Most of my online content focuses on my photography and creative process. I’ve tried to keep my opinions about politics and other aspects of public life between me and my personal circle of friends and family. However, I do believe that an important role of artists in society is to think creatively and to bring creativity into all aspects of public life. In the current climate of American politics—where everything is presented as a false dichotomy of black or white, good or evil, with us or against us— creativity and vision are desperately needed. As such, I hope you will indulge me in this rare trip into a more sociopolitical topic. I promise to keep things light and non-partisan but forgive me if I do get a little preachy. I am, after all, a passionate creative.
On Being Human
If your neighborhood was on fire and you had to get out quick but saw your neighbor struggling, would you go help? I’m going to give you the benefit-of-the-doubt and assume, like most decent people, that you would. You probably wouldn’t stop to ask them about their views on economic policy, healthcare reform, or environmental issues as a prerequisite for your assistance. So, why can’t we act like that all the time? Call me an idealist if you must, but I don’t think this is much of a stretch. It should not take a catastrophe for us to be decent to each other.
Unity is a message I have believed in since I was a punk kid listening to Operation Ivy songs. It is a message I will always believe in. It doesn’t require us to pretend we don’t have differences, only that we work together and look out for each other despite our differences. We mistakenly allow our differences to be magnified when, in reality, we have more in common as human beings than not. We also have many unique differences that are worth celebrating rather than fearing. It is in that spirit that I created this graphic almost four years ago.
My Unity Project
This is a labor of love for a message I believe in. I do not make a profit off of these and my name and website are not on them. The only thing I’m interested in promoting is the message. All proceeds go towards more stickers. I buy them in bulk every now and then so I can give them out to baristas, delivery drivers, cashiers, and others who I encounter in my community and in my travels. Most have received it with enthusiasm and gratitude.
If this is a message* you’re on board with, and you want to put something positive out there to push against the current overwhelming spirit of negativity and divisiveness, links to purchase are below. If you live in Arizona, reach out and I’m happy to give you one for free. If stickers aren’t your cuppa tea, will you stand with me in carrying this message of hope into our broken world?
If you feel like the world is on fire, love your neighbors.
If you feel like the world is beautiful, love your neighbors.
We’re all in this together.
*I want to be explicitly clear that this is not another version of “all lives matter.” Although I value truth, I also insist that there are right ways of being wrong, and wrong ways of being right. I stand in solidarity with the diaspora, disinherited, and dispossessed people of America who are currently crying out, “Black Lives Matter.” It may be true that all lives matter and that police lives matter, but I do not see these as appropriate responses to BLM, and I lament any response to BLM other than “yes” and “amen.” I know this puts my message into somewhat divisive political territory, but part of standing in unity and solidarity with human beings is listening to the cries of the oppressed and disadvantaged, lending our voice to help amplify theirs when needed. It is not my desire to trample those voices.
I have to credit my friend and fellow artist Papay Solomon for his role in the evolution of my design. My original concept (pictured below) was stark black and white. It is more graphically simple and clear, however, Papay pushed back a little and brought my attention to the fact that the extremes of black and white fail to adequately celebrate the wealth of diversity represented by humanity.
In light of that (wonderful) conversation, I went back to the drawing board and came up with the revised design I’m now using. It still conveys the message, but in a more subtle way that celebrates a broader diversity.
Papay is a lovely human being and a brilliant artist who uses his voice to tell the stories of fellow members of the African diaspora. See his work online at papaysolomon.com.
Sticker Options and Purchase Links:
2x small black background: https://www.cafepress.com/mf/118775208/unity-humanity-tones-2up-dark-background_sticker?productId=474552737
2x small white background: https://www.cafepress.com/mf/118775224/unity-humanity-tones-2up-dark-background_sticker?productId=474552864
2x small black/white combo: https://www.cafepress.com/mf/118775240/unityhumanity-tones-2up_sticker?productId=474552885
Note: The 2x small stickers arrive as a single rectangular sticker, meant to be cut into two. You can specify when ordering if you want them to be 3″ x 5″ (making two 1.5″ x 5″ stickers when cut) or 4.5″ x 7.5″ (two 2.25″ x 7.5″ stickers when cut). CafePress did not have a narrow rectangular sticker option that was smaller than a bumper sticker so this was my workaround for people who like to put stickers on water bottles, etc.
Standard Size Bumper Stickers
1x large (bumper sticker) black background: https://www.cafepress.com/+unity_humanity_tones_dark_backgroun_bumper_sticker,584968926
1x large (bumper sticker) white background: https://www.cafepress.com/+bumper_sticker,584951370
Additional products with this design (buttons, shirts, license plates, yard signs, etc.) are available on CafePress. I didn’t want to post too many links here, so I kept it just to stickers. You’ll just have to poke around the site for more options. Some stickers are also available in multi-packs. Shoot me a message if you are looking for something in particular and can’t find it; I’m glad to help.