Black History Month with artist and community engagement leader Ashley Armand

February is Black History Month, during which time we’ve had the chance to collaborate with artist and community engagement leader Ashley Armand to help us celebrate the month with her beautiful reimagining of our logo! As part of our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Initiative, we engage with a diverse group of talented artists to reimagine Utile’s logo in honor of commemorative observance months throughout the year. Thank you Ashley for your work and collaboration on this special effort! See Ashley’s logo and artist statement below:

Statement from the artist:

Through this piece, I seek to encapsulate the multifaceted essence of Black beauty, resilience, and texture, intertwining the rich history of texturism and the architectural tapestry of Black culture. I explore the tangible and intangible facets of Black existence, delving into the intricate depths of hair types, styles, and whimsical expressions of beauty, resilience, resistance, strength, and power.

I navigate the labyrinth of various textures (hair, tapestries, cloth, woven goods), immersing myself in the artistry ingrained within tresses, roots, and routes, and how these elements shape Black emotions, perceptions, and experiences. Through an interplay of introspection and imagination, I weave together threads of Black femininity—a cornerstone of Black resistance and liberation—into a tapestry of curiosities, and bold colors.

Employing a diverse array of mediums and techniques, I allow each component of this artwork to breathe life into its own narrative. With acrylic markers, oil paints, colored pencils, pens, and sharpies as my tools, I aim to elicit a visceral response in the viewer, prompting them to contemplate the revolutionary power that textures and sensations wield over one’s sense of self, and how our unique identities shape black history, which is also very much present.