Working with Lou Brown
My inspiration for the trans rights theme was bittersweet. Bitter in that it feels needed due to the current anti-trans rhetoric, sweet in that the illustration is equally inspired by the trans community and those who fight alongside us to defend our right to exist. While I wanted the illustration to convey this serious message, I also wanted it to encapsulate a sense of playful community. The humans represent our community's defiance against the political status quo, but also defiance in pursuing queer joy.
The idea of the protest theme came relatively quickly when I thought about creating a Pride themed illustration, plus I love drawing people and protest signs so it seemed like a good fit for me!
The process from there was sketching out ideas on my iPad and sending them to the Lattimore + Friends team for approval as I went along. I started with the black and white outlines and then added in colours, textures and details. Finally, I adapted the illustration to work across the four different formats.
I guess a challenge was making the decision to focus on the trans rights theme. As the LGBTQIA+ community is vastly diverse and multifaceted, there are so many different things one could capture in a Pride themed artwork. In the end, I decided to focus on the trans community because I feel well positioned to create art surrounding a community I belong to and because it is in desperate need of allies. The Lattimore + Friends website provided a lovely opportunity to share this message with a wider audience.
Definitely playful humans! Especially with long flexible limbs and cute smiley faces. In general, I love to create illustrations that are meaning orientated, especially relating to mental health, body image, queer topics and sex education.
Goodstrangevibes (my art business) began with me using art as a form of therapy and it has continued to be deeply rooted in my mental health, identity and experience of the world. I create artwork to soothe and energise my soul and I share it in the hope that other humans will connect with it in this way too. Likewise, I gain a lot of inspiration from looking at society and channelling my anger about things I want to change into illustrations. I also get a lot of inspiration from Instagram accounts run by queer artists, educators and activists, such as @mattxiv, @sweetcowboyblues and @alokvmenon.
I have largely been very lucky in the work spaces I’ve navigated, which have often been queer, but maybe I end up in those spaces as they are where I feel safe and celebrated… so maybe, on reflection, it’s less luck and more that I am specifically drawn to these pockets of the creative industry that feel inviting.
When I sell my art products at queer markets I tend to get a really positive response and feel warm and held. When I sell at more general markets, though there are many lovely interactions, I am also confronted with more misgendering alongside people smirking or shaking their heads at my queer artwork and I end up having emotionally exhausting conversations trying to educate people and stand up for my community. While I love to provide affirming art for my community, I still intermittently go to non-queer markets to build connections and empathy. In those spaces there are people who haven’t engaged in the topics my artwork covers with compassion or second thought and I hope to be that entry point (just not all the time because it’s tiring haha).
Connect with Lou Brown / Goodstrangvibes