated. That’s a huge part of our motto.

There are other Asian clothing brands out there, but I personally have never seen one that collaborates with artists and financially compensates them in the way that we do in our business model. 

When I collaborate with an artist, the mission is to give them full respect and do their talent justice. I want them to feel comfortable with the collection and their product.

Therefore, I don’t mandate, like if it’s a Korean artist “you have to do one of our vintage Seoul.” I’m more like “What do you want to bring to the designs that you have? What do you think would work?”

It’s a super collaborative process, which is awesome because we’ve been able to work with a number of Asian American artists. A lot of those collections are really driven by the artists and what they’re looking for.

What is your advice for an Asian American designer who wants to design for AA BATTERIES?

We love seeing every single artist that submits work. We’re always open to seeing their work. We’re never going to reject artists on the basis that we have too many artists right now.

I think the collections that work best with our customers, as well as our whole brand and mission are ones that feel cohesive as a collection.

There are some artists who have individual pieces but lack the cohesive look of a collection. Pieces that do well typically reflect an artist’s ethnicity or something related to their identity. For example, we have collections inspired by Seoul, Japan, or Indian Culture.

I think those functions feel, at least to me, like the most authentic. For instance, I have a Japanese artist creating Japanese designs for clothing, and only they can really tell that story. I think that’s when the designs to me feel most successful.

Young short-haired girl lying in the sun covering her eyes, while wearing a white crew neck sweatshirt with an anime picture.
Source: Lea Chen

AA BATTERIES not only sells apparel but advocates for important issues such as the Model Minority Myth, Asians for Black Lives, and Asian mental health awareness.

Tell me a bit about that. What made you decide that you wanted to bring awareness to that? 

I collaborated with Dear Asian Youth, this student-run organization run by Asian American youth. I actually reached out to Dear Asian Youth to do a collaboration before the George Floyd murder happened and before The Black Lives Matter protests started.

For Asians for Black Lives, for every purchase, 30% of the profits go to an organization tied to the Black Lives Matter movement. It might be Black Lives Matter itself, or the NAACP, or the Black Visions Collective.

It was just the perfect timing because they were like, you know, we want something that not only looks good on clothing but really advocates for a specific mission.

In the Asian American community, there is this anti-Blackness rooted in generations in the United States, like my grandparents and even my own parents. 

A lot of it is just unfounded in the sense that it’s just rooted in a lot of fear. I think that comes from the immigrant struggle or the model minority myth. I don’t think my parents are malicious, but there’s just like this lack of knowledge and understanding.

For example: In the beginning of COVID, there was a phobia against Asians.

Therefore, when Black Lives Matter movements happened, a lot of Asians were speaking up, saying “We were being attacked in the beginning of COVID and no one spoke up for us, so why do we really need to speak up so loudly for the Black community?”

However, our community would not be where it is today without so many leaders in the African American civil rights movement. I think there was just this education piece and gap there.

So by having this collection, one it was really perfect timing, but two, it allowed us to take a mission and put it on something tangible and really let people show that this is something that’s important to them.

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a young Asian American Entrepreneur?

One of my biggest challenges that I think is a challenge for any brand starting out is just really building your customer base and really building that community of people that will follow you.

I’ve been lucky to manage other social media accounts, just because it’s my day job. It’s definitely interesting running an account that’s for a brand where you sell products versus an account that’s all about empowering and community-driven.

At the end of the day, people are like, “Oh, yeah, we’re passionate about Asian Americans,” but they’re like, “you’re trying to sell me a product.” I think messaging is super key. When people wear merch and buy stickers, I love it.

But ultimately, AA BATTERIES is more about clothing, stickers, prints, and tangible objects. Our brand is about the feeling of pride and belonging in our AAPI community.

If someone comments on my Instagram post and says “Oh my god! This is so enlightening! I learned a lot!” that honestly might be more valuable than producing a product. The messaging was pretty key, and that was a challenge.

I also had a rebrand, so I had to build this new customer base — tell people who I was and also prove that you can trust our brand and who we are and our authenticity.

Who are some of your greatest influences in fashion?

