This summer, artist Jennie Carr launched a series of paintings, fueled by the rage and sorrow she felt about the overturning of Roe and the loss of federal abortion rights. Now, her pop art is available for purchase. The prints range from $25 to $150, which is a special price for Ms. readers (they usually sell for double this price!). A large portion of the proceeds will be donated back to Ms. magazine to fuel our feminist reporting, rebelling and truth-telling.
Born in New York City and raised just outside of the city, Carr said she’s been an artist her entire life. “I was exposed to so much art at home and in the museums of NYC, especially with my mom,” Carr told Ms. “My parents always encouraged my interest in photography and painting and were big fans of my work.”
Below, Carr and I discuss the origins of her artistic inspiration, political motivation and sense of civic duty.
Szal: Where were you when Dobbs dropped? Can you tell us a little bit about that day and the days that followed?
Jennie Carr: I was having coffee at home when I heard the news on June 24. Even with the knowledge of the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s opinion to overturn Roe weeks earlier, I remember feeling stunned and confused … kind of lost and unable to find the words to make sense of what this meant and how it would impact us all … how it felt emotionally and physically.
I cried a little. It was a quiet intermittent crying that continued as I began painting. I had been working on a series of women, but the painting I made that morning had a very different mood. It was raw and sad and a little dark with some shame. It just came together and it expressed what I was experiencing.
I wanted to share it online but I was a bit hesitant. Traditionally i’ve used my social media to share what I find funny and beautiful—through my photos and paintings. I’m more ‘peace and love,’ and I’m not trying to get into it with people who have different opinions. But the anguish I felt made me feel like, ‘Oh fuck it, if not now then when? This is the exact moment to express what I’m feeling’—because i thought others would recognize something in it also.
The painting, “GOVT PROP USA” was the first of many expressions in an ongoing series.
Szal: What does the Equal Rights Amendment mean to you?
Carr: To me the subject of equality is less political and purely human and common sense.
“Equality of rights under the law, shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any state on account of sex.”
It’s pretty simple language and powerfully clear. No state or the nation can deny personal freedoms based upon gender. Period. Equality for all!
Szal: What do you think is the role of art in resistance movements?
Carr: Art—whether it’s visual art, spoken word, music, comedy—is a way to shine a light on the darknesses that creep up on us in society. Art can help people feel a full range of emotions and hopefully leads to a questioning of why you feel those things and how the feelings and thoughts shift and work with each other.
I like to incorporate humor whenever possible in my art and my life. I appreciate how art can open minds and can be a bridge between us. I guess art can push people further apart also, but it is meant to express and expose raw truth. I think art gives us hope by showing us what is beautiful and what isn’t and what’s still possible. Mostly though, art allows people to feel.
Szal: Is there anything in particular you’d like Ms. readers to know or do?
Carr: I want to thank all of the Ms. readers, especially the longtime Ms. readers who continue to work for peace and equality for all. It’s sad to think of how long so many people have had to fight for women to attain equality. The heartbreak they must feel to see the overturning of Roe almost 50 years later. Thank you, for not giving up. None of us can afford to be afraid to speak up for equality. I’m really enjoying the wide audience this new series is reaching.
Keep a sense of humor and don’t lose sight of the beauty of the world. Be kind because now, as much as ever, we all need to support one another.
To purchase posters and/or giclée prints of my work visit my shop at: cloudfarmindustries.bigcartel.com. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Ms. magazine and its publisher, Feminist Majority Foundation. Thank you!
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