About the Art: The Family Values Issue

A unique feature of our print magazine is the artwork we feature throughout each issue: comics, independent art, illustration, and hand lettering. Not only is it a crucial part of the stories we want to tell, but including it means that we get to work with a whole crew of awesome, smart, unique feminist artists each quarter. Here’s a bit about our latest crop of talent.

Illustrators featured in the Family Values issue

Aimee FlomLydia FuColin LaurelElisha LimMagdalena MoraEllen WeinsteinBianca XuniseShelbee Smith

In order pictured:

Aimee Flom (reviews section) is a freelance illustrator living, working, and drinking copious amounts of earl grey tea in Portland, Oregon. When not getting ink on her hands she can be found in the kitchen putting kettle on. The fictional family she would most like to be adopted by is the Addams family.

Lydia Fu (“ ‘The Stuff of Pulp Fiction’:Race, Gender, and Reasonable Self-Defense”) is an illustrator and animator with a hard spot for new school but a soft spot for old school. She is based in Chicago where she originally studied Chemistry (at the University of Chicago) before going on to study Animation at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC. The fictional family she would most like to be adopted by would probably be the Simpsons.

Colin Laurel (“#ItHappenedToUs,”) is a queer illustrator of color enamored with nature, motion, music, and mythology. The fictional family he would most like to be adopted into is: the vagabond trio from Tokyo Godfathers, because all things considered, they handled their holidays pretty well. 

Elisha Lim (“Adventures in Feministory” portrait and story) is an award-winning claymation filmmaker and the Lambda nominated author of 100 Crushes, a graphic novel that documents sissies, butches, convent girls and the use of the gender neutral pronoun “they,” in every city that Lim has ever fallen in love. 

Magdalena Mora (“Reverberations”) is an illustrator/ designer and writer from the Midwest. By day, Mora works in arts education/administration and moonlights as a freelancer, taking on projects ranging from book design and editorial illustration to email marketing and blog writing. When not on the internet, you can catch her people-watching, reading, or eating breakfast tacos. Mostly the latter.

Ellen Weinstein (“Jew Kid on the Block”) is an award-winning illustrator and educator born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of the Pratt Institute and New York’s High School of Art and Design. Ellen exhibits her work, lectures, and conducts workshops in various art schools and internationally. She is an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design and a guest lecturer at The Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia Journalism School. She is on the Board of Directors of the Society of Illustrators, and serves as Chairperson of the Museum Committee. You can also find her on instagram, aka her dog’s fan page.

Bianca Xunise (“Drawn Out” comic) is an illustrator based out of Chicago Illinois, that focuses her work on childhood memories, womanhood, and daily anxieties. She aspires to have work that is not only relevant to young hearts, but also showcases representation for women of color. The fictional family she’d most like to be adopted into is Professor Xavier’s School of Gifted Youngsters.

Shelbee Smith (hand lettering throughout the issue) will draw your dog for money. She wishes she was a better skateboarder. The fictional family she would most like to be adopted by is the Simpsons. Obviously, she would be the big sister Bart never had.

Family values cover by Lorraine Nam

The cover concept for this issue was a group effort from the whole Bitch family. We knew from the start that we wanted an image that would destabilize the traditional associations attached to family values. Armed with this desire to subvert the form by using the form, we were first drawn to the idea of the hearth and mantle. Further discussion had us considering the family dinner and the dinner table itself. The more we leaned in to this idea of family values, the thornier things got. Even as we settled on the kitchen as a dynamic site that could potentially hold ideas of nourishment, resistance, chosen and inherited family, we never came to an easy resolution. We struggled. How were class and race intersecting here? What about gentrification? Would we really be able to communicate a subversion of this scene? As is often the case when taking on an idea that comes with such multifaceted cultural weight, there is no easy line from idea to solution. We hoped to show a space of possibility and creativity, a place to gather and engage in the complex conversations we will need to have in the years ahead.

We decided on the medium of cut paper early in our explorations. While the illustration by Lorraine Nam is beautiful, the world she has built is also fragile: One quick breath of air would collapse it. We wanted that fragility on display, and hope it can be read as a reminder of the tenuous nature of the spaces we choose to gather in and the relationships we build. 

Lorraine Nam (cover illustration) is a paper illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. She is also the cofounder of the studio visit blog #FFFFFF Walls, and Illustrated Impact, a platform dedicated to spreading awareness of charities through illustration and personal stories.

by Kristin Rogers Brown
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Kristin Rogers Brown is a creative director, designer, and problem-solver. She was Bitch Media’s Art Director (2010-2018). When not designing, you can find her teaching illustration and design at PNCA or hoping to pet your dog. Follow her on twitter or instagram.

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