On November 9th 2016 the US voted in a very contentious election. As the Electoral College results started pouring in, my heart froze and the bottom fell out of my stomach. The people started screaming into the void of fear and doubt at what could only be considered an affront to everything that had been hard fought and won. The hate was winning. The hate was overwhelming.
Crys Matthews, Fred Korematsu, and Fredrick Douglass - Illustrations by John Harman
I knew that this hate that I saw rising wasn't focused at me, but was pointed instead at many that I love. As a white, heterosexual, cisgendered man, I had come to terms that I was privileged. I accepted that and had already been engaging with my identity and looking for opportunities to use my privilege in ways that help boost the voices of people who are marginalized.
FaceMyWords is a project that came into being in the days after as I was looking for ways to use my design skills to help amplify the voices of those most affected by the world we would be moving into. The first designs were based on a series of poet portraits that used the words of a poem as the fill for the face. Those had begun as a way to explore Illustrator Draw more and find ways to show more with less.
George Takei, John Trudell, and Nelson Mandela- Illustrations by John Harman
FaceMyWords is intended to grow into a project where the words and faces of people currently affected by hatred directed at them can be shared via illustrations, photography, video, etc. To assist with building the initial library of illustrations, I reached out to Larry Cooney Jr. and asked use some of his existing illustrations as well as some new ones.
Malala Yousafzai and W.E.B. DuBois- Illustrations by John Harman