SaveArtSpace has partnered with Tumblr to bring Public Art to Austin, Tx. for SXSW.

2018 promises to be a historic year. The midterm election will be a referendum on countless issues central to the our communities: Racial justice, immigration, healthcare, education, LGBTQ+ equality, and more. It all comes during a once in a generation resurgence of activism and volunteerism. We want to inspire the community to write the history of 2018 as it happens. 

When historians write about 2018-- What would you want them to say and what will you do to make it happen?  #WhatWillYouDo

This public art exhibition is made possible by Tumblr.

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Kemi Yemi-Ese Beast It

Artist Statement
It is the human condition to explore, to seek excellence, and to create. The physical limitations we experience don’t always deter our endeavors but can inspire us to defy seemingly insurmountable odds. When you acknowledge the presence of the infinite within you, you then become drawn to the things that reflect and echo those boundless circumstances. In 2006, I was involved in a car accident that resulted in paralysis in most of my body. Being an artist with a physical disability has taught me much about inner strength and has given me a deeper insight regarding limitations. Every living thing has limits whether they are physical, mental, or emotional. In my experience, these limitations are not as indomitable as they appear, and I seek to test the strength of my own limitations through my art.  The emotions and stories that I paint are inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit and the painting Beast It depicts this strongly. The young child is establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with. She shouts with the confidence of a person who will fulfill their purpose no matter what obstacles may be in their path. My current work explores resiliency further as it relates to culture and identity.

Artist Bio
Nigerian-American artist, Kemi Yemi-Ese, resides in Austin, Texas and has shown her art nationally as well as in and around the Austin area. Most recently her work was on display at Austin City Hall as part of the 2017-2018 People’s Gallery Exhibition. Following a near tragic car accident in 2006, Kemi became paralyzed and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Her art reflects the struggles and triumphs that living with a disability entail through imagery that is relatable. Her current work is heavily inspired by her Nigerian heritage blending v brant and contemplative portraits with cultural exploration.



Olaniyi’s work focuses on moments of time, fleeting moments that can be easily forgotten or transformed. Reflecting on rural versus urban life, the accelerated pace of development, and social infrastructure, his work e plores the personal and the universal, investigating the invisible systems of power that govern everyday existence. He utilizes a multitude of techniques and materials, including re-purposed objects, which may result in mixed media painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography, sound, or performance.

Ultimately, his work is designed to create comfort, peace, and solace. He believe that art can be a balm to the soul, revealing a quiet inner truth. His art is a reflection of the joys of life, directly inspired by rhythm, harmony, and the movement of daily existence.

Olaniyi Rasheed Akindiya aka AKIRASH, was born in Lagos - Nigeria. His first degree in BIOCHEMISTY from the University of Agriculture Abeokuta in Nigeria (1991). Later he studied Fine and Applied Art at the Institute of Textile Technology Art and Design in Lagos - Nigeria (1995). He moved to USA in 2011. He now live between Lagos, Nigeria and Pflugerville, Texas, USA.

Olaniyi is a recipient of the Innovative Artist Award from the Mid America Artist Alliance (MAAA / NEA) for 2017, Pollock Krasner Foundation Award 2016/17 & 2011, Cultural Initiative & Capacity Building Grant, Culture Alive from city of Austin 2016/17, the Santo Foundation grant 2015, and the Commonwealth Connection Award UK 2011.

