Recognizing that identity plays a central part in the conversations we have with young people in the classroom, we recently revamped our curriculum to feature personas more closely aligned with the communities we serve. To do this we reached out to Taylor ‘Lor’ Roberts, a New York City artist. You may have seen some of her beautiful illustrations on our social media platforms as we have since used these illustrations to also represent our diverse volunteers during this recruitment season. Read more to learn about Taylor and what inspires her.
Q. I know that you worked with our project lead Kavita Shah, Manager, Program Design & Development—what was your inspiration for the illustrations?
A. My inspiration for the Peer Health Exchange illustrations were my own experiences in school. The characters reminded me a lot of my peers when I was in middle and high school as well as myself.
Q. What are some of the themes you like to explore in your work and why?
A. In my own work, I like to explore themes of identity and the performance of identity. I find inspiration in those around me and most draw upon the expressions of identity from individuals in marginalized communities. How do people declare themselves in a society that has already declared them something else? With my work, I like to interrogate the status quo. For example, rather than asking “what does it mean to be Black” I tend to ask “how does it feel to be Black.” In short, I like to ask questions that I feel paint a wider, less essentialized view of identity and expression.
Q. As an artist, which brands or other artists inspire you and why?
A. I’m personally always inspired by artists who work in mediums I do not, like painters and sculptors. I work digitally so to see brushstrokes and fingerprints on a piece always captivates me. Also, I’m inspired by artists and brands who uplift other artists.
Q. Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
A. Fun Fact: Given enough time I could name every country (Kiribati is one that always escapes my mind, however.)
Q. Anything else you would like to share?
A. Something I’d like to share: I’ve started a magazine called Gangst which functions as a way to amplify the voices of young people of color. It is submission based so any person of color who writes or makes music or art is welcome to submit. We’re on Instagram @gangstmagazine
Lor is a Long Island-born NYC based artist and designer who makes movies, magazines, typos, and illustrations. She is always in the mood for The Rolling Stones and making obscene Venmo requests to loved ones. To visit her website please click here.