As an artist, I find it important to diversify every area in my life — in the movies I watch, the music I listen to, the books I read, the friends I have. I don’t see myself growing at all if I don’t actively choose to surround myself with writers, entertainers, and artists who don’t look like me.

As we continue to create our work, perform our jobs, and simply live our lives, I can’t stress enough the importance of pausing and reflecting on our missions as artists. Consider taking a step back and asking yourself: How will I come up with my best ideas if I don’t listen to diverse voices? How will I have meaningful collaborations if I don’t interact with inclusivity as a blueprint, rather than a strategy? How will I create my best work if I don’t truly indulge and educate myself on art and culture different from my own? 

Listed below are inspiring creators who have diversified and enriched my daily life, reminding me of the power of my own unique voice and identity. Please support these talented individuals and give them a follow!

Amber Robinson Pierce, @ambrpierce

“My name is Amber Robinson Pierce, I am a visual artist from Virginia. My work is greatly inspired by communication, both introspectively and externally. Creating a visual representation of metaphysical experiences in life: memories, emotions, and dreams. My hope is to evoke compassion, critical thinking, and connection through visual story-telling.”

Distant Connections, @distant.connections

“My name is Jaz, I am a Caribbean-American Creative Producer creating transformative experiences that empower others to share stories about culture, identity, and wellness.

My name is Sarah, I am an Eritrean/Italian immigrant who captures life through stories in the form of photo and design. Together we are two friends who want to show love and spread joy through our work.

Distant Connections is a campaign designed to unite creatives and build a network in which people use their talents to foster connections. We aim to digitally close the social distance gap by pairing up strangers in a 24-hour challenge, commissioning them to highlight their own strengths in a collaboration.

During season one, we explored ‘what quarantine taught us.’ We showcased a diverse selection of creative collaborations from all over the U.S. and Panama. Although each pair approached the topic differently, they reflected our core mission of building new empathetic connections to create a vast community of creatives that share stories.

We are excited for season two, coming early September 2020, and if you are interested in collaborating with us, visit us on IG @distant.connections.

Much Love and Happy Connecting!”

Giselle Matz, @thestudio.g

“I am a Latinx designer and illustrator from Miami, FL, currently residing in Houston, TX. My illustration work highlights diversity, inclusivity, political awareness and the female body as it varies in color, shape and form. My art has been shared across platforms; from the ACLU to Planned Parenthood, published on Medium and printed onto signs for protests across the world. My innate passion for art began developing as a young child, and my dream is to utilize my art in ways that can make a positive impact on people by encouraging self love, acceptance and beauty in diversity.”

Kendall Moore, @artofnek

“NEK. My art is a reflection of my childhood interests integrating characters from favorite animes and cartoons and introducing them in a way that reflects my current life and state. I’ve developed self-taught understanding of acrylic, ink, digital, clothing and also develop logos for local business in the DMV area. My art has become a form of solace and comfort for me, finding in my ability with a unique style manifesting organically. I’ve yet to pinpoint down a specific style or medium that I want to perfect — I’ve naturally preferred the fluidity of creating whatever I feel in the moment and you can see that from piece to piece.”

Naomi Hia, @naomihia

“My name is Naomi. I was born and raised in Northern VA, a couple of miles out of Washington, DC, and am currently based in Austin, TX where I work as a Graphic Designer by day and a painter by night.

My artistic inspiration has always been about my relationship with my self, with others, and just a general navigation of my identity. Art has always been a coping mechanism for me and I’ve felt has always been a divine connection with my late father. I work mostly with oils on canvas and wood panels but am a sucker for natural textures and materials so wouldn’t be surprised if this changes soon! I love to explore non-physical spaces and textures and love to work with 3D animation because of this. I went to school for Design in NY and Richmond, VA but took a few painting classes as part of the curriculum and have been in love with it ever since. I’m hoping to one day work with some studios around the local Austin area or beyond!”

Nicole Pernell, @meloninn_

“I focus my illustrations around black women and women of color. Our struggles, beauty and everyday life. People assume that black women are always strong, loud and bold. However, I try to convey a different perspective. Black women can be soft, sensitive and introverted. Black women are a huge inspiration for me, we go through so much pain, joy and frustration. But we find a way to keep on going.”