I’m Black and I’m Proud by Jon Marzette

Day 23 — Poster posted on February 22, 2023

Jon Marzette

Pronouns: he/him
Located: Kansas City, MO

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a lover of all things bright, expressive, loud, quiet, and fun. I strive to bring creativity to Kansas City in anyway I can whether that’s through higher education at Kansas City Art Institute or through flyers and gigs around the city for DJ gigs. I love to help.

What is the inspiration behind your poster design?

Working from a prompt of “I’m black and I’m proud”, there’s so many direct ties to black empowerment and representation. My approach towards this was showcasing an older, vintage image of a real black family with a border of flowers and plant life around the outside of the frame. This inspires me because, while my situation changes daily, this image of my family is a real representation of what I come from and where I am. I’m proud to be black and come from this image. The more modern plant imagery highlights life, abundance, and the beauty that it is be black and what that represents.

Why do you love being creative?

Being creative comes natural. In all the ways that standard communication like words fail, creativity is an amazing outlet to flush out all the things that don’t quite come as easy with words. Sometimes they have to come out in action, with drawing, with music, with something else that a simple conversation can’t do. Exploring emotions and thoughts in ways you never thought or new is a feeling that will never ever get old.

Tell us about your experiences in the design world…

My experience is one that I’m sure many other black people experience in the space which is sometimes you find yourself being the only person of color within a specific design space. This is two fold. The best ideas and directions need a multitude of people from different ages, backgrounds and beliefs. Diversity is absolutely key. However, sometimes you find yourself sometimes pushed into a box of being the representative of your race. Specific tone, voice, and thought processes can be a struggle to get across but at the end of the day, having a unique position within the design world and having a message to get out is always a key place to begin any sort of artist exploration or problem solving.

How can we create a more inclusive design world and ensure that Black people are represented?

It takes conscious effort to be just be at least aware of the problem. Nothing begins without awareness and once you’re aware of a lack of representation, taking steps to integrate those voices, or lack of, is the best way to make sure any and all people are heard in a niche market like our world of design. But in general, highlighting and showcasing what we DO have is a big big step for representation. Seeing is believing. And having people see that the black voice is in design as well will encourage more people to take that step as well.

In general… How can we make more equity or equality for us?

Making sure we reinvest in our own platforms and also reaching out for collaborations is always the key to more and more progress. Like I mentioned earlier, seeing that something is possible is a huge step with progress in the design world and everyone needs heroes, peers, and collaborators. A simple like, share, or inquiry in the black design world can be the easiest way to just get the energy moving.

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