Please tell us about your clothing line and how it began.
CG4E: Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA, is the world’s oldest and largest non-profit visual art center for adult artists with disabilities. The Art Center is a meeting ground, a community, and a support system for artists with disabilities who have found their creative outlet. The bodies of work that these artists create is beyond prolific, they have found their voice. Our clothing line, Creative Growth for Everybody, recognizes that art is a window into the creative soul, and our fashion line acts as a blank canvas for the artist’s expression.
To me, your clothing is a great example of how art is the great connector; by appreciating someone’s work, you have a window in to their perspective. Perspective sharing is the precursor to empathy, which makes the world go ’round! Do you think that people wearing the clothes are making a connection to the experience of the artist?
CG4E: People who wear the clothes definitely feel a connection to the artist, and we reinforce that by printing the artist’s name on each shirt. Also, on our web store that launches this week, we invite people to shop by artist. Everyone connects to different form of expression; some love the abstractions of Dan Miller, some the gothic renderings of Aurie Ramirez. It all depends on which artist speaks to you.
Tell us about The Misunderstood by Ray Vickers and what Scarlett Johannsen is doing to relay his important message.
CG4E: Ray Vickers intuitively captures the idea of Outsider Art from an inside perspective with The Misunderstood. On top of being a talented artist, Ray is a huge comic book and super hero fan. Needless to say he was excited to have ‘Black Widow’ wear his work!
Scarlett Johansson has been an incredible champion for Creative Growth; she rocks the clothes, loves the art, and demonstrates that Everybody understands how it feels to be “Misunderstood.” Bullett Magazine recently did an article on Scarlett Johansson and Nate Naylor’s favorite art, of which Creative Growth artist William Scott’s paper mache Darth Vader Mask was showcased.
We recognize how fortunate we are to have her as our spokes-person, spreading the message of Creative Growth for Everybody.
We (like you) are determined to harness the power of social media to give artists with diffabilities access to meaningful employment. How much of the sales go directly to the artists?
CG4E: The Creative Growth Art Center directly receives a royalty for each artwork that is screen printed on our shirts – we try to represent a broad spectrum of artists. On top of that, the Art Center is given a percentage of sales. With our online store and social media outreach, we hope to be able to not only increase awareness for the art center but also continue to support their artists.