As an artist by trade, and in how I view the world, I always pay attention to the first projects I work on after a major event.  Sometimes markers of time, such as first and last projects of the year. Sometimes tragedies, like 9/11, or a terrible natural disaster.  Sometimes a time of worry, like The Great Recession.

This is one of those times.

Business has been slow; October and November always are.  I didn’t work directly with a client until 2 days ago – a quick project, a little bee.  I often ask people, why this image? why now?  She’d always wanted a bee, she said, but the Now was because of the election. She’d been saying to herself: Be here now. Be Strong. Be Resolute. Be Compassionate. Be Aware. Be Committed.

She teared up telling me, she has two sons who are gay; on the 11th, one of their friends was beaten by attackers saying (as we’re hearing all too often) Trump was president now, fuck you faggot, etc etc etc.  I teared up listening. I told her about Pantsuit Nation.  I told her the 2018 midterms were more important than ever. We committed to The Fight, without knowing what exactly that was yet.  We became allies.

Yesterday, my client was a Native woman, getting her tribal number and a feather on her forearm.  She works with the public, a small, demure woman with a sparkling smile even in these days of fear. She has no visible tattoo work, and hadn’t been tattooed for 11 years.

Why this design? Why now?

We had already talked about the election; we shared the feeling that, of course, we were disappointed Hillary didn’t win (she was also an enthusiastic Clinton supporter) but Trump and the racists he brings with are frightening on a whole different dimension. We had already established that we were allies.

Why this design? “They can’t take this away from me.”

Why now? She choked up. She didn’t need to tell me why.

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After 9/11 happened, two of my first projects were the Japanese character for “peace.”  That was somehow comforting to me.  These two pieces after Nov. 8th, are soothing to me as well, but in a different way. In both of these women, there was a fight, a commitment. And in all three of us, there was the need to reach out, to find fellow fighters, to establish alliances, to find safety.  Ahead of commitment to specific actions, this is how we network.

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