Sparkchasers Episode 42 | Show Notes
Artivism with Danielle Coke
When Danielle Coke’s illustrations on Instagram took off, she wasn’t quite sure what happened. Within one week in 2019, she increased her following by 300,000 people. Turns out, her art was also sharing a message.
In today’s episode, Danielle shares how she uses her gift for illustration and infographics as a means for encouraging dialogue around social justice. Her artivism is helping bridge divides and connect hundreds of thousands of people. And she says you can do it, too. Here are some of the big takeaways from our conversation:
We Don’t Know our Impact
Perhaps the moment that made the biggest impact on me during our conversation was the story Danielle shared about her middle school art experience. In that story, she shares how that one teacher’s assumption about her work deterred her from pursuing drawing for almost a decade. On the flip side, her middle school chorus teacher encouraged Danielle’s singing potential and transformed how Dani saw herself. What we do as educators – what we say, what we believe, what we encourage – matters. This part of the discussion made me think about all of my previous students. Did I encourage them? Did I believe in them? Did I make sure they knew that?
Assume Good Intentions
When you listen to Danielle, you can’t help but smile. Her positive energy is contagious. When I asked her about it, she explains that she starts by assuming the best in everyone. She truly believes that people are inherently good. And that impacts how she chooses to create, research, share, and engage with others.
As someone who uses social media for her work, that can be a mixed bag. So she limits how much time she spends on social platforms. But simultaneously, Danielle believes that social media has forever changed the game for social justice, activism, and giving everyone a voice.
Art Can Unlock Conversation
Most importantly, Danielle knows that art can make challenging conversations around difficult topics more accessible. She’s intentional about the colors, fonts, and concepts she shares in the actual artwork. Then, in the captions area, she shares her perspectives around the topic and invites constructive dialogue from others. Interestingly, Dani spends 80-85% of her time on a piece researching before she ever creates her artwork. She believes facts can be seen, and that can unlock conversations that people may have previously been afraid to explore.
Continue to Connect
If you’re interested in learning more about Dani, you can follow her on Instagram or on her website.
Have a Question?
Do you have a question about today’s episode or need help with something? Let me know using the button below and I’ll make sure to chat about it on an upcoming episode.