Meet the
Creative Wildfire
Artists

Background art by Amir Khadar

Meet the Creative Wildfire artists and their final works representing our manifesto. 

Coco Peila

About the artist:

G.O.L.D… (fka Coco Peila) is a Rap god.dess, Songwriter, and Producer dipped in Vocals, deeply engaged in activism, education, and liberation. She has worked with young people in the Bay Area for over 15 years facilitating creative writing workshops (Poetry, Songwriting, & Rap), and developing curriculum and programs.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

A Hip Hop EP featuring 2-4 songs connected with activists who are a part of the Red, Black, and Green New Deal initiative of the Movement for Black Lives.

Alice Yuan Zhang 张元, Nailah Hunter & Jay Carlon

About the artists:

Alice Yuan Zhang 张元 (she/her) is an artist, educator, and 1st-generation Chinese-American immigrant living on Tongva, Chumash, Kizh land (Los Angeles). Her practice explores socioecological entanglement through grassroots projects across browsers, networks, and other digital spaces, as well as somatic exercises and community exchanges. Zhang is the co-founder of virtual care lab, CultureHub resident artist, and involved member of NAVEL.

 

Nailah Hunter (she/her) is a multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Los Angeles. Her music for harp, electronics and voice shimmers with spiritual radiance, full of magic, wonder, and healing energies. Her debut EP Spells was released by LA’s acclaimed Leaving Records in May 2020 and described by Rolling Stone as “one of the best recent releases of its kind.” Nailah hosts a monthly NTS radio show, Astral Garden, and has collaborated with Lyra Pramuk, No Joy, John Carroll Kirby and Bing and Ruth.

Jay Carlon (he/they) is a contemporary dance artist and community organizer based between LA and NYC and is committed to connecting his art practice to sustainability and his personal and collective journey of decolonization. Carlon was named Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2020. He is a performer and directing associate with the Sway, where he has performed at the 2014 Olympics, the 2016 World EXPO, and the 2018 Super Bowl. Carlon has also performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Bill T. Jones, jumatatu m. poe, Oguri, Solange Knowles, Rodrigo y Gabriela; and choreographed works for Kanye West and Mndsgn.

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

This immersive AR artwork would envelop people in an entangled web of seeds, roots and plants and they would honor particular stories. From my research so far, I’m thinking of the Indigenous seed rematriation work by Rowen White, the stewarding of African Diaspora varieties by Chris Bolden-Newsome, Korean and other Asian heritage crops by Kristyn Leach, cabbage for pickled curtido by Latinx immigrants at Tierra Fertil Co-op, Vietnamese refugee seeds from Resilient Roots Farm, as well as tomato varieties that tell of prison abolition from Soul Fire Farm.

Through this project, I’d like to bring people into the joy and necessity of a world in which we know, care for, and are abundantly sustained by this living entanglement of each others’ ancestral foodways, and empower us all to take action as part of this larger movement that is real and already happening. I used augmented reality because it’s strategic! AR as a medium juxtaposes a particular context or story into your surroundings, and opens up this portal to envision how a more just world could look and feel like. 

Jaclyn Fawn Mendez

About the artist:

Jackie Fawn (Yurok, Washoe, Surigaonon) is a graphic illustrator that uses her skills to uplift indigenous movements. She empowers herself and those who engage with her work through her illustrations of strong indigenous warrior femmes, educates through visual storytelling, and envisions a future where everyone can thrive.   She currently lives in Akwesasne, NY with her partner and baby. Recently, she has started a radical arts studio, Fishbear Studios, with her family. 

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

Illustration One: Food security and indigenous leadership/knowledge to help design cooperative gardens will be the topic of the first illustration. Utilizing indigenous knowledge can help people revitalize the land and provide healthy food for everyone in the community.

Illustration Two: Renewable energy will be the second topic. In this illustration, different generations will gather to provide renewable energy powered by community, giving energy autonomy and security back to the people.

Illustration Three: Investing in and supporting Mutual Aid Networks would be my third topic. This illustration would be of various mutual aid networks supporting underserved communities by providing meals, education, and health services.

