“What is the true determinant of joy.” Ama Akoto. she/her (2021). [prose/essay, poetry] ig: ama_bahamas / twitter: MzAmaGirl Statement: White supremacy robs Black people of everything: humanity, opportunities, joy, self definition. I just want niggas - my people - to have all the good things in this life that we want, cus the purpose of existence can't be to prove our humanity every day -- to fight day in and day out for life and joy. I just don't believe that. Humans are here to experience each other and to feel good.
“Leftovers.” Jamie Gemini, she/her (2021). [poem/collage, digital media] Statement: When asked how the piece exemplifies consumption, Jamie states, “I think of eating, I think of wasting, I think of growth and violence. So I wrote a poem to trail along the associations I felt. I thought about owning both, consuming and being consumed. The full circle, the acceptance and change of action within cycles (of oppression, of life, of living and dying // rising from the flames).”
“Notes to Self.” Nosalina Omorogieva, she/her/hers (2021). [poem] IG: nosalina_joane Twitter: njlikenewjersey TW/CW: eating disorders, rape/ sexual assault, survivor's guilt Statement: Teachers never taught about the healing powers of words, especially when they are your own. I heal, unconventionally. My endless sea of similes and prose are unconventional because they are meant not for a reader's eye, but for a weeper's heart. I have submitted my peace to GWS because I know GWS is a safe place for my art to share space with so many beautiful and complex things. My piece exemplified consumption by wanting to be read, needing to be spoken, and begging to be felt.
“Shadow Work.” Talya Whyte, (2021). [painting] twitter: thepaltal ig: talya.paints Statement: “Shadow Work” is about exploring and accepting the dark side of the self. This process is necessary in order to avoid total consumption by the shadow self. I’m of the mind that although shadow energy cannot be ultimately destroyed, we have the power to transform it into something more redemptive and useful. Finally, the darkness within us is not something to fear, but something to try to understand.
“Bloodcurse.” Sage Forest. (2021). [poem] ig: sagestop / twitter: sageisaplant Statement: This piece is very personal to me as it explores my own experience living with severe mental illness and how those same patterns have shown up for generations, throughout my family. As someone with Haitian roots, I focus on vodou and karmic patterns being at the root of the turmoil in the brain. A curse of the bloodline.
“Flowers.” Mia Glionna, she/her (2021). [painting, - 10" x 20" acrylic on canvas] ig: miaglionna / twitter: miainesgranola When asked how the piece exemplifies consumption, Mia states, “we often think of consumption as something physical - eating, taking, grabbing. but in my experience, the eyes consume too. they grab me just like a hand would, and see me only for the parts they want to consume. with each touch, a part of me fades away, like petals being plucked and falling to the ground.”
“the empire is falling,” chapter one. Amy David, she/her (2021). [short story, collage, mixed media] Anonymous Statement: I created a world where Black protagonists go head to head with white devils and are on a journey to find community as they fight whiteness. I think stories like this are hardly told and even when they are, they tend to glorify the US empire in ways that are both subtle and blatant. I chose to submit to GWS because it seemed like the right platform to tell a tale of whiteness declining and Black people winning. This story is set in a world where whiteness is desperately trying to consume everything as the US empire declines. The protagonists are queer, Black, and everything that whiteness hates. They live in a world that is falling due to late stage racial capitalism, where they have to watch how they consume resources or die. This short story paints a picture of what happens when Black folks resist whiteness and interact with the world around them in a different way.
“Untitled.” Andri, they/them (2021). [painting, oil paint on wood canvas] ig: andrishow / 80lovesong twitter: going4ablunt Statement: As an artist, people consume everything we make. Our soul and our beings are poured into our work to be consumed by the public. I have put my soul into a platter for your consumption.
