Thursday, October 2, 2008

Featured Designer Lee Tracy of WeHeartObama

Politics are in the air. This October we thought it would be appropriate to choose WeHeartObama as our featured designer. We have the line of USA organic tees in all colors and sizes with great designs that speak about Obama's policies on Healthcare, Energy, the Environment, Iraq, and Economics. Lee Tracy is the designer behind the tees. Read our interview with her below.

1. How long have you been designing and printing tees?
Three years now. It is a new medium for me and I am just now starting to grasp the potential of this type of messaging. I am a fine artist and I thought that designing tees was going to be easy. It has taken time for me to begin to feel comfortable inserting my art in this manner. I never sought to settle on a basic concept, my intention is to learn how to push through some barriers and create designs that have meaning; tees that can educate. I also thought long-term about how this collection can continue into the future when the real work begins. With Obama as president he will need the support and energy of American citizens to push his plan through. We all we need to know the issues, the bills that are written, and how to get involved to enact our power to assist in change.

2. How was WeHeartObama born?
From truth. I do heart Obama and I know others that do. I so much needed a real life hero, one that would meet my expectations amidst the current trend of celebrity newsmakers. Before designing the current collection, I downloaded Obama's policies; 35 pages. I had never done this before, I needed to study. I also downloaded McCain's so that I could compare. I read McCains first because it was only 2 pages. Once I finished reading Obama's ideas I was thrilled because he actually has a plan with goals that I desire. Obama has a world in mind where I actually want to live -- with compassion, respect, stewardship, justice, transparency, independence and freedom.
The name "We Heart Obama" has allowed me to find the intense amount of hope that I had when I was younger. The name resonates with a touch of naivete found in a high school crush. Personally, I felt it important that I turn up the volume here to make the point.

3. Describe the tees and how the designs speak about the issues that Obama stands for.
I have a design for Health Care with a red cross over the map of America. This tee is not only about the option of a new health care system but also about the healing of America in general. The issue is that by helping all to be healthy then we will have a healthy nation. Logically, it will save lives and funds at once. My design for the environment depicts wheels that are turning and says "Turn it around." We must turn back the clock on many of the policies that have ignored stewardship of our planet and protection our resources
There is also a broken oil rig that represents the end of our dependence on foreign oil and draws attention to new innovative ideas for energy. And there is a design that uses an old stamp from the 40's that highlights "security, health, education, conservation" and I added "Long Term Thinking."
All the designs have subtle word plays or double meanings.
In light of the current economic crisis my new design is only words; "Obama works for me."

4. What other political endeavors are you involved in?
Before the last election my husband and I went door to door in WI (Madison and Racine.) This year we just hosted a party for calling volunteers in the swing states. We plan to do more. My partner, Maryanne Colter, who encouraged this tee shirt project and funded it's startup, went to "Obama Camp." She departed to Missouri for 4 weeks to be a lead captain in organizing volunteer efforts. It is an exciting time for all of us that want to usher in change and I am happy to see that the work force is strong and willing.

5. What other art/design endeavors are you involved in?
I have my fine art. On October 5th I am in a group show at the Evanston Art Center called "Heating up." This exhibit is about global warming and I have a full room installation called Found. In it is an old desk and chairs. The walls are stained as if there was a flood. On the desk I have journals from the future. They are somewhat destroyed, yet the reader can make out some of the entries. In the books I offer clues to a changing world, some remarks are startling (the extinction of the polar bear) while others offer hope (inventions yet to be invented.)
I am also involved in studying the "green movement" and have been exploring organic agricultural, fabric, manufacturing, dyes and inks.
WeHeartObama tees are organic USA cotton from field to tee. My hope is that the USA organic cotton manufacturing will continue to grow and we can find more garments made locally.
The world is changing and so is the role of the artist. I will do my part and continue to experiment with ways to communicate. My hope is to set an example for younger artists and illustrate how creativity can be put to good use outside of the small nucleus of the art world.

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