Graphic designer and illustrator Micah Bazant is an “artivist” whose work goes beyond political propaganda. Using vibrant colors and bold statements about social justice, the Bay Area resident creates posters, T-shirts, and digital postcards featuring real and imagined people, ancestors such as Stonewall veteran-activist Marsha P. Johnson and today’s living legends.
Each illustration tells a story honoring and centering communities that are consistently marginalized, namely Black and brown people and queer and trans folks. And those stories are told with the full consent and creative collaboration of those affected by system of oppressions; the resulting art has often been sold to aid its subjects and co-creators, contributing to funeral expenses, costs of living, or bail. For example, Bazant’s work supported community organizing efforts for Arizona’s Monica Jones, a Black trans woman and activist who was profiled and falsely arrested for prostitution, and it raised awareness about the larger issues of profiling sex workers and trans women.
Bazant now works as the inaugural artist-in-residence at Oakland-based reproductive justice organization Forward Together. That professional relationship began with a freelance job updating a brochure and moved to Bazant’s becoming the art director for the annual Mamas Day campaign, which centers parents often overlooked by mainstream Mother’s Day efforts. Now Bazant holds the position full time, an unusual job in the nonprofit sector. Not only do they make and share their original art, they also are co-creating space for artists of color to do their own work.