Postcards to Voters (and an update)

Hello! It’s been a long time since I posted on this blog. I have abandoned social media for various reasons and will be attempting to post here at least weekly instead (I’ve said that a million times before, but I’m hoping this time is different).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been feeling really uncomfortable about sharing my journals and art online. I had been dealing with a lot of heavy personal issues prior to California going into lock down, but it felt selfish to broadcast my problems when people around the world were – and still are – facing much greater hardship. When George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis, MN in May and the protests began, I felt even more insensitive and selfish to post personal art. I spent a few weeks wrestling with myself about how to proceed with my Instagram account while continuing to educate myself, share resources in my stories, and doing what I could to support Black Lives Matter.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of the resources mention voting in the US elections in November. I am a British citizen living as a permanent resident in California so, unfortunately, that isn’t an option for me. I was exploring ways that I could help and I stumbled across Postcards to Voters, which is an initiative that sends “friendly, handwritten reminders from volunteers to targeted voters giving Democrats a winning edge in close, key races coast to coast.”

I remembered that my husband got a postcard like that during the mid-terms and I thought it was really cute and thoughtful; much better than an invasive phone call/text or unsolicited email – I even added it to my journal:

A cute postcard with cats on it, sent to my husband from Postcards to Voters in the 2018 mid-terms and stuck in my art journal.
A cute postcard with cats on it, sent to my husband from Postcards to Voters in the 2018 mid-terms and stuck in my art journal.

I thought this was a perfect way to get involved as an artist and awkward introvert! I made sure that I was eligible to take part as a non-citizen of the US, and signed up. In mid-June I was approved by Postcards to Voters and sent these handmade postcards off to Florida to encourage Democrats to register to vote by mail, which is going to be super important in November:

Handmade postcards made for Postcards to Voters with illustrations of cute dogs and a butterfly encouraging Democrats to vote in the US election in November 2020; the postcards were created with ink and acrylic markers.
June 2020

They were so much fun to make and felt like I was doing something to help rather than feeling woe-is-me and unable to contribute. I’m planning to get a couple of the designs printed and be part of more campaigns in the coming months!

I’m still thinking about my art and my journals and how I want to proceed, but I will be sharing more here and probably working through all of that as I go along. I recently finished the journal I’ve been working on since lock down, so that will probably be next week’s blog post.

I’m also planning to add a list of what I’ve been listening to, watching, and reading (and recommend!) each week to keep sharing resources and to hold myself accountable. I have also added a link to a Black Lives Matter resource card at the top of my website.

This week I was…

Listening to

Watching

Reading

Hope you are all staying safe and well. Take care of yourselves.

For the Record: Morgan Hess

Welcome to the return of For the Record! For those unfamiliar with the original series from 2015, For the Record is an ongoing interview series with all types of journal keepers. It aims to explore the different ways you can approach journaling, showcase an array of work, and emphasize there is no “wrong” or “right” way to journal. I’m very pleased to share the first interview in the new series with Morgan Hess.

About Morgan

My name is Morgan (she/her). While I study and work in neuroscience, art has always been more than a hobby to me. There’s a strong disconnect between science and art. When I started posting my art online, I was encouraged by my peers in neuroscience to use an alias, to only use my real name for research publications, but I refused. I am a multi-faceted person and I will not hide my art in order to be taken more seriously in my scientific endeavors.

1. Describe the type of journal you keep and your journal style.

I keep a small sketchbook to work in. Sometimes my journals are themed, for example, my last journal was primarily filled with plants and fungi. Most pages of my journals have quotes on them as well.

2. How long have you been a journal-keeper?

I started journaling in college, mostly because I didn’t have time for “real” art. It was about halfway through my second sketchbook that my girlfriend convinced me to start posting the sketches online. She convinced me that the art being in a journal doesn’t make it any less “real” than if it were a stand-alone piece.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

3. It took me a while to be convinced of that too. I’m glad we both realized that art in a journal doesn’t make it any less “real”! What are the reasons you keep a journal?

If I didn’t make art I’d go crazy. Art is how I cope, vent, celebrate, relax. It is a way to express myself. I like journals because they keep everything together. It’s one big art piece as well as dozens of little ones. I also enjoy journaling because I don’t take it as seriously. If I mess up it’s no big deal. I can cover it up, transform it, work with it, or even cut it out. There’s no pressure.

4. I love the idea that journaling is one big art piece as well as dozens of small ones – I hadn’t thought about it like that before. How often do you work in your journal?

I work in my journal pretty much everyday. It was my New Year’s resolution to draw everyday, even if it’s just a couple of marks on the page.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

5. Do you work in multiple journals or do you stick to one at a time?

I work in one at a time.

6. What are your favorite supplies to work with?

I love drawing with ballpoint pens and colored pencils. I love control, and that manifests in my art.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

7. What inspires you?

I get inspired by nature, quotes, music, books, people, anything really. I try to find beauty in every aspect of my life.

8. Do you use journal entries as a basis to create other work?

No, but I do sometimes play off the themes or quotes in an older page and make small connections throughout the journal.

Art journal spread by Morgan Hess

9. What are your thoughts on destroying journals?

I would never destroy my journals, but when they’re done I don’t do much with them. I don’t look back very often; I prefer constantly moving forward and transforming.

10. Thank you so much for answering these questions! Where else can we find you and your work online?

My Instagram is @morganhessart, my website is morganhessart.com and my Tumblr is also morganhessart (as you can see, I am very creative with the naming process).

Interested in being interviewed for For the Record? Get in touch!