Throughout his career, the role of residencies and interactions with other artists has been pivotal to his work. Olaniyi has been awarded residencies in the USA Residency Fellowship at International Studio and Curator al Program NY 2016/17, Oklahoma State University Museum of Art 2015, University of Texas in Austin 2015, Santa Fe Art Institute Residency Award 2015, Mass gallery (Hot box Residency in Austin TX 2014, Centraltrak UT Dallas 2013, Residency at Triangle Art Association New York 2012, residency at the Vytlacil of Art Students League New York, Residency Fellowship at Vermont studio Center 2011, Fellowship Residency at Bluesky Project Woodstock – Chicago 2008, artists in Residency at Artcroft Kentucky. Internationally, Olaniyi has been awarded residencies Art at the Heart Award 2016 & 17 in Western Australia, Sacatar Instituto Fellowship Residency Brazil 2015, Kiosko Gallery Residency in Bolivia 2014, Fellowship Residency at John Muafangejo Art Center Namibia 2013, Fellowship Residency at Nafasi Art Space Tanzania 2012, Tupelo / Bag Factory Residency South Africa 2012, Nirox Projects Space Residency Johannesburg- South Africa 2012, Residency at Gladstone Gallery Toronto - Canada 2011, Centre for contemporary Art Residency Lagos- Nigeria 2010, Thami Mnyele Foundation Amsterdam-The Netherlands 2010, and Sansa Triangle International Residency in Kumasi – Ghana 2009.

Olaniyi’s work was exhibited at the 12th edition of Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar- Senegal 2016. He also participated in Chale Wote Street Festival Accra – Ghana 2013, International Multimedia Festival Yagon-Myanmar 2012, infecting the City Street Festival Cape Town – South Africa 2012, and the East Africa Biennale (ESTAFAB), Dar Sallam - Tanzania 2005 & 2007.

His works and writing has been featured in several publications including Aesthetica Magazine (Issue 80), Important World Artists Vol 1, Hidden Treasure Art Magazine UK, Virtual Residency 2006/2007 Germany, Freedom to Create Prize 2009, ART EDUCATION (The journal of the national art education association Vol 68, No. 6) Studio Visit Magazine Vol 26 & Vol 34, Critical Interventions (journal of African Art History & Visual Culture. NOV 11). Spring 2013, Reechantments (The City in the Blue Daylight) Dak’Art 12th Edition 2016.

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Valerie Bentley Do Likewise

Artist Statement

“Do Likewise,” is about the creation and growth that is produced from one selfless act of kindness towards one’s neighbor. The girl is the embodiment of a raven mending a dove. I chose spools of thread because they are used to both repair and create.  The dove’s olive branch of peace has bloomed into a lush banner of inspiration to return home with, and rays of light have been stitched together to shine the way.

I wanted to create an illustration that is empowering and uplifting to the community and the world in conflicting times.

Artist Bio

Valerie Bentley b. 1982, in McAllen, TX to missionaries to Mexico. Living in that region exposed her to the beautiful colors in Mexican folk art, which she has never been reluctant to display in her art. Her father was an artist, and began teaching her how to draw portraits at a very young age. She attended Parsons School of Design, New York, in hopes to study fashion. She was greatly intrigued by the compositions of haute couture runway creations, and learned some garment construction from her mother on an antique treadle sewing machine. "It was the allure of Valentino Red that caught my eye on the runway." In attendance, however, her love for drawing and painting won, and she chose Illustration as her major. She graduated from Parsons in 2005 with a BFA in illustration. 

After graduation, she moved to the Austin, TX and created art mainly for personal enjoyment while focusing on family. In 2016, she set out to build her art career once again, and has been exhibiting her paintings in her hometown of Round Rock.

Her influences include artists Gustav Klimt, Rene Magritte, Peter Max, religious portraiture, contemporary pop surrealists and other modern illustrators. Her childhood love for portraiture and fashion can be seen in much of her work. She includes fanciful arabesque patterns seen in art nouveau and textile designs.  Much of her inspiration comes from nature in her local area. Metal leafing can be seen in many of her recent works. "It's like jewelry is to an outfit. Glamour and pizazz!" She is focused on how to use her love for decorative arts and surrealism in a way to add visual intrigue and conceptual meaning to her paintings.

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Brian Butler

Artist Statement
The focus of this piece is Miami's annual LGBTQ event, Wigwood. The weekend is celebratory of all types of queer performances, bands, vendors, DJ's and lectures. Possibly the most touching moment this year, was when a surprise Trans Is Beautiful banner appeared on stage behind performer Jupiter Velvet. The banner was revealed moments after stripping down to reveal a Trans Lives Matter undergarment, and was met with roaring ovation. It is a simple yet striking statement that I hope resonates with those who could use the encouragement in Austin.

