by Jose Soto •
HRC’s latest edition of Equality magazine touches on both the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the hope and inspiration following the win of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
After enduring relentless attacks from the Trump-Pence administration, the LGBTQ community is hopeful to see increased protections and rights with the help of a Biden-Harris administration and a slew of pro-equality officials elected in November.
To help convey this, HRC sought out artwork from a prolific graphic designer which exemplified the themes of the magazine issue and aligned with our goals and mission as an organization.
Gregory Beauchamp, a graphic designer and artist based in California, has extensive experience in corporate advertising, but also has dedicated much effort and time in creating simple yet visually appealing artwork. HRC talked with Beauchamp to find out more about his experiences, inspirations and how “getting to the top of love mountain” helped him produce not only the artwork used on our cover, but other pieces as well.
Your website states that you want your artwork to be “happy little moments” in people’s lives. During your creative process, what do you do to ensure that emanates from your work?
I always try to view my work through love, understanding and equality, positive and optimistic thoughts. For me, if I have the opportunity to create something, it is important to fill that space with those ideals.
Beauchamp shares that he sees his artwork as ways “to get to the top love mountain.” He says there are many paths to get to the top of love mountain, each of his pieces being one individual path. When one does, he says, that’s a happy moment.
It’s an easy way for me to stay on track. If I direct my output toward a beacon, like the top of an imaginary mountain called love, then I’m free to focus on the discovery part of creating. The beauty of the metaphor is that there are infinite ways to the top and mine are but a few.
There are things that bring each of us happiness. Oftentimes, they are the smallest things. It’s the small things that help us reach the summit of not only love mountain, but all mountains, metaphorically speaking.
It also states that the simpler something can be, the more universal it becomes. Your artwork is recognizably simple, yet visually pleasing. How do you know when it’s simplistic enough to be universal?
Great question. How far can something be reduced and still hold meaning? And even more so, grow in meaning, universally, across ages and cultures. In my work, I try to remove myself, my subjectivities and my definitions and I find that what is left has become elementary.
Beauchamp says “States United” is inspired by Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential victory speech in Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois. In it, President Obama stated, “It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are, and always will be, the United States of America.”
I have never heard someone of such prominence speak in those terms. It was so moving that it really resonated with me. It was that powerful. It made me realize the America we are isn’t always the America we see, so I made a new map that was more representative of our ideals. That’s what it means to me. Perhaps we’re not just the United States, we’re the states united. It sounds more like a choice. We’re choosing to be united as one, together.
How does your artwork advocate for human rights and societal issues, particularly for the LGBTQ community?
I advocate for love, and hopefully, that’s how my art helps all communities. I try to find simple ways of, again, climbing love mountain. If my art speaks about being kind to other people, then that supports love. If it talks about being kind to yourself, then that supports love. I’ve never considered it as advocacy — it’s the right thing to do. There’s great satisfaction in making something, even more so when it means something and can help shift people’s perceptions about acceptance and equality.
Our latest edition of Equality magazine relates to the election and the pro-equality Biden-Harris ticket. How did this theme/topic align with the artwork you provided HRC with?
It’s a piece inspired by equality. By changing how America looks, maybe it can change how we look at America and maybe that can change how we look at each other. Arranging the states into a heart removes the prejudices of geography, leaving a space full of familiar shapes and a message of love.
The largeness of what HRC does is absolutely represented by the piece. That’s the honor that I find in it. It’s being attached to such a huge idea that people need to find a path toward love. The HRC has the most iconic “equal sign.” When people see it, they know what it means. It’s a freeway to the top of love mountain.
It made me feel great when I was asked to do this partnership. That was definitely one of the reasons why that piece was made. “States United” is definitely hopeful.
What do you hope or expect audiences to gather from the artwork you generously allowed HRC to use for the newest issue of Equality magazine?
Hope. And that love is here.
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