Top 5 tips: How to use visual art to amplify the impact of your social change by Hana Shafi aka Frizz Kid

14 May, 2019

1. Keep it simple! You can go into detail about your particular cause in the caption of the image, or in an attached blog post or article, but overloading your image with text will be overwhelming for viewers. When there’s too much going on, people tend to lose interest. So if you want to make an image, for example, about the anti-abortion laws that just got passed in Georgia, make an image with a simple text like: abortion and other forms of birth control were just outlawed in Georgia (people can scroll down to read more about it). Or something like “I am proudly pro-choice!” in a colourful and accessible image.

2. Poster or sticker your city or town! Obviously one of the most easy ways to distribute art is through social media, but sticking posters or stickers all over town is a great way to draw people in to a message. For example my friend, and amazing activist, Terra Loire used a sticker campaign to get attention for an important message. She created stickers that said “Believe Women” (right around the time of the Ghomeshi trial) and stickered city hall, the court house, and other places to get people more aware of the ways in which women are frequently disbelieved when they speak out about violence. When news crews rolled up to cover these events, her stickers were frequently in the background, and activists even wore them on camera when speaking to the news.

3. Stay consistent! You can’t make art 24/7, but it’s important that if you’re going to do be making visual art to make social change, that you stay consistent. Making one image and then not making any corresponding images or follow-ups for months and months can cause your message to become diluted and scattered. I make my affirmation series weekly so that it’s always showing up in people’s feeds. This doesn’t mean you need to do something weekly also, just make sure that your work is visible, consistent, and timely. You can maximize your impact this way.

4. Talk to, collaborate with, and learn from other artists! Part of my artistic practice in making social change is to learn from and talk to other artists around me who are also invested in making social change. They teach me new skills, give me motivation to keep going, educate me on new perspectives on a particular issue, and all-around make me a better artist. Social change isn’t something we make happen all alone; it’s about being a part of a bigger movement. Seek out other artists and create the movement!

5. Make your art as inclusive as possible! If you’re drawing people, make sure that lots of different people are being represented. People are more likely to engage with art if they see themselves represented in it, and many marginalized peoples do not see themselves represented positively in art. Obviously you can’t represent everyone in one singular image, but if you’re consistently drawing people, making sure you’re drawing lots of people and not just those who look like you all the time.