Frankie Harrold approaches each day with art on their mind. Creativity is a gift with which they gleefully paint their canvas of reality. “I’m compelled to create things constantly. I feel like that is my one thing of value that I can put out into the world,” they admit. “I don’t know what I would be doing if I wasn’t making stuff all the time. I feel like I often need to create for no reason. It’s important for me to just make things for the sake of making things too. I think that’s essential in order to keep the momentum going in your brain.” Gender identity and sexuality form a pastiche of vibrant selfhood. Art brings community together as a caring collective. “It’s a huge part of everything. A lot of non-binary people think about the world and about our experience of going around the world in a different way. It’s not the prescribed experience of what is one of two pathways that you are laid out to follow. A lot of queer people’s existence in itself becomes art in a way. I think it’s really crucial to express queerness through creativity. It’s lovely to be loud and explicit. Being open is difficult for me, but it’s made a lot easier through just being able to put thoughts down. Anyone who reads stuff I write or looks at my art is like, ‘Yeah.’ I feel like it’s sort of a hidden message between queer people where it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, this person’s queer,’ without needing to make a piece explicitly about my identity. Queer people, we sort of gravitate towards each other. There’s an unspoken language.”
They are pushing themselves to re-examine and question their own beliefs. “I’m super comfortable working in this niche, but I don’t want to stop and get stagnant. I need to keep reaching out and looking outside of my bubble and exploring new ways of thinking.” Allyship and encouragement can allow all groups to flourish. “It’s super vital that marginalized communities do have this coalition, this sort of understanding between each other that we’re all fighting the same beast. We’re better together than breaking off into our specific groups, even when that feels more comfortable. It’s about bringing all of these people together in a movement. It’s a way of supporting each other, of looking out for each other, of making sure that, even just on a personal level, that everyone is doing all right, everyone has what they need, everyone’s comfortable. It’s our responsibility to look out for each other.” If you want to inspire diversity and freedom of expression, support art and the artists who make it! “To the artists, keep on making work and getting it on show, no matter how that is, and putting it out there. We have to uplift art and artists of all sorts of backgrounds, not just from traditional pathways, but people outside artists, who might doodle or paint in their free time. Everyone should have their own work up somewhere. And when you see that work, share it, send it around, and show it love.”
When Frankie had the opportunity to work with a treasured friend, Amybeth McNulty, to extend that embrace to benefit LGBTQIA+ refugees, they jumped at the chance. “Amybeth approached me to tell me that they’d been given this really cool chance to design a Choose Love T-shirt. They are creative in many, many ways, although they don’t call themselves an illustrator. They came to me and said, ‘Can you draw this idea that I’ve had? I want a bunch of queer mermaids from all different walks of life, all different backgrounds, surrounding the Choose Love lettering.’ I just thought it was very sweet. It was a really nice idea, and it’s nice to have that. We need to get queer bodies into the mainstream so they are normalized. It’s normal. It’s not a weird thing to see someone with a bunch of queer mermaids on their shirt.” All bodies are good bodies, especially when mermaids are involved! Queerness is global, Frankie reminds us. “We should remember that queerness is everywhere and that there are all of these intersections that you have with different charities and movements.”
We must remember the increasingly perilous plight that refugees are currently facing. “We’re seeing so many anti-refugee laws being put into place, making it harder for people to claim asylum or just live a comfortable life in the UK or wherever they’re actually trying to get to.” Humanity is not something that can be allotted or withheld by any government. “There are so many stories these days that you hear about the awful, horrendous conditions that people go through in order to even just get a chance to live in this country. The anti-refugee laws are disgusting. It’s more important than ever to have this message of treating other humans like humans rather than changing how you act towards people based on where they want to go or how they got there. At the end of the day, I think the Choose Love slogan and everything that they aim to promote is about treating your fellow humans how they deserve to be treated.” Choosing love is a conscious and radical decision. Apathy is a form of violence towards the vulnerable. “We all have unconscious biases about people. We have to recognize that they are biases that usually come from quite toxic ideologies and that they should always be challenged. The saying that I quite like is, ‘The opposite of love is indifference, not hate.’ Love is a positive action, whereas indifference is not doing anything and choosing to ignore things that might come up in your life or conversations. Instead, choose to help other people and look out for your fellow human.’ Through unwavering altruism and compassion, we can ensure that love prevails. Check out more ways to support Choose Love HERE and order Amybeth and Frankie’s Choose Love T-shirt HERE!
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Artist Frankie Harrold Partners with Amybeth McNulty and Choose Love to Benefit LGBTQIA+ Refugees. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Frankie Harrold.