<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Helenna. We met on twitter not too long ago, and she’s totes mcgotes one rad chiquita banana with a flare for all things flair! That’s right, Helenna here is what we call an artsy fartsy nerd. She’s a poet, into all things dramatic arts, and she’s going to come on board to write each week about her love of said drama. Well not like actual drama drama, like some cat fight shit – but you get the idea.
I only have one thing left to say … HIT IT HELENNA!!! </editorsnote>
As you all know from my first post, I am a “fan girl.” What I haven’t told you yet, is there is nothing I love more than “artivists.”
An “artivist” is someone who combines activism and art, and the boys of NOH8 do the best job of anyone I’ve ever seen. Ever. Period. Seriously. I first learned about the NOH8 Campaign back in 2009 and knew it was something that I wanted to support 100%.
I realize that this is a very politically charged blog post, but I’m sharing this because I see the NOH8 Campaign as a true testament to the power of art to evoke society’s emotions and propel change in a major way. No matter what one’s politics, I don’t think there is any denying that these images are powerful.
As their website states, the NOH8 Campaign is “a photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8” painted on one cheek in protest.
Three years since its inception, the NOH8 Campaign has grown to over 18,000 faces and continues to grow at an exponential rate. The campaign began with portraits of everyday Californians from all walks of life and soon rose to include politicians, military personnel, newlyweds, law enforcement, artists, celebrities, and many more.”
Jeff Parshly and Adam Bouska
The photos themselves are stunning. Adam is an extremely talented photographer. They would be incredible even if there was no particular cause to rally behind, or statement they are trying to make. But the fact that the right for gays and lesbians to marry, is at its core a human rights issue, makes these photos even more powerful.
I am so incredibly proud to be one of those 18,000 faces and did this vlog about my experience when I did the shoot for the first time.
And I loved the experience so much, I did another open shoot session with a group of fabulous ladies since then.
from left to right: with Miranda Allgood, Tanya Perez, Cristina Cimellaro, Bonnie Gillespie, Holly Elissa Lamaro, Kristen Nedopak, and Molly Holmer
What Adam and Jeff have created is amazing. They have kept an incredible fire burning for a cause that is extremely important and they have a team working with them including the amazing studio manager Christopher Hayden, who deserve serious props for doing an EXCEPTIONAL job.
Recently I attended the 3 year anniversary party for the campaign at the House of Blues on Sunset in LA and it was INCREDIBLE. The venue was transformed into a gallery to display many of the campaign photos, people could sign the NOH8 board on the wall and get temporary NOH8 tattoos on their cheeks, the DJ Brynn Taylor was phenomenal, Adam took photos live of celebrities onstage, they had brochures, there was an open bar for part of the night, a red carpet… It was GENIUS. Everything was incredibly well thought out and pitch perfect. BRAV-freaking-O!!!
from left to right: with True Blood’s Kevin Alejandro, Leah Cevoli, Kristen Nedopak, Barry Levy and Adam Bouska
All in all, I love this campaign.
I love everything it stands for. And while I’m sad that there has to be a 3 year anniversary for a silent protest against something that I believe is a basic human right, I am glad that this campaign is stronger than ever. Hopefully 20 years from now we’ll all be looking back at Prop 8 and saying “what’s the hell??? Why couldn’t everyone marry the person they love?”
But for now I am happy to be able to be a voice in the crowd saying “fuck Prop 8. I choose NOH8. “