Blackbird Revolt is a team of creatives and organizers who work to raise the voices and increase the visibilty of marginalized groups. They recently published APRÈS, an elegant, beautifully designed and written zine that started out as a way to honor Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson, and Isaac McGhie at the 100 year mark of their lynching. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others caused them to change direction with the project. The zine now contains content to help people who want to make meaningful change happen, but may need some suggestions for next steps, and ways to sustain the energy. This week in Selective Focus, we take a look at the work of Blackbird Revolt, and hear how they use their skills as artists and organizers to support, challenge, engage and change.
Please tell us about yourself and your work, and how you came to work in your style.
Influenced by artists and activists, Blackbird Revolt was founded by Jordon and Terresa Moses who felt compelled to engage their community through art and design. The idea to form the company came about in Fall of 2016. We noticed the continued lack of representation and the intentional exclusion of diverse and intersectional voices from the dominant narrative. We are an alternative to that exclusion: A network of artists, designers, photographers, painters, writers, orators and more. Blackbird Revolt acts as a platform for these conscious creatives.
As a team, we seek ways to support the causes we care about while providing opportunities for others to do the same. Through graphic design, organizational visioning, and other forms of art, we aim to inspire people to engage in dialogue and activism. Blackbird Revolt aspires to break the social and political barriers that keep us caged. Our designs go beyond media and apparel, we find creative solutions to help challenge the way people think about the world.
As designers our “style” works to fit our partners’ message and needs. As artists, our style is gritty, minimal, and geometric. Our personal projects revolve around issues of race and social justice, so our inspiration comes from the resiliency and fast pace of movement work.
How long have you been working in this medium?
Collectively, we’ve been involved in movement building through visioning and creativity for over 16 years.
How do the skills each of you have fit together to form Blackbird Revolt?
Jordon is the visionary director. Although he is also an artist, he works primarily in the conceptualizing phase of Blackbird Revolt projects — client acquisition, synthesizing messaging, project planning, visual brainstorming, and ideation.
Terresa is the creative director. She works to visually conceptualize the synthesized message of our partners through illustration, print, media, and web design.
What are the challenges and / or rewards from doing what you do?
Movement work centering on justice is overall a challenge when you are fighting a racialized and oppressive system as a Black queer-owned business. Liberation from white supremacy is something we push against daily as individuals and as a business while we vision a world where we can live free in our holistic and intersectional identities.
Because our work is primarily with community organizations and initiatives, we’ve had to find creative ways to work and be compensated in our communities in an equitable way. This involves participating in fundraisers, writing grants, and developing payment plans/options that work well with partners – all of which you wouldn’t find a traditional design agency involved.
Our rewards come to us when we are able to amplify the voices and narratives of marginalized groups.
Any upcoming projects, exhibits, or challenges you are facing?
We have quite a few projects in the works that will be released this summer, much like our zine, Après. You can stay up to date on projects at blackbirdrevolt.com/news.
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