A lot of my influences are not necessarily fashion brands, but just Asian American creators. Another clothing brand that I looked at in the beginning was Asian American Girl Club. It was started by actress Ally Maki. 

There are so many cool people in the Asian American community who are really speaking up lately. Those are the people that really inspired me to want to create AA BATTERIES. The theme here is that it’s beyond the products and just the physical items for me. I’m trying to foster this kind of environment.

Design-wise, Asian American Girl Club hasn’t been really the inspiration, but more so how she’s fostered this community. It’s cool that people are happy to wear those designs, because on every t-shirt it says “Asian American Girl Club,” and people are proud to be a part of this “club.”

What are your plans for the future of AA BATTERIES?

Over the next few months or next few years, I really want AA BATTERIES to be representative of the whole Asian American spectrum. For example, having the Desi collection was super important to me. Growing up in Edison, I was so fortunate so many of my friends were Indian American.

For most Asian Americans I know in college, they assumed that when I said that all my friends were Asian in high school I meant East Asian. However, it wasn’t like that for me. 

I’ve noticed a lot of my collections are from East Asian designers and that’s still cool, but something I’m really trying to work on is having more representation of the South Asian and Pacific Islander experience.

It started when I had the Desi collection. I was super excited, but I feel there’s still so much work I could do in terms of having more of those designers and making them feel like they’re part of the community as well.

I often reach out on digital forums asking if anyone knows any South Asian creators I can collaborate with. I want to make sure that my media content is representative so that when people see AA BATTERIES, they’re like, “Oh, yes, this is actually an Asian American brand.”

Stay tuned for when we do have another South Asian collection in the future. I want to continue working with as many other types of Asians as I can, so I definitely want that for the future. But I’m really glad that the Desi collection is there.

Can you give us a sneak peek for the collections coming up?

We have recently released the “taiwan on the streets” collection. This Taiwanese artist’s style is kind of this color block graphic style of Taiwanese street food, which is cool.

Another one that’s coming in the works is from an artist, Valerie Lam. She created these Mahjong-style earrings and promoted them on a Facebook group for Asian creatives. This will probably come out maybe next month or the end of this month.

Another one that I want to do is something that’s a little bit more focused on social justice. I’m not sure exactly how it will look yet; either it will be a text-based collection or drawings of Asian American icons or something more like the vibe of “we’re not your model minority myth.”

A dark blue back ground with black and white text saying,
Source

Recently, one of our posts blew up. The post says “Yes, I’m Asian. No, we’re not all basically the same thing.” Over 80,000 people have seen that post, which is crazy. I posted that at least over a week or two ago, but people will still — like, dozens of people — will still like it every day.

And I’m like, there’s something about that post. I think it’s just something about this very blunt text in your face, talking about who we are as Asian Americans and breaking down these myths and stereotypes that people dislike. That was kind of the inspiration behind why I want to eventually do this text series.

You can shop for AA BATTERIES products on their website and stay connected with Lea’s journey on AA BATTERIES’ Instagram.

Spotlight

Meet Thais Drassinower: A Latinx Woman Film Creator in Hollywood Pushing for Diversity

Published

on

A black and white photo of Thais Drassinower wearing black hat and tank top.

This past year, the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) selected Thais Drassinower into the Newcomers program. Thais is based in L.A. as a female filmmaker. The year 2020 had the biggest turnout of women in the program and Thais was one of those representing female filmmakers!

This program offers career support and helps to new filmmakers in the industry. Apart from being welcomed into the program, Thais has a lot of history with filmmaking and in the film industry. We interviewed her to learn more about her history with film and any new projects she might be working on. 

1. Your hometown is Lima, Peru, what was it like coming to America and starting up in the film industry? What inspired you to pursue filmmaking as a career, and please tell me a bit about that journey. 

I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. I started writing stories as soon as I learned how to put two words together.

My grandma still keeps those early ones in her bedroom chest. I’ve also always loved film and would spend my free time as a teenager watching foreign film cycles at the local cultural center.

But as a young woman from a traditional family growing up in Lima – Peru, I never thought being a filmmaker was an option for me.

