The inspiration, initially, came from a pretty simple place. My teenage years would have been different, maybe easier if I'd have gotten "The Birds & The Birds" talk alongside "The Birds & The Bees" talk.
Coming out at that age was difficult, to say the least. I remember feeling trapped, wishing I could fly away to another time or place, another life. And yet I didn't even have it as hard as some elsewhere, in other places or in other points in history. That's where this piece gets more complex.
If we're going to talk about being trapped, the pink triangle, for those who don't know, is the symbol gays were forced to wear in Nazi Germany. Along with Jews, other minority groups that included gays, blacks, and even the disabled were targeted and sent away to be killed in concentration camps. It’s worth noting that, 10 years prior, Germany was a democracy. Things fell apart when the fascists took over and not enough citizens stood up for one another when the targeting began.
Today, the pink triangle has been reclaimed by the queer community as a symbol of Pride. And so, for me, these birds and, now, the pink triangle are unified to represent freedom. I hope people will look at this piece and meditate on both the feelings of suffering and joy, the past and present, the somber and the beautiful that is intertwined in our shared history.
I say shared because we're all in this together, we all have to do our part, and our work is never done. Historically speaking, freedom doesn't come without a fight. It just doesn't. We've come a long way but, even today, LGBT rights are being chipped away or threatened.
Friends, when you talk to your kids, make sure to tell them about the birds and the birds, too, and let them know that that's okay. Being open-minded and staying aware of what's going on in the news is all we ask. Because looking out for another as a whole ensures that we are all free and remain that way.
Hi! I'm a freelance illustrator based in San Francisco.
For T-shirts, check out my page on Cotton Bureau:
This is a gallery-quality giclée art print on 100% cotton rag archival paper, printed with archival inks. Each art print is listed by sheet size and features a minimum one-inch border.