Written by Glo(w)
All things are created equal. Just as the sun shines strong, birthing new life in spring, her fiery presence greets death in winter. Each good thing that stands is equal in opposition to the bad. It’s balance. The existence of opposition creates balance. There is guidance in dualities. Early algebra in middle schools leaks the truth to those in bloom: every negative is canceled by a positive. How would we know when life tastes sweet if there were no sour? Being able to experience the full spectrum of being grants freedom of choice.
Knowing is meaningless if there is no action involved. Though all things are created equal, all things aren’t equally valued. The many forms of oppression that continuously cycles through every ounce of humanity shines light on the dark truths lurking in our cores. Every choice one makes for their life can be scrutinized. Being authentic and genuine can lead to being classified as “less”. This value systems creates the foundation for oppression. It all started with a woman. Limbs spread and hips open, every ounce of the human experience has been blessed by the presence of the feminine. Whether you believe in the Abrahamic view of life or believe in only what your eyes can see, both sources point towards women as “less”. It was the woman who first experienced the forbidden fruit, and fate has led her to bear the burden of society. Painter and illustrator Jane Beaird uses moving illustrations to oppose prejudice against women. Her diverse and captivating series “The Future is Female” depicts the modern woman as literal sources of life, donned in striking floral arrangements. This use of art in opposition to reality creates the balance needed to successfully eradicate oppression.
View Jane Beaird’s work and words below.
How long have you been creating? What inspired you to use your creativity?
I’ve been creating since I was at least 3 or 4 years old. It’s always been a huge part of who I am and I can’t really imagine life without it. My dad is a songwriter/advertising executive who has this amazing ability to see the big picture of any project, whether it’s an ad campaign or the direction of a song. Watching him pursue his dreams in songwriting, marketing, and business has had a huge influence on my creative endeavors. My mom is a brilliant entrepreneur and self-starter who constantly inspires me with her go-getter attitude. Their encouragement gives me the confidence I need to pick myself up after a major failure. This industry isn’t easy! I would've given up a long time ago if it wasn’t for them.
What have you learned about yourself through the creative process?
I’m very unorganized! Running your own business, especially in the beginning, involves a lot of menial tasks like emails, organizing, accounting, and running errands. Sometimes it’s hard to carve out time to actually be creative. I’ve also learned that I work best late at night when everything is quiet and still. Not great for my sleep schedule.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
When beginning a new art piece, my dad always said “start with the end in mind”. What he means is start every project with an overall idea of what you want it to be and use that as a compass. If you stick to a specific vision, there won’t be room for detours or serendipitous discoveries. Have direction, but be open-minded.
What is the most important element present in your work?
The most important element I want to communicate through my art is self-confidence, especially for women. I grew up with very low self-esteem and it’s my mission to give others strength through my art. It’s disturbing that the next leader of our country has said such horrible things about women and their bodies. One of my biggest fears is that his words and viewpoint will infect American culture and create a negative portrayal of women in society, ultimately putting our basic healthcare rights at risk. Hopefully making portraits of powerful women will help continue to fight his statements and show that we are more than our bodies and our sex.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I’m very moved by the positive responses to “The Future Is Female” illustration. It’s so wonderful to see how many people have shared the illustration on social media as an image of female solidarity.
Name something you don’t love, and why.
Cat-calling/staring, unwanted male attention in general. This happens a lot in NYC and I can’t count how many times I’ve brushed it off as “men being men”. It’s invasive, disrespectful, and totally unacceptable behavior.
How do you think the creating process would be different if money wasn’t a factor?
I would create with less pressure, pursue more passion projects, and give my work to customers for free. I really hate charging for my work because I’m just so happy that someone wants it!
Do you think it’s important for other artists to congregate and work together?
Yes, absolutely. Creating in a vacuum is effective for some people, but I’ve always loved collaboration and group critiques because it’s how new ideas are formed. The way someone else sees your work is the most valuable information an artist can have! I think that’s why I like sharing my work on Instagram because it’s a way to engage with a creative community and receive feedback.
What is your dream project?
I’m hoping to write and illustrate a book about the amazing women in contemporary culture: fashion designers, political activists, writers, musicians, movers and shakers. I want this book to be distributed to major retailers and hopefully local schools as a source of inspiration for girls with big dreams.
When can we expect a project to be released?
Oh gosh, well Quiet Creature is really starting to take off as we speak and the opportunities feel limitless. I’m hoping to have a stronger presence in the illustration world, maybe self-publish a book. I have a background in fine art and fashion design, so I’d like to start creating my own clothing using the flower motifs as a print. Who knows where that will lead?