“Sweet Revenge.” Kimia Yousefpour, she/her (2021). [prose] ig: @kimiayousefpour / twitter: @kimiashere Statement: Although this piece is primarily a reflection on my relationship with capitalism as a Southwest Asian refugee, it can also be read as an ultimatum to a toxic partner or loved one. This duality captures the multitude of traumas and the different layers of pain that individuals of oppressed identities suffer from. This piece is unconventional in its commitment to vulnerability and disregard for Western standards of writing. I mostly chose to submit to GWS because of its audience and purpose. I feel as though my piece is something that readers of GWS will be able to relate and connect and fostering that kind of connection is my ultimate goal with my writing.
“Hunger.” Sam V., she/they (2021). [illustration, digital art, mixed media] twitter/tumblr/instagram: peachedtee Statement: This piece is very experimental, using materials and methods I don’t often use, such as scanned images, high saturated colors, and text. The subject matter and content are vastly different from my usual art, being a bit more darker and raw. I felt that it would be well suited for GWS, since its content demands the viewer’s attention and is unabashedly loud when speaking its truth. When asked how the piece exemplifies consumption, Sam states, “It depicts hunger and desire. An insatiable appetite that only grows over time, to the point of it being unbearable. The act of not consuming enough and the craving ends up consuming you instead.”
“A tale of two Trials." N’dea Johnson. she/her (2021). [personal essay/memoir] Tw: rape, sexual assault Statement: This work is about the emotional battle of being a Black woman, survivor of sexual assault, and finding out your rapist may be going to trial. I found writing this to be a source of healing and important considering most rapes aren't reported and a majority of those that are don't result in an arrest or prosecution.
“Edit.” Kajsa Palacios, she/her/hers (2020). [Poem] Statement: Kajsa is a Long Beach-based student currently majoring in Creative Writing at CSULB. She spends most of her time writing poetry, novels, and screenplays, as well as making music, acting, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. She was born and raised In SoCal, but has spent years in Illinois and has lived in Michigan as well. The child of an art teacher and being raised in a musical family has made Kajsa a creator her whole life. After spending most of her formative years reading stories, Kajsa has decided that it’s about time to create some of her own, and is doing it the best way she knows how. She feels that trans people of color are a demographic that isn’t often heard from in writing and that she’ll be able to add a fresh new voice to the world. Twitter: @officerchoochoo
“The Gemini.” Jessica Jackson, she/her/hers (2020). [Oil Painting] Statement: As mystical and ethereal as astrology is it seems only right that it be represented by the Black woman in all her divinity. IG: j.donatella Twitter: j_donatella
“Driving Down I-85.” Kailah Trice, she/her/hers (2020). [Poem. Realistic Fiction] Statement: Kailah says, “this piece opens the reader's imagination to believe the impossible. I believe this is exactly what enchantment is.” @kailahtrice
“Untitled.” Andri, they/them/she/her (2020). [digital media, mixed animation]
“Love.” Dom Troupe, she/her/hers (2020). [Poem] Statement: I created this poem to express my journey/process of learning to bring and allow love into my life. I wanted to learn to love myself in the same way I’ve learned to love friends and significant others, through both their beauty and challenges. On “Love,” Dom says, “This piece speaks of growing into and loving myself and the universe.” IG: domtroupe
“Lonesome.” Pamela Abeka, she/her/hers (2020). [*poem *Canva + Background pic credit to @alopeachia (IG) (best friend + model)] When asked why she chose to submit to GWS, Pam said, “I chose to submit to GWS because I enjoyed the "Growth" issue and I enjoy working with the team behind the project! I see GWS as a great platform for artists, writers and really anyone who wants to be heard.” IG: @_pamtheham Twitter: @umami-mammi
“LUV URSELF.” Lady Picasso, she/her/hers (2020). [Digital Art/Illustration] Statement: When asked how her piece exemplifies enchantment, Lady Picasso says, “I wanted to portray a woman that is very confident, proud, playful, and comfortable in her sensuality. I also wanted the viewer to feel the energy that drawing eludes and almost feel as if they are looking at themselves.. I also wanted this drawing to represent how women should feel about themselves; to feel strong, confident, and proud for who they are.” IG/Twitter: ladypcasso
