It’s very easy these days to want to change the world for the better. But it’s also important to honor the strides we’ve made and be unapologetically proud of who we are now. Pride Month encompasses all of this ― a celebration of how far we’ve come, a way to honor those who struggled before us, and a time to strive to do more.

With the help of Tumblr, HuffPost was lucky enough to partner with some incredible artists for Pride Month this year. We spoke with them about their artwork, their hopes for Pride and what it means to them to live Proud Out Loud.

Sarah Zucker created this illustration for HuffPost in honor of Pride Month.

I’d love to hear a little more about your artwork for HuffPost’s #ProudOutLoud initiative. What did you want to convey in your work?

I wanted to create a rainbow “vortex” that both moves forward while also swirling in on itself to reflect the recursive nature of identity and social progress. I make use of video feedback in a lot of my work, and this is the perfect visual representation of how an idea can reflect back on itself and then create infinite inward mutations.

This seems to me to be the way Identity functions: Once we perceive something about ourselves, our behavior shifts based on our knowledge of that trait, and this closed feedback loop continues on and on into what we call the “Self.” Ultimately, I wanted to evoke the sense that progress is born out of a community of self-understanding, and to be proud means to bear witness to yourself and your own evolution.

In general, how would you describe your art?

I am very much a multidisciplinary artist because different ideas require a different set of tools (and often the skill sets of others) to be brought into fruition. My primary disciplines at the moment are writing and video art. I have always been fascinated with obsolete technology, as I’ve seen so many forms come and go in my lifetime. These days, I work with a lot of vintage video equipment and VHS to get the unique aesthetic of my GIF and video pieces. But I’m an explorer at heart, and I like experimenting with new processes and merging things that aren’t meant to go together, like the analog and the digital.

I want everyone to be more open and loving with themselves and others. Sarah Zucker

As a writer, it’s exciting to dream up whole new worlds and not feel limited by my own capacity to manifest them. Some of my favorite work I’ve ever created was the short-form comedy series I created for Super Deluxe with my partner Bronwyn Lundberg through our studio YoMeryl. Anything I can dream up, she can animate. Creative collaboration is a beautiful thing. Curation is a big part of my practice as well, as I think it’s important to lift up other artists whose work speaks to you while also creating context for your own work. My curatorial project is called fancy nothing (formerly known as thecurrentseala).

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is an opportunity to thank those who made it possible for you to enjoy the rights you have by considering their actions and offering up your own joy in gratitude. It’s no mistake that Pride happens in Gemini season: It pairs sobering reflection on oppression and the ongoing fight for equality with blissed-out Bacchic revelry. I personally take stock of the gloriously gay life I get to lead and think about what an incredible privilege it is to be able to live openly and honestly when so many are still fighting for that opportunity.

What are your hopes for this year’s Pride Month and future Pride Months?

My hope is that Pride continues to be more and more of a humanitarian festival above all else and that we honor the love that unites us over the lines that divide us. I want everyone to be more open and loving with themselves and others, and to see less self-definition and othering based on notions of identity that are just extensions of lifestyle marketing rather than the real ways people live their lives.

Jag Nagra created this illustration for HuffPost in honor of Pride Month.

I’d love to hear a little more about your artwork for HuffPost’s #ProudOutLoud initiative. What did you want to convey in your work?

When I started reflecting on living #ProudOutLoud, I knew I wanted to portray the importance of safe spaces. So many times, members of the LGBTQ community fear coming out to their families. For myself, being a queer Indian, I didn’t know there were other gay Indians in the world when I was growing up. I literally thought I was the only one. There were no queer South Asian role models in the media, and no one ever talked about it. I had a hard time understanding it, and if I couldn’t explain it to myself, I wondered how I would explain it to my parents.

That’s where safe spaces came into play. I came across a group in Vancouver for LGBTQ South Asians called Sher Vancouver, and for the first time in my life, I found people who looked like me that were like me. That’s when I was finally able to start a conversation with my family. That group really laid the foundation for me. Navigating through the world can be a scary thing. But knowing there are places that create a sense of community are so important for people who are struggling to come out. Even just seeing a small pride flag in the window of a store can be comforting.