My diverse interests in story, psychology, and anthropology led me to advertising as a first step and it was then, working as a copywriter in Chicago, that I realized the power that audiovisual communication has on society and understood that there are archetypes in the collective consciousness that stories can portray in infinite ways.

That’s when I decided to become a filmmaker and assume the responsibility of sharing narratives that can shift our world into a more comprehensive, empathetic, and healthy place.

I started taking night classes at a local school after work and then decided to make the jump and apply for an MFA in Film which got me to NYC where I got my degree at Columbia University. That’s how it all started. 

2. Before transitioning to the film industry, you were a copywriter. Can you tell me what it was like making that transition to filmmaking? Did you encounter any major differences or have any difficulty with the transition to films? 

I was a copywriter for an advertising agency in Chicago which meant that, together with my partner, I came up with an idea for a commercial, wrote the script for it and then supervised the whole production and post-production process to make sure the idea was coming to life in the way we envisioned it.

The whole supervision part of the process was similar to being a film producer on a project. Being on set and watching the director work with the actors made me fall in love with the directing process. I think it has been a very organic transition and my years as a copywriter helped me build very important skills that I now use as a writer/director.

Film director and crew
Source

3. The entertainment industry can be cutthroat at times. Have you endured any hardships along the way? What did you do to overcome them? 

I’m still at the beginning of my career and it is definitely a challenging field. As a Latinx woman trying to break in, you have to work extremely hard and convince people that you deserve a seat at the table.

It’s an exciting time for minorities in Hollywood, the conversation is open and more studios are looking to champion diverse and underrepresented voices, but there is still a long way to go to achieve proper representation and I’m proud to be a part of this new generation pushing for change. 

4. You’ve directed three projects, “The Catch,” “Baby,” and “Memories of the Sea.” All of which are special in their own ways. Please tell me a bit about how you drew inspiration for these projects and how they are connected to you? 

Memories of The Sea was my first film which explores the sense of loss for a child. My dear friend and fellow filmmaker Sudarshan Suresh had written a beautiful script which we then worked on together to adapt for me to direct it.

I decided to set it in Brazil because that’s where I spent my first years of childhood and where I experienced a sense of loss myself.

I wanted to revisit the space and dive deep into the experience of seeing the world through a child’s eyes. This is a film about finding your own answers when adults don’t explain things to you. I think we often forget how intuitive and perceptive children are and this film attempts to remind us. 

Baby, my second film, explores what it means to grow up by messing up. It’s a film about a young woman who goes home for a weekend and has ​an unnerving encounter with her estranged father at a nightclub which reminds her that there are unhealed wounds.

Through a series of disturbing events that night, she will be forced to understand that the only person who can take care of her now is herself. I drew inspiration for this film from the memories of being that age and feeling lost at many points. Feeling like a grown up, but also like a child.

Feeling like I had all the answers, but then suddenly like I knew nothing. It’s a fascinating period in a person’s life and with this story and through this character I explore subjects such as sexuality and consent. 

Finally, The Catch, my latest film, tells the story of two trapeze artists whose trust is threatened right before the biggest performance of their careers. The script was written by another Peruvian making waves in the US, my dear friend Camila Zavala who also produced the film.

What attracted me to direct this movie was the opportunity to explore the concept of trust between a couple with such high stakes and the idea of dancing between public and private spaces in the magical world of a circus.

The film invites us to reflect on the power of a bond and what it takes to break it. 

5. Many young people are looking into the arts as careers, but of course, they may face obstacles along the way. What would you say to someone who would want to pursue a career such as filmmaking? What advice would you offer? 

I say GO FOR IT. This is a challenging career, but all good things in life require you to work hard for them. The enjoyment comes from the hours you put in day to day. I find that the most important things are consistency and your community.

Do the work, go out and shoot, sit down and write, even if you don’t end up showing that “thing” to anyone, practice makes a master. And surround yourself with a group of peers who will champion you and who you will champion. Help each other out.