“names have been kept for privacy.” Zoë Jones, she/her/hers (2020). [Writing] statement: the first iteration of this piece came in a creative non-fiction class my junior year of college. I wanted to make sense of all the relationships (and non-relationships) that I had up to that point - and this was how it all came out. I felt lost in my relationship during that time, and knew that it had much to do with how I perceived myself in relation to men during my teenage years. I’ve gone back to this piece time and time again because it is one of the most honest things I’ve ever written. All of the people mentioned are real - and if they read this story, they would know exactly who they are. I am thankful for my growth and reflection through the art of writing. IG: zoelynnjones Twitter: zljones
“Dark Skin. Sweeter Pigment.” Zi Todd, they/them (2020). [Graphic Novel; Collage] Statement: This is the first time I've ever created a graphic novel to use as an additional creative outlet to share trauma. I felt like it was an important narrative to reproduce and luckily I had a course this year that allowed me to make something unconventional. I feel like GWS is a very useful outlet for folks to share unconventional stories through mediums that are so unique! When asked to speak on their piece, Zi said, “When I was developing this graphic novel, I was able to connect with a multitude of artists who exemplified strong passions for making certain styles of tattoos accessible to Black folks. Through this work, I created my own little family of support, something that could only be defined as enchantment. It was a pleasure to have made so many new friends along the way, while also making sure I shared their work and social media handles with others, so that we could truly foster feelings of support.” IG/Twitter: monazisa
“Ext. the whole wide world in His hands.” Autumn Sylve, she/her/hers (2020). [Screenpoem] Statement: When asked how this work exemplifies enchantment, Autumn said, “Because sisterhood is magical. Freedom feels far-fetched but it's closer than we think if we close our eyes and imagine. Or if we turn to the person next to us and see a little bit of ourselves in them- and in the world around us. There are mirrors everywhere.” IG: autumnsylve
“Silver linings in a chaotic world/ it’s the little things” Cierra Black, she/her/hers (2020). [Poem] Statement: When asked ‘Why GWS?’ Cierra said, “I chose to submit to GWS because it felt right. I like the idea of creating and sharing art by and for my friends-- or with people I feel can relate. I like the idea of supporting things I believe in. GWS feels like a platform where we can authentically share ourselves and feel heard and I wanted to contribute to something like that.” IG: cierrablack_ Twitter: _cierraaab
“Holy Skin.” Sage Forest, she/her/hers (2020). [Collage, magazine clippings, tape.] IG: sagestop Twitter: sageisaplant
“Untitled.” Eiress Wicks, she/her/hers (2020). [Drawing& Illustration. Marker, Colored Pencil, Pen] When asked how this piece exemplifies enchantment, Eiress said, “in the midst of the craziness in the world, peeling an orange, smelling the oils, seeing the juice leak down your hands, feeling in control for just a second and conquering the fruits of the world quite literally, can be an enchanting escape.” IG: eiresss
“Prompts (for college graduates who’ve forgotten how to write.)” Graciela Barada, she/her/hers (2020). [Poem] Statement: When asked how her piece exemplifies enchantment, Graciela says, “through writing, I’ve been able to connect more authentically with loved ones and also with people and places and experiences I’ll never really know or access in a physical capacity. Thus, writing is a means of traveling through the lives, memories, and emotions of others. My poem is about pushing myself to write even when it feels as if I have nothing significant or powerful to say; it’s a reminder that life doesn’t always have to be meaningful in order to be beautiful or to matter. Writing can conjure enchantment amidst chaos, loss, banality, despair, routine. IG: em0jiqueen
“Untitled.” Sydne Joelle, she/her/hers (2020). [Digital Art/Illustration] When asked why she submitted her art to GWS, Sydne said that she can relate to other “young, black, queer artists not afraid to share their experiences and knowledge through their medium.” IG: Sydne.Joelle