Loisse Ledres

About the artist:

Loisse Ledres is a Filipina freelance designer and illustrator. She loves exploring how image, text and color intersects with culture to empower and mobilize people. Previously working as an experiential designer in a creative agency, Loisse is passionate about designing spaces that facilitate inspiration, exploration and creation. She also currently volunteers as Creative Director of Tagalikha, where they explore Filipino creativity and its impact on the community and their identities. Loisse hopes to continue creating art that allow others to access their creativity and use it to lift up their own communities.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

Like the Creative Wildfire Manifesto declared, the pandemic has instilled a new urgency in many like me who have felt burnt out, unfulfilled and longing to create for change. And now people are starting to see that they can create from their own values and fight for their communities. They don’t want to go back.

To capture this wave of cultural transition, I want to create an illustration series of portraits that depict 3 of those people in the creative community. These portraits will tell a visual story of what “Creating a New Normal” is for each of them. I will interview each person closely, understand their past, lived contexts, and future goals. I will reach out to people from diverse backgrounds, who are passionate about their creative work and its role in liberating themselves and others. I will recap our conversations through visual infographics and short videos, infusing their stories into the illustrations and publishing them through my social media platforms, newsletter and ultimately culminating into a printed zine compiling the interviews, art and insights in oneMedium.

Chiara Francesca

About the artist:

Originally from Italy, and currently residing in Chicago, Chiara is a queer artist, writer, organizer, acupuncturist, immigrant, and former teen ma’ living with multiple disabilities. Their clinical focus is on mental health, trauma, CPTSD, and queer/trans health. She is committed to building collaborative spaces for community care and centering collective health in and out of movements for justice.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

 

Maddy “MADlines” Clifford

About the artist:

Maddy “MADlines” Clifford is a creative powerhouse. With over a decade of experience as a rapper, poet, educator and intersectional feminist activist, she’s mastered lyrical ceremonies within locked down facilities, on college campuses and even as far away as Uganda. Maddy was nominated for a Grammy for a collab with Alphabet Rockers, shot a stunning music video with Emmy-nominated director, Contessa Gayles and spit fire bars on the North Pole Show Season 2 anthem, “Flame Go,” alongside Zion I and Donté Clark. Most recently Maddy has taken up digital creation, making funny, educational and artistic short-form video content on Reels and Tik Tok. 

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

downCHANTS is a 7-song E.P. and sonic-rupturing of normal. The downCHANTS E.P. will facilitate important conversations through song while also using a cutting-edge method of releasing music in the digital space: short-form videos. The ultimate goal of each downCHANT will be to wake people up from the comotose of “normal,” to remind them to have bolder demands. 

Aisha Shillingford

About the artist:

Aisha is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer and cultural strategist originally from Trinidad & Tobago. She has exhibited work during Miami Art Week, Boston University and Betti Ono Gallery. Her written work has been published in Black Discourse and Grantmakers In the Arts. Her work has been commissioned by the Movement for Black Lives, Root Rise Pollinate and Creative Wild Fire. She is currently the Artistic Director at Intelligent Mischief, a creative studio unleashing Black imagination to shape the future.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

 

Diana Rosario, Karen Hurtado & Karina Hurtado-Ocampo

About the artists:

We are a team of frontline, women-identified artists of color who grew up in the same apartment building, but grew closer, in part, to find ways to protect each other from this extractive and predatory economy as we began to feel the impacts of COVID in our neighborhood: Jackson Heights, New York. Together we have benefited from and contributed to the solidarity economy via mutual aid, cop watching, child and elder care and community fridges. Karen is a Queens born, Colombian-raised, peer educator and graphic designer based out of Westchester. Diana is a writer, Tae Kwon Doe black belt, and plumber. Karina is a screenwriter and cultural worker with experience creating alongside young people, immigrant, and queer communities. 

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

A mixed-media children’s book (15-30 pages) that also serves as a workbook for families to develop their plans for participating in regenerative solidarity economies and contribute to a just transition. In this children’s book we follow Sol, a BIPOC gender non-conforming child, from the future as they show us different aspects of their life in liberated territory. You see, thanks to the grassroots survival strategies employed by community members during the pandemic, in the future we live as part of an economy that gives us life rather than takes it away. During their journey Sol asks children and families to reflect on important questions ranging from their emotional well being to identifying liberatory spaces and regenerative practices:

Do they know the names of the native communities whose land they’re on? Who should they go to in case of an emergency if their parents aren’t home? (emergency response plan) Can they eat any of the plants they grow at home? Where is the nearest community garden? What is a song they’ve learned from their elders about freedom? Can they sing that song for us?

