IT'S ON US: CREATING CONTENT FOR THE WHITE HOUSE
WNW Member #10191 Gabriella Sanchez recently visited the White House to attend an It's On Us panel with keynote speaker Vice President Joe Biden. The organization is making strides in spreading sexual assault awareness and bringing positive changes to policies involving schools, specifically on college campuses. Through the Tumblr Creatrs project, Gabriella was tasked with creating creative content inspired by the event for the White House: "When I got the email for this project my jaw literally dropped and I think my email response started with a string of 'OMG! OMG! OMG!'"
We spoke to Gabriella about her process for this project, and how the brief shifted: "The content was originally going to be very White House-centric and about this specific event but in the end I was allowed to create content around the aspects of the actual issue that stood out to me, like the stories of victims being blamed for their attack because of what they were wearing and the role that men need to play in the solution."
Tell us a little bit about your creative background. Who is Gabriella and how did she get here?
My creative background is a very windy road of this and that but always involved creativity and visuals. I received my degree in fine art where I created a lot of installation and video-based work but also took every graphic design course my college offered. After I graduated college I moved to Paris and paid the rent by nannying and doing freelance design work. That’s when I got my first illustration project for a magazine under the french newspaper publication, Le Figaro. After I moved back to the US I got a job as an in-house designer for the LA-based lifestyle brand, Ban.do. At that time I continued to explore more illustration and hand rendered typography work since that seemed to be the most natural meeting point of my two backgrounds. Then after a couple years there I went back to freelancing full-time and I love it! I feel like this is a really good moment where all my fields of interests and creative visions are coming together in a really great way.
How did you get involved in creating content for the It’s On Us panel at the White House?
I was brought on through the Tumblr Creatrs project which is a department within Tumblr that connects artists with brands and advertising campaigns. I’ve been asked to do a couple projects through this program and am always amazed at the awesome clientele but needless to say when I got the email for this project my jaw literally dropped and I think my email response started with a string of “OMG! OMG! OMG!”
What was the event like?
It was really informative and uplifting. It’s On Us is an organization that aims to stop sexual assault with a specific focus on college campuses. Matt McGorry was the moderator and the panelists at the event were actually all college students who have had significant impact on their schools in regards to ending rape culture, challenging school policies and spreading awareness on their campuses. It was really awesome seeing both young men and women, victims and non-victims band together against this serious issue. To top it all off Vice President Joe Biden made the closing speech and I was totally struck by his words and was also inspired that we are at a time where issues like sexual assault are getting the attention they deserve.
Did you have an idea of how you would approach your illustrations ahead of the event? Or are they a reaction to what was discussed during the panel?
This project was a very fast-paced go-with-the-flow kind of deal. Because the White House was involved, we had to be flexible with their schedule and restrictions. The Tumblr Creatrs producers and I would talk daily and modify our strategy as new information and guidelines came in. On my part at least we ended up with very different content than I originally expected but I think it really turned out for the best. For example, going into the project the content was originally going to be very White House-centric and about this specific event but in the end I was allowed to create content around the aspects of the actual issue that stood out to me like the stories of victims being blamed for their attack because of what they were wearing and the role that men need to play in the solution.
What were some of the challenges in creating content for both It’s On Us and the White House? Was there a more rigorous approval process than usual?
The most challenging part was probably the extreme flexibility we needed to have because we didn’t always have all the info that far in advance. We were always updating our strategy on how to approach this project. However, I really enjoyed that aspect too. For one I think it really gave us all a team-mentality, and secondly it was really energizing to have to create content in such a responsive manner. Instead of having weeks to develop out the concepts, I had to respond very quickly, like within less than 24 hours, while still making the content very potent for this subject and audience. I feel like it was a much more visceral way of creating that doesn’t happen as often and I truly enjoyed it.
What’s next for you?
Currently, I’m working on some apparel items for a company that I’m really excited about but I’m most thrilled about an art show I’ll be curating and exhibiting in early this summer. It’ll be at the independent gallery I’ve started in downtown Los Angeles and this specific show will display work all by women of color. We’re currently working on our website for the gallery but if you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be posting an announcement the minute it’s done!
Anything else you’d like to add?
If there are any women of color out there interested in more info or submitting their work for this show, please feel free to email me at email@example.com and I’ll give you the full run-down of the theme and what we’re looking for.