A Note from Calvin Bauer, team member at Light Grey Art Lab
At some point in human history, our species shifted from a desire to support the community, to a desire to support the self. Maybe not just one point, but many points, that have lead to a world where many of us exist individualistically. This mentality leads us to forget our responsibility to each other: to help ensure that each human is able to live as beautiful and healthy of a life as we do. Further, this mentality relates to our connection to the Earth and its non-human inhabitants, and our responsibility to these as well.
Realizing that we exist within the ecosphere of the Earth, and not above or on top of it, leads one towards recognizing that creating healthy communities and working towards a healthier Earth in turn would make all humans healthier, safer, happier, and more in tune with their individual strengths.
As we exist on such a massive, global scale (and within all of the violence and selfish aggression that permeates so much of our societal world), it’s ultimately heartening to know that there are, and always will be, large groups within our strange and eclectic species that truly want to see a better world created. How can we ensure that we are one of these people, working to lessen the violence (meaning, in this case, verbal and subtextual violence as well as physical) within our own communities? Within our day-to-day interactions? Within our own mental constructions? How can we continue to break down barriers, moving towards a world that can truly coexist and help each other thrive? And what kind of benefits could this have on our physical, mental, and spiritual health? I think this pursuit is lifelong, and it requires us to remain ever aware of the Earth’s (and humanity’s) unique beauty, and our ability to promote and prolong that through the way we live our lives.
- Calvin Bauer
Jessica Roux is an illustrator based in Nashville, Tennessee, whose work celebrates animal life and the natural world. We recently reached out and asked her opinions on altruism and the power of the creative voice, in light of our recent Small Art for a Big Cause exhibition. Read along below.
What is the value of the creative voice - as compared to a monetary value - for something like raising awareness for good causes?
Creative voices can bring beauty, awareness, and understanding to organizations and good causes. For me, making art is a way I process things like suffering and my impact on the environment - it helps me come to a greater understanding of the world around me. I think talking openly about it and sharing the work that comes out of those thoughts can help more people see and understand the causes I believe in, and hopefully create a sense of urgency and willingness to contribute in a meaningful way.
Think about the concept of altruism. How much do you think the idea affects how you go about your daily life? For example. do you think about doing things for a greater social purpose often? Does this ever include teaching, volunteering, assisting others, ... or anything else?
Absolutely! As artists, one of the most valuable resources we have is our skills, and sharing them by educating others allows even more people to create work that will inspire change. I love teaching and sharing what I’ve learned with others. I would not know anything if it wasn’t for previous teachers, mentors, and friends who I’ve asked for help - and I’m so thankful and lucky that it was given willingly and kindly. The least I can do is share that knowledge and make more seats available at the table, especially for underprivileged voices that need and deserve to be heard.
Do you have any personal exercises, mantras, or reminders that help you work towards being a positive force in the world?
I tell myself that my efforts matter and that they count toward something. Taking individual responsibility is so important, especially when we’re talking about our impact on the environment, so taking any steps at all to help out is major! It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and then do nothing, or pass the responsibility onto larger corporations in the hope that others will make the change for you. When you tell yourself that your actions can have a massive impact on the world, it makes it more difficult to shrug things off - and easier to take small steps toward change.
What kind of positive change would you like to see in the next five years?
I would love to see more (and more effective) protections put in place to save our environment, as well as more individuals taking responsibility for their actions. It’s truly scary to think about losing my main source of inspiration - nature - because of selfishness and corporate greed. I’m so afraid that nothing will change until it’s too late.