MAISIE RICHARDS & Lokotah Sanborn

About the artists:

Maisie loves rocks and rivers and the things that depend on them. She’s an illustrator and visual communicator, with an MS in Fluvial Geomorphology, a BA in Geology, and a penchant for finding patterns that transcend scale. She draws to help herself and others visualize our place amidst and dependence on the complex, interconnected web of ecologies and geologies forming this precious planet. She is committed to practicing visual communication as a tool to heal the harm caused by white-bodied supremacy and extractive capitalism, and to help us envision resilient and generative futures for all beings.

 

Lokotah Sanborn is a Penobscot environmental and racial justice advocate, community organizer, and artist. He is a member of Sunlight Media Collective, an organization working to document and produce stories affecting Wabanaki people at the intersections of environmental issues and tribal rights. He is a member of Racial Equity and Justice, and is a founding member of Bomazeen Land Trust, a Wabanaki led 501c3 dedicated to rematriation, food sovereignty, and cultural transmission.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

A large (22 x 30) watercolor illustration depicting a landscape showing: a free-flowing, geomorphically-complex river; human and more-than-human communities living in balance with the river; salmon and other aquatic beings thriving; sustainable and resilient architecture; plant allyship and deep root networks; locally-scaled and community-controlled solar and wind power; cooperative farming; and humans practicing mutual aid as tree roots beneath their feet do the same.  My intention for this work is to hire 1-2 land stewards to consultant– people still connected to their ancestral traditions and homeland, who understand this relational worldview, and who have never wavered from centering water in their culture, creativity or art-making.

 

Cece Carpio

About the artist:

Using acrylic, ink, aerosol and installations, Cece Carpio tells stories of immigration, ancestry, collective movements, and our stories of resilience. She documents evolving traditions through combining folkloric forms, bold portraits and natural elements with urban art techniques. Living and working in the  Bay Area, she is inspired by the cultural potency of communities of color and of the prominent history of social movements that have become influential expressions for the rest of the world to see.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

They will work collaboratively with the Ohlone, Deep Medicine Circle, and the community, to envision and create beautiful and bold designs of what health equity and fresh food abundance can look like when we work in partnership with the land, earth, sun, and sky. Integrating the four elements of Fire (Revitalization), Water (Relations), Earth (Refuge), and Air (Resilience), these designs will be transformed into posters and postcards as well as incorporated into Deep Medicine Circle’s website. In the near future the designs will be used to create a large mural at the farm site and will be dedicated to the Ramaytush Ohlone’s efforts to regain leadership and land stewardship of their ancestral homelands. 

Kate McNeely & Crystal Clarity

About the artistS:

kate (she/her) is a cultural worker, social change strategist, mixed-media artist, and radical queerdo storyteller. She works (and often lives) within various communities and cultures across what we call the United States, helping to make stories of resistance and resilience visible. Centering intellectuality and play, she builds spaces where folks gather and create. She believes deeply that if we show up as our fully complicated selves, culture is the brackish water of change and difference where we have the power to directly shape our future world.

Crystal Clarity is a teaching artist, illustrator, printmaker, art director, dream weaver, and visual strategist for movement moments. She brings 15+ years experience directing community mural projects across New York City and beyond. She activates her talents with the singular objective of magnifying our collective ability to imagine and lean into a better world. Her praxis is a passionate sharing of that knowledge through focused mentorship, skill building and leadership development of the next generation of movement artists.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

A webcomic examining how grief shows up in our organizing spaces and how the movement for a just transition is affected when we hold our grief poorly versus when we honor it. We hope the printed materials will circulate in organizing spaces and art builds where folks are doing the work. We, as movement organizers and activists, often too quickly work from a place of harm and hurt. We work from internalized forms of the very same aspects of profit and politics that have caused our global ecological and existential crises. We need better rituals and tools *within our own cultures and movements* to examine our production-based identities, confront the prevalence of performative and consumer based care models, and release the pressure for individual efficiency. We believe that grief is at the center of this. Until we make space for the deep grief that we are holding within ourselves (not just from 2020/Covid, this grief is intergenerational), we will have trouble “advancing our bold, visionary solutions”. Until we rebuild and relearn the grieving rituals that colonialism and capitalism removed from our cultures, we will struggle to reclaim our power to create.