I hope to see more queer people of color being celebrated. Jag Nagra

In general, how would you describe your art?

I live in Vancouver, B.C., where it’s rainy and gray for a lot of the year, so in contrast, I like to surround myself with vibrant colors and patterns. My artwork reflects that. I’ve developed this hand-drawn style of quirky lines and bright colors.

What does Pride mean to you?

To me, pride means living unapologetically. My wife and I have a young daughter and we want to raise her not to be ashamed of who she is or where she came from. We want to set that example for her. I used to struggle with being gay, but now, honestly, I feel like I’m part of a very awesome, very fabulous club where I was lucky enough to have been given this very exclusive membership. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love living authentically. I love being able to walk with my little family down the street without hiding who we are. It feels really great to be here.

What are your hopes for this year’s Pride Month and future Pride Months?

I hope to see more queer people of color being celebrated. Representation is so important. When you see yourself being represented in the mainstream media, you feel seen. Even just seeing one person like you who is living proud can make all the difference. Struggling with being closeted comes with a lot of anxiety and depression, so seeing someone who has come out on the other end is inspiring. It helps you know you can also get there. Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more of that.

Milomars created this illustration for HuffPost in honor of Pride Month.

I’d love to hear a little more about your artwork for HuffPost’s #ProudOutLoud initiative. What did you want to convey in your work?

Of course! I was really excited to share my work with HuffPost for Pride. I really wanted to focus on the strength of community while also giving a nod to Pride’s origin and the Stonewall riots. It’s important to reflect and look back into what Pride originally was and where we are standing in today’s world and what is going on as a community. It’s also important to appreciate those who have made it possible to be able to celebrate these Pride events and celebrate being queer.

This piece depicts a sense of community while also showcasing each character’s individual self-love and self-pride. Self-love and self-worth is important, and I wanted to reflect that relationship with oneself and one’s body in this piece.

In general, how would you describe your art?

My work for the past couple of years has been focusing on queer issues and relationships, queer and trans identities, body positivity and sometimes fantasy worlds, while almost always incorporating plant themes. Being queer is a big part of my identity, and growing up, I wanted to make art that showcased and provided a sense of queerness that was lacking in traditional art and media that I was exposed to growing up. I rarely, if ever, saw queer representation in media and in art ― so I definitely wanted to create something that would reach out and connect with not only myself but other people feeling underrepresented.

My hope for pride is that it always commemorates years of struggle by black trans women to get to where we are. Milomars

What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is about living every day out with integrity and honesty so I can make a difference for others. It’s important to me to be very open about my identity so that those who are struggling with their own can see someone who has been able to overcome that struggle. In some parts of the world, we’re privileged to have the ability to live with pride and live openly as queer-identifying people. To me, Pride means using that privilege to empower those whose voices are overlooked and ensure that people of all identities feel that they can celebrate who they are without fear.

What are your hopes for this year’s Pride Month and future Pride Months?

My hope for pride is that it always commemorates years of struggle by black trans women to get to where we are and a reminder that we still have a long way to go. I feel as if pride parades have lost the sense of origin as to where pride came from. Pride started as an uprising, a riot, a movement to solidify the rights and existence of the LGBT+ community.

While it is amazing to be able to celebrate queerness, I feel as if a lot of Pride events fail to make the space accessible for everyone, especially those with wheelchairs or sensory issues. And that we, in the future, represent more flags other than just the rainbow at Pride. My hope for Pride is that we stay educated and don’t let corporations slap the rainbow on top of something in June and call it allyship.

Responses have been edited for style and clarity.

Creatrs is a collective of Tumblr’s most talented artists. HuffPost has partnered with Tumblr — which is also owned by Verizon Media, HuffPost’s parent company — to create this original illustrated series.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

 

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