Artist Bio
Brian Butler is a Miami based illustrative journalist. His work is often made onsite, and depicts events as they unfold. His favorite part of his practice is the opportunity to showcase bands, artists, and movements in a unique fashion.

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Sarah Zucker

Artist Statement
I use vintage video equipment in my work to evoke a sense of the past, and use glitch techniques to break down these familiar forms and create something entirely new. The piece “DEMAND CHANGE” speaks to our modern cultural climate and its tendency towards regression. My hope is that, if we must revisit the past, we can glitch and break these old societal tropes and affect meaningful change that will move us towards lasting progress in the 21st century.

Artist Bio
Sarah Zucker is an artist + writer based in Los Angeles. Her work combines obsolete and cutting edge technologies with performance to yield visions of a neon future that never was.

She runs YoMeryl, an art + animation studio, with partner Bronwyn Lundberg, and produces curatorial projects as The Current Sea.


Libby VanderPloeg

Artist Statement
I created this piece to show a voters across demographics taking action to make their voices heard. Voting is the most fundamental tool we have for political change. Yes, we still have a lot of ground to gain in making our voting system more fair and equal, but that's even more reason to head to the polling place. Our votes can help elect officials that fight against systems of voter suppression, and work to create more inclusive world. I hope this piece might rally some voter energy in this important election year.

Artist Bio
Libby VanderPloeg is a Michigan-based illustrator and artist. She grew up on the edge of the Great Lakes dunes in a small town called Grand Haven and has since lived in Grand Rapids, Chicago, Brooklyn, and Stockholm. She's best known for her whimsical, colorful city maps and quirky animated gifs, several of which have gone viral. Her work comes out of a deep affinity for storytelling and appreciation of human connections.


Saskia Wariner

Artist Statement
After experimenting with digital and analog drawing mediums like watercolors, gel pens, ballpoint pen, and Photoshop, I went back to drawing with pencil on paper. It feels the most natural and comforting to me.
Through the process of drawing, I seek to capture the outlines and colors of my memory to create a safe space. Nature, experiences, and emotions steadily inspire me to draw.

After moving from Berlin to New York City, I felt overwhelmed by the pollution, and had limited access to recreational space; as a result, I began drawing idyllic scenes from memory including little pieces from trips I made in my childhood. This series, called Countryside, is heavily influenced by Japanese children's book author Misumasa Anno.

Description of the work
“YES” is pencil drawing draw on paper from memory, scanned, manipulated and digitally colored. The color palette combines muted earth colors, pastel tones, and a bright red. Each letter represents an ideal situation or picturesque world. The content of this piece is influenced by the current political climate as well the #MeToo movement.

Artist Bio
Saskia Wariner is a Brooklyn-based German illustrator and has been drawing from memory since she could hold a pencil. She studied “Communication Design” at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf, Germany. Since then she worked independently as a freelance illustrator with clients such Penguin Random House, Cosmopolitan, VANS and many more. She also has self-published zines with personal drawings and comic art.


Gabriella Sanchez

Artist Statement
The theme for me for 2018 is moving forward. Continuing to shape my own future and helping people from my community shape their’s as well. Supporting each other in our own efforts and moves to form our lives. Saying our future WILL BE…and leaving those who want to still debate our capabilities as women or our humanity as poc. Being open and uncomfortable. And to bring my family and community with me rather then letting a certain level of success build walls that separate me from the girl I was and am. For the struggle my dad went through to try to survive as a man marked by prison - when all he really needed was employment, therapy and the feeling he could make his own future…for the grief I faced as a girl…for my family and the love, strength, truth, vitality and brilliance we some how created. WE HAVE A FUTURE. Our future will be. ️

Artist Bio
Gabriella Sanchez is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles.

She received her BFA in Fine Art in 2011. After graduating Gabriella moved to Paris where she worked as an au pair and freelance graphic designer. It was at that time that she began to integrate graphic design with her fine art practice. This resulted in a commission for her first commercial art project by the French magazine, Le Particulier.

