Art is a radical display of self-love, especially for queer women and women of color. Many marginalized artists use art to define themselves, own their identities and protest oppressive systems.
Whitney’s artwork attracts me because of its bold colors and ethereal designs. She is a self-described “artist, empath and zine maker” whose work touches on her queer, multiracial identity; the human consciousness; and one’s relationship to self and others.
I sit down with her to discuss how art shapes her self-perception.
Art has played a very significant role in how I see myself and cope with all of the intersections of my identity,” Whitney says. “Art has this way of making all of these complex emotions that I feel a tangible item. It helps me with issues of my identity that I have had to confront, such as internalized racism and homophobia, and what it means to be a multiracial person of color.”
She shows me her new piece, Take Care of Yourself.
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Finished!!!!! I love how the catsuit came out on this one. I was also inspired by the super moon that came by last week! Remember that as we face a bunch of crazy shit, take care of yourselves friends <3 #illustration #artoftheday #drawing #copic #whitneykittyart #moon #cats #myart #peony #flowers
I have been creating a lot of work surrounding themes of identity, healing and safe spaces. I love to create images of women of color in their safe spaces. I like to imagine that they are in deep thought and are amazing, powerful beings.”
Her face lights up as she points out each element of her piece, from the Take Care of Yourself banner stringing the wall to the whiskers on the woman’s bodysuit. Flowers seem to bloom from the woman’s head. The moon glows behind purple crystals. The piece is somehow relatable yet mystical
Whitney shows me her other project, brightly colored clay succulents.
The succulents that I have made are about the balance of resilience and tenderness,” she says. “These plants are very strong, and yet they can be so fragile, especially if they are not cared for properly. For me personally, this is a metaphor for a community. To be resilient but also tender.” She’s selling the succulents to raise money for Planned Parenthood.
Whitney reflects for a moment about the themes of her work.
Some of my pieces are about being in love, being proud of who I am, healing, being truly happy or content. A lot of times with each piece comes a series of emotions involving me living with some or all of these things, but for me being a creator definitely helps with healing.”
I also love when I connect with others through art as well. I am lucky enough to have heard a lot of people’s stories because they found my art and wanted to share what the piece has made them think about within their own identities. For me, sharing stories is an important form of activism. It’s good to know that you’re not alone.“