Gen Z is using art to spark conversation and social change.
These five creatives spoke with In The Know about using their crafts to communicate personal stories and big ideas.
Loftin is a photographer and director that has worked with brands like Adidas and Converse. But Loftin’s passion project is “Hooded,” a series where he took photos of Black boys wearing hoodies that were colorful, vibrant and joyful.
“Over the years, I’ve really come to realize the actual power that images have,” Loftin told In The Know. “That’s why I am so drawn to capturing people who aren’t often seen. I recognize the responsibility I have to do something about that. When I see images like that they jump out to me and they make me feel good.”
“My voice and my words and how I choose to put them together, I try to bring awareness to something,” Ervin said.
When Ervin’s article about institutional racism at Washington & Jefferson College in 2017 went viral, she credited having a safe space like Cafe Open Mic to pen the article at invaluable.
“I got involved with the Cafe Open Mic as a social media manager. To have the vibe be so welcoming and open-armed for creatives, it’s super-super important to give them a space where they can be themselves and they won’t feel judged,” Ervin said.
“How I approach cartooning and illustration, in general, is that I’m gonna be an expert on my experience and try and communicate that,” Montague said.
Montague has been published in the New Yorker four times, a journey that started years ago when she noticed a lack of representation in its cartoons.
“The most important thing I’ve learned is to not judge yourself so harshly,” Montague said. “The parts I usually judge myself the most for are the parts people relate to the most. If I can do this. You can do this.”
Pimentel is a musical theater actor and plays Maria in West Side Story on Broadway.
“I spent most of my life doing the arts, I started as a dancer and then kind of switched over into being a singer when I played young Nala in the Lion King,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel is half Puerto Rican, so getting cast as Maria was a pretty big deal.
“It means a lot to play Maria,” Pimentel said. “Maria is an icon for someone like me. Maria is Puerto Rican and has seen many iterations of West Side Story. I want to keep doing art that does spark a conversation and make people think. I wouldn’t want to anything else.”
Lambert is a stylist and a fashion designer with some famous clientele including Kylie Jenner.
“I was that crazy art school kid,” Lambert said. “Like I would skip school to finish my art projects. I would take my dad’s denim jackets and I just ripped holes in it.”
Lambert shares his work on Instagram where he has attracted customers like Sofia Richie and Bebe Rexha.
“Fashion to me is what you want to make of yourself, who you want to be seen as and I’m just trusting my vision,” Lambert said. “I’m just doing me.”
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