“Black Magic.” Mikhael Johnson, he/they (2020) [Poem] IG: @issapoet Statement: This is a very expressive and firm poem. It says what it means and means what it says. With this, I tell three stories: Blackness in relation to white supremacy, Black magic, and Black magic as self enchantment for Black folks rather than a tool of the further dehumanization of Black bodies. IG: issapoet
“Niggas en Vogue.” Sage Forest, she/her/hers (2020). [Drawing, tombow brush markers and strathmore artist tile] IG: sagestop Twitter: sageisaplant
“This House Still Has People in it.” Donozziyae McCray, she/her/they (2020). [Poem] Statement: Reflecting on relationships can be comforting since there is familiarity with what we've experienced. This sense of comfort from reflections can be enchanting since the unknown events of the future leave us feeling out of control and vulnerable. IG: @_cryinglotus
“Prescribed Detour to Self Love.” Jasmine Rodriguez, she/her/hers (2019). [prose] IG: jascrepe
“Fetish.” Saya Norton, she/her/hers (2019). [painting and drawing] “No matter how people choose to view me, they cannot separate the parts of me they fetishize from who I am as a whole.” IG: sayanorton Twitter: daizuboy
“Untitled.” Notty, she/her/hers (2019). [painting/ digital illustration] "To society, the supernatural is controversial. I personally don’t see my work as unconventional, but drawing black women as supernatural, ethereal beings when the majority of our community steers away from things like this does bring controversy. In the past, I wouldn’t submit it to class because of nudity and the fact that some people may be uncomfortable with it. They shouldn’t be, it’s natural. Now, I think it’s necessary.” IG: nottydesigns Twitter: nottydesignss
“Untitled.” Andri, they/them/she/her (2019). [digital media, mixed animation] This work is unconventional because it possesses characteristics associated with cartoons and anime, which are not really renowned as “high art” especially under the western lens. This style of art invokes a type of nostalgia for the late 90’s to 2000’s internet culture that features effects from old school websites such as Blingee. Using this technique and posting it on contemporary sites like Instagram and Twitter shows the juxtaposition of the modern, simplistic, and sleek graphics that grew from those that were pretty, sparkly, and playful. I have learned a lot by regressing back to old drawings that I used to do, of anime characters that I grew up with. I believe that many people are scared of growth, because they are afraid of losing touch with certain parts of themselves. I used to be one of those people, and I often try to recall pieces of who I was through art that I used to make and music that I used to listen to. I’m slowly relearning that growth is never a linear process and I am not one-dimensional. Referring back to art I fell in love with in the past is still as important as discovering new art in the future. With this piece, I combined the old style I used to draw in and incorporated it with the more advanced skills that I know now, to evolve artistically. IG: 80lovesong Twitter: 80slovesongs
“Nameless.” Sarena Khasawneh, she/her/hers (2019). [poem] "For me, this poem is about understanding that there are parts of ourselves that we might be denying until we’re faced with them head on. And even when we notice it, it doesn’t mean we know how to move forward.” IG: sar.khas.tic
“Untitled.” Bryce Cobbs, he/him/his (2019). [painting of hip hop artist, Playboi Carti and butterfly] I think this piece represents growth in a simple, yet subtle way. The butterfly is a common symbol for growth. In the reference photo, I felt that his hands holding the butterfly represented Carti holding his own destiny. I wanted to capture that in my recreation, even adding a slight glow in the middle of the painting above were his hands are positioned in an attempt to give a soft yet noticeable feel. IG: ArtByBryce Twitter: Bryce-Cobbs
"Mania, The Ride." LUNA, she/hers (2019). Due to art being a very personal practice for LUNA-- she hopes to captivate her viewers through the figurative expression of the human body and the subtle connotations of her own personal connections as both an artist, a LGBTQ+ woman, and as well as her journey of dealing with Bipolar disorder. Within the "fruit series" you can see the connection of the dismal state of isolation due to depression and the beauty that can easily hide the true meaning behind the something that goes unlooked unless told. "Similar to how most things go my art was first for myself, and over time it became much more than that. More often than not women are pressured into feeling guilty and ashamed for who they are and for what they're not. I find it almost necessary for women to understand that they've been seen. They have been seen as they are and that within every aspect of it contains beauty. Although not all of what i create is geared towards this-- it's definitely a consistent objective.” Portfolio: artbyluna-c.com IG: lunaccy Twitter: lunnaccy
