A year ago, I visited Bixby Bridge at Big Sur for the first time. We arrived at the bridge just as the sun was beginning to disappear, casting a warm golden light over everything. The bridge seemed to glow, and the landscape around it was unbelievably magnificent as the golden sunlight seemingly soaked every single blade of grass. Watching this scene, I felt like a little kid seeing nature for the first time.
I think about this feeling a lot.
Now, as I create art inspired by the outdoors as a full time job, I like to think that my work is inspired by these magical golden hours that spark childlike "ah-ha" moments. My hope for my life, and your lives too, is that I can get back to the pure excitement of seeing the world everyday, searching for the gold in each moment. I hope that my artwork reminds you of a gold moment where you were taken aback by the majesty of nature. The world around us really is so magical, we just have to be open to seeing it that way.
Furthermore, I feel deeply aware of the life circumstances that can make some of us more aptly able to see the magic in the world than others. I wanted this collection to give back to young people who have experienced trauma and displacement in an effort to ensure they receive help and healing. Each crewneck was printed by foster teens working with Doing Good Works, an organization that provides job opportunities and training for foster youth. Each journal was printed by Denik, an organization that builds schools in developing nations. And, as always, 10% of every single purchase is donated directly to the Equal Justice Initiative, an amazing organization that is addressing the massive problems that incarcerating children causes (among many other areas of criminal justice reform).
I encourage you to look for the gold in every moment, and to consider those who are hurting around you and how you can help them see the gold as well.
Interested in learning more about the critical need to address childhood trauma to promote healthy adulthood?
Here are some resources:
Short Term 12 - a film about foster youth & the unique issues facing teens in the system (watch it here)
When They See Us - a docuseries about the Central Park Five (watch it here)
Savage Inequalities - a book about education inequality by Jonathon Kozol (read it here)
Paper Tigers - a documentary about addressing childhood trauma in schools (watch it here)
Waiting for Superman - a documentary about education inequality (watch it here)
Enrique's Journey - a biographical book following a young boy migrating alone through Central America (watch it here)