Each and every one of us has a unique voice in today’s world. We share our experiences and perspectives with the world at the click of a button or the tap of a finger. Our creativity educates, sparks emotion, inspires change in our communities, and so much more. When we combine our creativity and unique perspective, we can create artwork at the perfect place where art and activism meet—or as I like to call it, artivism. 

Artivism sparks conversation about parts of the world, or ourselves, that we don’t often talk about. Those conversations can be difficult but they need to happen. In our recent session at Adobe MAX, Lena Waithe and I discussed how we got started with artivism. and how we use our creative voices to rise to the forefront of revolutionary conversations about community, society, and justice.

Image of Lena Waithe and Nikkolas Smith from their session on Artivism

Start Your Artivism Journey

My own artivism journey started eight years ago with my Sunday Sketch series. I found purpose in the act of making something every Sunday and sharing it with the world. My Sunday Sketches represent so much from over the years. From Colin kneeling to Breonna Taylor, from Simone Biles’ victory to the protests against police brutality, I’ve sketched it all. It has been an incredible journey. One where I’ve evolved as an artist and told important stories from my point of view.

Now, I’m sharing a new toolkit to support you in channeling your creative voice and starting a lifelong journey of artivism. This kit is broken down into three main sections. Each one will help bring your artivist voice to light. You’ll find prompts and advice for uncovering issues that ignite your passion, discovering your unique treatment, and using your artivism to heal.

Once you embark on your artivism journey you’ll realize that your voice matters, your art matters, and you have the ability to change the world.

About Nikkolas Smith

Nikkolas Smith, a native of Houston, Texas, is a Master of Architecture recipient from Hampton University. For 11 years, he designed theme parks at Walt Disney Imagineering. Now, he is a concept artist, children’s book author, and film illustrator.

He creates artivism paintings and Hollywood movie posters like Black Panther, Dear White People, and Stranger Fruit. Nikkolas is a proud 2016 White House Innovators of Color fellow. As an illustrator of color, he creates captivating art to spark conversation and inspire meaningful change. Many of his viral and globally published sketches are included in his book: Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas. The book is a visual journey and a collection of more than 100 of his sketches from the last five years. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Written by:

Nikkolas Smith