Do You Like Ethical Beauty? How About Ethical ... Art?
If you're reading this, chances are you already care about what's in the makeup and beauty products you use. At Kinder Beauty, we are all about vegan, cruelty-free, clean beauty. If that resonates, then you are in very good—beautiful, in fact!—company.
Another way we keep ourselves healthy and whole human beings is through art.
Art provides nourishment, beauty, and inspiration in a way nothing else can. And when the artists you support are vegan-minded, that means they bring that lovely Kinder Beauty ethos you already know and love to the rest of their lives, too. In other words, no animals are harmed in the making of their creations. That's something we can surely get behind.
So if you're curious about ways to align your values with art—whether you’re an aficionado or a dabbler yourself—read on for five tried-and-true tips that will ensure the art you support was created with a side of compassion.
1. See what’s out there.
You might be surprised how many people are combining vegan activism and art. To start, follow #veganpoets on Instagram or join the Vegan ARTivists Facebook group and get inspired. Seeing what others do is a nourishing experience in itself, and for those who want to get into creating art themselves, it’s great to see the breadth and depth of what we’re capable of.
2. Think outside the genre.
Poets like me might have a special place in our hearts for our fellow versifiers, but we can learn a lot about ourselves and our art from checking out artists, musicians, novelists, the list goes on.
The fact is, whether we’re using a pen, a paintbrush, or a guitar pick, we’re drawing from the same well of expression.
I was so inspired by visual artists Dana Ellyn and Jane O’Hara that I asked to use several of their images in my book of vegan poems, Kind. And listening to vegan-themed work from musicians as varied as TK the Artist, The Cro-Mags, Joy Askew, and The Smiths can inspire any creative types. Meanwhile, novels like Deb Olin Unferth’s Barn8 connect the dots between fiction and vegan activism in the most satisfying way, busting open the possibilities of the most prevalent art form around.
3. Build your basic toolbox.
Some of you may have already trained in the arts—degree programs, writing workshops, Rock Academies. But if you haven’t yet and you’re curious, seek them out! It could be a weekly drawing class through the local Y, a two-year Masters in Fine Arts, or anything in between. If you approach your creations with a vegan and environmentalist ethos, your training will not only help fine-tune those next-level skills of yours, but you'll be set up for success as an artist in ways you can't currently imagine. Years from now, that training you receive and the creations you make as a result of it can turn people onto your compassionate worldview. Art changes the world in a unique way, encouraging onlookers and consumers to think in new directions. One of the best ways to extend our values of being kinder is through art. It's powerful, to say the least.
4. Plunge in.
There are no art police in your bedroom. Pull out a sketchpad, sidle up to your ukulele, or crack open a notebook. You’ve seen what’s out there, you’ve dabbled in different genres, and you’ve started putting tools in your toolbox. Time to take them out! If you need moral support, find a friend or colleague with similar interests and like-minded values, and talk weekly about what you’re working on. Or share work with loved ones. Pretty soon, you’ll be signing up for the local virtual open mic.
5. Don’t forget the food!
There’s no question that some kitchen wizards are more artist than cook. As chef-in-residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, Bryant Terry’s mission is to create public programming that connects what you’d imagine—food, farming, and health—to activism, art, and culture through the lens of the African Diaspora. And what about pastry chefs like Berlin-based Juliana Tar, who works under the moniker CulinaryDots? Her creations should be under glass at The Met. These elevate what we put in our mouths to aesthetic transcendence, and that feeds more than a belly.
Gretchen Primack is a poet, educator, and indie bookseller living in New York's Hudson Valley.