Made In Me 8 came to fruition on its own. It has been an exciting process that started at Gay Pride in 2015, just a few days after the Supreme Court issued a ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states.
I decided to paint some t-shirts for my friends that read “Love Wins,” (President Obama coined that phrase right after gay marriage was legalized). It was there in the crowd making its way down 5th Avenue that I found a new platform.
I saw the opportunity to make my art public, wearable, usable, and affordable for a wider audience. Whether hand-painted or printed, the intention was to weave art into as many places as possible: from the art gallery to fashion and furniture—I wanted to make a person feel good through the experience of being surrounded by art.
The company’s mission is to create art that touches the soul; that empowers people through the act of being oneself; that celebrates the experience of the human condition in all its complexity and expression; and that finds beauty outside the conventions and traditions held by the mainstream. The message is one of justice, empowerment, liberation, and love.
I have always been interested in socio-political themes for my work, which act as the catalyst of awareness and hope. As an artist, I have a responsibility to defend freedom of expression, basic human rights, and civil and political liberties—all of which are still suppressed in modern society.
It is a reality that art affects change. It has been this way through history, and I must contribute to this process. Being fortunate enough to have a 30-year career exhibiting my artwork in museums and galleries, internationally, my new venture, Made in Me 8, takes things one step further.
No longer housed in a gallery, I’m taking the conversation my work aims to inspire out into the streets.