 

Ebony Gustave & Robin Bean Crane

About the artistS:

Ebony (she/her) is the founder of Cooperative Journal and worker-owner at Design for the Commons. She has traveled the world experientially learning tools to build self-sufficiency and resilience to integrate that knowledge into cultural work and community service. The common thread between all of her work is illuminating alternatives to our current economic system that are harmonious with nature, people-centered, and empowers others to access their own agency.

Robin (they/them) is a multimedia storyteller, solidarity economy nerd, and tender plant tender. With a focus on film, animation and participatory media they spotlight community-driven solutions, working with organizations to shift narratives in support of a more regenerative economy where all can thrive. They identify as queer and white with ancestors from north and west Europe, now home-making on Ohlone Land, Oakland, CA. 

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

How can we expand our imagination of an economy where all can thrive while spotlighting examples already happening in our communities? We want to offer an adaptation of the curriculum for Creative Wildfire. It will consist of two different iterations of a participatory art workshop with 3 sessions each. The workshops invite artists of all mediums to vision a ‘day-in-the-life’ as an artist in the solidarity economy of their dreams, to narrativize and visualize that vision, and to practice principles of cooperative co-creation along the way. We will then compile these pieces into a collective video montage with voice over recordings and animations of everyone’s visual art. In addition, we will create a multimedia digital archive to compile art about the solidarity economy, sourcing initially from our workshop series and later accepting ongoing submissions. 

Amir Khadar 

About the artist:

Amir Khadar (They/Them) is a Sierra Leonean-American artist, designer, and educator from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their main mediums are poetry, fibers, and digital art. They are actively experimenting and growing as an artist through establishing relationships to ways of making, but their practice has always been grounded through afro-futurism, gender theory, beauty, and ancestral practices.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

A series of 3 digitally painted posters (11×17 in print)that individually explore the language and imagery within the three pillars of the manifesto -Study, Fund, and Act. These posters will aid in the work of creating a visual vocabulary for the imaginative process required to actualize the freedom dreams outlined in this manifesto. My illustrations intentionally display a diversity of gender, race, color, religion, age, and size. 

 

Angelique Kalani Axelrode & Shelton Torbert, Jr.

About the artistS:

Angelique Kalani Axelrode and Shelton Torbert Junior are working together to share the stories of people who are culture shifters in Huntsville, Alabama using 16mm film as the artistic medium. Shelton graduated from Auburn Mechanical Engineering in the spring of 2020, and he now runs Lavish Studios in Huntsville, Alabama. Angelique graduated from Vanderbilt University in the spring of 2021 studying human development and film, and she now is pursuing directing and screenwriting. Shelton and Angelique met at a local market in Nashville, Tennessee where Shelton was selling clothing he designed and created using upcycled materials. They quickly learned they have a shared passion for sustainable and intentionally created commodities and joined forces to showcase the power of supporting local.

 

About their Creative Wildfire Project:

This project will uplift artists of color and queer artists who live in the South and will shine light on the individual people who help create the rich culture that exists in southern communities. The content will consist of videos shot 16mm film of the artists, akin to experimental documentary footage. I want to portray the intimacy between the artist and their work. Especially because of the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on artists, it is important to provide them with a platform to share their perspective on what our future should look like, as many of them have been working behind the scenes to build up their community in radical ways. The final product will serve as a way for people to engage with and listen to local creatives as well as to purchase sustainably created commodities, rather than purchasing mass produced items from large corporations (although pressing viewers to purchase items will not be the primary goal of this project). 

My hope is that these stories from the community of artists in Alabama will empower people from all parts of the country to invest in themselves, join together, reclaim their neighborhoods and build a future grounded in community-oriented solutions. We cannot regress back into a society where artists and creators are unappreciated if they are not generating extreme profits, rather everyone should feel as though their art and their contribution to the world are valuable.