In 2016 she established an art studio under her own name and was quickly commissioned by clients such as NIKE, The White House, Refinery29, Toyota, Nasty Gal, Planned Parenthood and more.

This summer, Gabriella will have her first solo exhibit with Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles.The show will center around a series of large scale paintings focusing on the tension of duality in terms of visually convoluting the line between subjects such as Mexican and American, us and them, personal experience and universal experience.

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Anisha Sisodia

Artist Statement
This set of photos is from a newly developing project she calls TO THE FUTURE.

What does our future look like? This is often somewhat of a scary question in today's world. People in power are scary, violence is widespread, the earth is deteriorating, and citizens are denied of their rights all day, everywhere. This sounds a bit like a horror film, and I'm not denying that it feels and may be a reality of ours in the near future. But recently I have also noticed a lot of strength, resilience & solidarity from various communities. Maybe the future could be painted in a different way for us to ingest and imagine. People who are marginalized, who choose to express themselves in ways not defined in the barriers of socio norms, and those who can't fight against or prove to the masses their true self based on the way they look may feel pessimistic or at a loss for something to protect themselves. These are the people I want to help represent in the future. To show them in a light where they have flourished, risen & beat the hands that have pushed down their worth during the totality of their lives. What does this look like? It looks happy, it looks unique, it looks expressive, it looks cool, it looks free.

I want to work with those to help capture a portrait of them as this future self. Give them a space where they can feel safe, themselves, experimental & comfortable in; their normal, natural self.

Artist Bio
Anisha is a content creator & collaborator currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She describes her images as emotionally provocative, experimental & colorful. Every time she shoots she tells a story, always searching and establishing an intent & purpose into the space. At the moment Anisha seeks to work with people from a variety of creative backgrounds to combine forces in new ways. She hopes to further her work through using her ideas not only to inspire others, but also to bring awareness on important topics surrounding gender equality, self-expression, social norms & cultural representation.

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Hannah Sider

Artist Statement
This piece represents a special moment in time where we lay in a poppy field at sunset and laughed so hard we cried. It was a rare day where the weight of the world ceased to exist and we just appreciated each other and the incredible beauty around us. I hope my art can unite people and be a light in dark times.
Artist Bio
Raised between Toronto and Malawi, Hannah Sider always knew she would end up in New York if she was going to pursue her growing passion for photography. Now, the New York-based photographer works with some of the biggest names in fashion and music. Between shooting for huge brands like Nike and Guess to working with artists like Asap Rocky and Wiz Khalifa, Hannah combines many different worlds and shoots it all on 35mm.

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Julia Chesky

Artist Statement
My photography is split into two bodies of work. One is focused on immediacy, a compulsive need to take images of daily life with anything available. Being at the mercy of what comes across my way and a twist of luck, fate and sometimes fast running.

This work focuses on small life details that are often forgotten, deemed unworthy of a photograph, or so bizarre they must be shared with others.

The second body has a more romantic approach to life, beauty, nature, and fashion. It is the pop culture/art loving, well studied, the commercial side of my eye. Both often come together to compliment each other, sometimes crossing path on projects, but one cannot exist without the other being nurtured.

Artist Bio
Julia Chesky is a Parsons educated photographer based in New York City.

She’s traveled and worked around the world for clients such as Chloé, Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang, Hugo Boss, Jason Wu, Nars Cosmetics, Ralph Lauren, Samsung, Toyota, and T-Mobile.

She enjoys shooting with small film cameras, big DSLRs, natural light, building in Photoshop, and gathering airline miles. She has been shooting digitally since 2001, on a cellphone since 2006, and professionally since 2008.

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Kate Owen

Artist Bio
Kate Owen is an award-winning photographer based in New York City. Her work varies from dramatic desert landscapes and cultural scenes to fashion editorials in magazines and online. Always attempting to stay ahead of the curve, Kate is an energetic and adventurous professional currently experimenting with multimedia in photography.

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Atong Atem

Artist Bio
Atong Atem is a South Sudanese artist and writer from Bor living in Narrm Melbourne. Her work explores postcolonial practices in the diaspora, the relationship between public and private spaces and the politics of looking and being looked at.

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