Film is a collective art and you can’t do it alone, having a group of colleagues that you trust is crucial for your career. Find them. Either at school, at writing groups, at online forums. Find them and nurture those relationships. They are the most wonderful gift that a film career can give you. 

I started writing a blog for young female filmmakers who are working or hope to work on their first feature film. There you can find advice on how to embark in the journey both from my personal experience, and also from interviews that I make to first time female directors.

Check it out and hope you find it helpful, I’m always available through there for any questions you might have.  

Best of luck to you all! 

6. What are your plans for the future in filmmaking? Do you have genres or films you are particularly interested in? 

I’m currently working on my first feature film which I hope we can start pre-production for once we achieve a new normal after COVID-19. I am interested in telling stories through a female perspective in the genres of psychological thriller, psychological horror, and drama.

As I mentioned before, it is also very important for me to portray diversity on the screen through my narratives and I look forward to keep sharing stories that build empathy and hopefully invite the audience to reflect and discuss.

From growing up in Peru and moving to L.A, to transitioning from copywriting to filmmaking. Thais has achieved many great things that other young filmmakers aspire to achieve.

We hope that by reading this article, many young filmmakers or others wanting to join the industry can get some inspiration from Thais and perhaps one day join the Newcomers program like her.

Thank you Thais for your time and we wish you luck with your first feature film and your BAFTA Newcomers program!

Continue Reading

Spotlight

Alicia White Leading Project Petals to Repair Communities

Published

on

Alicia White, CEO of Project Petals

Nonprofit organizations are driven by a social cause. They help families in need, repair communities, teach children new things, and give hope to those who need it most.

Alicia White, the founder and president of Project Petals, had all of this in mind when starting her nonprofit. She is an advocate for all those living in low-income and under-resourced communities. Not only is she an entrepreneur, but she has also worked with the United Nations and done grant work with domestic justice civil rights issues within her community.

BLENDtw had the opportunity to interview White regarding her history with Project Petals and moving forward with her program. 

1.) You started Project Petals with the vision to help low-income and under-resourced communities. Can you tell us a bit about what the process of starting up a new business was like? What were your struggles along the way? 

The process of starting my organization has been rewarding, and I learned so much through the process. My organization started out as a volunteer-led project in Queens, New York. It was important for me to form an organization to improve the environment, support communities and future leaders.

It was challenging starting my first environmental project, and I wanted to make it less difficult for anyone coming after me. Also, to help youth learn the leadership skills needed to make an impact in their communities.

Starting a new organization for me had its challenge, but I learned so much along the way. I had to essentially learn what it was to set up an organization in what felt like overnight. Through extensive research, I had to file paperwork,  create a website, the logo, the structure of the organization, and just typical start-up activities fell on my shoulders.

Like most black women founders, my biggest struggle was finding and securing funding. For example, in 2019, Black-led organizations received less than 4% of grants and funding. That percentage dwindles when you are a woman.

2.) COVID-19 has been challenging for many small businesses and has caused people within many communities to struggle to make ends meet. How have you seen this affect them and what has Project Petals been doing in response to this? 

COVID-19 has hit the communications that my organization works, extremely hard. My organization had to change from working on the ground with large amounts of volunteers to working remotely, with fewer volunteers on the ground.

Through all of this, we were still able to support our community leaders and neighborhoods with the tools and resources that they need to improve their environments. Like every other organization, we have to abide by COVID-19 safety restrictions and guidelines to keep everyone safe while still actively providing the services that are needed to make an impact.  

3.) Going forward with Project Petals, what do you envision with your company? Where do you see it going in terms of growth? 

I see Project Petals eventually moving to a national scale. The need for environmental support and community development is needed now more than ever. With the climate crises on the brink of causing further catastrophe, it is vital that Project Petals is able to serve as many communities and leaders as we can. 

4.) You have a program called, “Youth Builders Program.” Can you elaborate more on what it is and what sort of programs it offers? And how this program can be of help to those participating in it?

Our Project Petals Youth Builders Program helps young people gain the leadership skills they need to improve their communities and futures. Our program connects youth in grades 4-12 to engineering, architecture, urban planning, environmental science, tech, and design professionals who can offer mentorship, experience, internships, and inspiration through monthly workshops.