“Untitled.” Steph C, she/her/hers (2019). [illustration and visual development] I believe in the power of representation and how it impacts the people that see it and perceive it, most of the time, when we see representation of womxn in media it tends to be a bit “monochromatic”. I’d like to believe that my work represents the different qualities that womxn can embody in a deeper range that is not often explored Portfolio: https://t.co/e4N2WnOFvk?amp=1 IG: thatsteph_c Twitter: The_StephC
"Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself." Promise Ogunleye, she/her/hers (2019). I don’t see my poetry as academic. I write in free verse almost all the time and I just allow myself to say what I want to before thinking about style or shape. This poem is about growth for me, because it references something that I have never been comfortable with, which is my name. Growing up uncomfortable with the first thing people will know about you is tough. Having a “difficult” name to pronounce makes it harder. I have grown a lot since then but confronting this head on is growth for me-- it is a step into living loud and proud in all of my identities starting with my immigrant one. IG: yorubajawn Twitter: prammise
“Untitled.” SleepySarubi, she/her/hers (2019). [digital collage with photo edits] “Something from my work was missing. I always said that I wanted my work to reflect my very soul, so I started physically putting myself, or pieces of myself into the collages. It’s liberating and groundbreaking for my own personal growth as an artist and as a person to see myself become the very artwork that others marvel at.” IG: Sleepy.Sarubi Twitter: SarubiSpirits_
“Angry Black Womxn.” Bianca Brown, she/her/hers (2019). [poem] "This poem is a promise to myself that I will no longer dim my energy, my emotions, nor myself so that I may be "digestible" to the world around me. It is a promise to always be unapologetically myself & I hope it inspires other black womxn--specifically black queer womxn--to do the same." IG: brokebackbianca
“Untitled.” Jessica Jackson, she/her/hers (2019). [painting of Brent Faiyaz, "Sonder Son"] "I find it rare that we uplift Black artists through portraiture the same way we've uplifted so called 'white heroes' and ‘revolutionaries.' Through my work, it's been my personal mission to showcase Black artists in positions of power— especially in fine art, which has historically been a field dominated by white artists and white subject matter. My goal is to change that narrative. I wouldn't submit it to another outlet (a) because I believe in supporting my friends and their ventures, and (b) the platforms that you submit to say a lot about your work. While this painting is based off of Brent Faiyaz's "Sonder Son" album, I believe that his forward-looking glance can and should be interpreted as a nod towards the future rather than a glimpse at the past.” IG: j.donatella
"Survival." Sage Forest, she/her/hers, (2019). [poem] IG: sagestopTwitter: sageisaplant
“Fruit Series.” LUNA, she/her/hers (2019). [series of five prints, “mania, the ride,” “Is this all you see?” "Orange Isolation,””onward,”and “Empty movements"] Due to art being a very personal practice for LUNA-- she hopes to captivate her viewers through the figurative expression of the human body and the subtle connotations of her own personal connections as both an artist, a LGBTQ+ woman, and as well as her journey of dealing with Bipolar disorder. Within the "fruit series" you can see the connection of the dismal state of isolation due to depression and the beauty that can easily hide the true meaning behind the something that goes unlooked unless told. "Similar to how most things go my art was first for myself, and over time it became much more than that. More often than not women are pressured into feeling guilty and ashamed for who they are and for what they're not. I find it almost necessary for women to understand that they've been seen. They have been seen as they are and that within every aspect of it contains beauty. Although not all of what i create is geared towards this-- it's definitely a consistent objective.” Portfolio: artbyluna-c.com IG: lunaccy Twitter: lunnaccy