We work to catalyze the next generation of environmentalists, community leaders, and professionals in these fields. Our program inspires them to develop a passion for these fields, thus working to create a more sustainable, diverse, and equitable world. One hundred percent of all of the youth show great leadership potential. We believe by fostering this leadership and giving them access to a network of professionals; we will start to build more resilient communities. 

5.) Before Project Petals, what sort of jobs were you doing? What led you to want to become an entrepreneur and what advice do you have for anyone also planning to pursue entrepreneurship? 

Growing up, I always had ideas that I wanted to bring to reality, but as a young person, I didn’t know how to, and I didn’t think it was possible for me to do so. As an adult, social entrepreneurship gave me the opportunity to take my ideas and actually use them to make a positive impact in other people’s lives and the environment.

If I had to give any advice, it would be to have confidence in your ideas and in your skillset as you may face many obstacles, nay-sayers, and challenges along the way. Failure is par for the course and is a good lesson plan to succeed. 

We hope that by understanding Project Petals, White, and how entrepreneurs can shape the future of the community around them, we can then better understand how to make our community and the world around us a better place. Thank you to Project Petals and White for this opportunity and we hope this program thrives in the coming years! 

Continue Reading

Spotlight

Using Instagram Art to Promote Anti-Racism: Meet French Graphic Artist Aurélia Durand

Published

on

Portrait of author Aurélia Durand wearing a yellow shirt and laying next to some of her pieces of art.
Source: Aurélia Durand

Instagram artist, Aurélia Durand, has been using the platform to promote her anti-racism art. She has a website on which she sells posters, stickers, and cards that she has designed herself. Her art is focused on celebrating diversity and equal representation. Durand’s dream is to help form a united community and an inclusive future for everyone. BLENDtw had the opportunity to ask Durand a series of questions about her current work on Instagram, the book she illustrated, and her goals for the future. 

1. Who or what inspired you to start creating art? What keeps you motivated?

When I begin working on a new artistic creation, I listen to music to put myself in a zone where I feel good and am inspired to create a meaningful message. I find that music settles the mood and atmosphere around me. I create to stay positive, and staying positive is essential for my well being. I need to be creative; I am addicted to creativity; imagination, drawing, and seeing the idea evolve is exciting. The most fulfilling feeling is to see people interacting with my work.

2. If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be? What advice would you give to young black women with dreams similar to your own?

Create for yourself; don’t try to make the same as everyone else. Find your voice; follow your instinct.

3. What impact do you hope your art will have on our world today?

I hope my art empowers people and makes them smile. 

A piece of Aurélia Durand's art work featuring four people behind a pink background with the title
Source: Aurélia Durand

4. In what way does art communicate with and reach people better than other means do? 

It’s upon us; it happens because of many factors. I think that visuals are more impactful than words. It is universal, we see it, and we quickly react to it. 

6. You just recently illustrated a New York Times bestseller, “This Book is Anti-Racist.” What inspired this project? What do you hope readers take away from it?

I hope readers want to take action for antiracism in there every day life after they read the book.

My publisher, Quarto, contacted me at the end of 2018 to participate in the book’s conception as the leading illustrator. I have never met the author; unfortunately, due to the current global pandemic and social distancing regulations. 

The book, “This Book is Anti-Racist” was released in January 2020 and became a best seller in June after the Black Lives Matter movement spread globally. We sold more than 150,000 copies! The book has been popular in schools, but people of all ages are reading the book. It includes about 20 exercises for readers to do while thinking about how they can take action to build a more inclusive society. 

7. Do you have any plans or projects you are working on? How can people help support your cause?

I am working on many new projects, but I can’t talk about them as they are meant to be a surprise. In October, I will be participating in several talks with Adobe, Ladies and Wine, and the AOI association. The projects are very exciting and I have confidence that they will have great success when they are completed. 

Continue Reading

Trending

BLENDtw is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.


© 2021 Blendtw | All rights reserved

0 Shares
Share
Tweet
Pin
Share