Tezzerah Mclean is the creator of the Afro-American Society’s 2022 Black History Month design and a sophomore visual arts major at Eckerd college. This year, AAS’ theme for Black History Month is ‘Afrofuturism’ with separate smaller focuses on the past, present and future.  In a school-wide email sent by AAS, Afrofuturism was described as “... a movement [that] presents a world where we have ascended past the constraints of biased eurocentric systems. The fluid ideology of Afrofuturism is shaped by generations of black artists, musicians, scholars, and activists who all imagine an environment where black people are thriving and are empowered in a world free of oppression.” As a member of AAS and a part of the club’s marketing team, Mclean’s job was to create an image that represents this theme for the whole club and all the events planned.  But Mclean is no stranger to dedication, having run their own small business on campus and appearing at many of the student markets in the past two years.  

“[Art is] something I’ve always been doing,” Mclean said. “Around 17 or 18 [years old] is when I started looking into doing art as a full-time career.”

They described their complicated journey where they didn’t even realize at first that art could be something they were even able to major in. At first, they assumed they would go into something STEM related. But that realization helped bring them to where they are now, working in their field of study for clubs and events on campus.

The creation of this year’s Black History Month design was a unique journey as well. Mclean laid out the process of creating the image in steps, starting with word association, and then research.

“I did some research on Afrofuturistic artists…to get inspired by some of their work and what that looks like,” Mclean said. 

They then worked on several different rough sketches and sent ideas back and forth with other officers in AAS to decide on the final piece. When that decision was made, they created a black and white and color version for different uses.  

“I wanted to emphasize the three different aspects of Afrofuturism; the past, present, and future,” Mclean said. “So I decided to incorporate three different faces in different stages of life.”

Mclean also talked about how they wanted the imagery they chose to play into common science fiction and futuristic themes seen in TV shows and books, while avoiding being too familiar and staying unique. They point out that this can be seen in things like the open face in the image. 

Mclean made choices like this to create ‘More of a recognizable aspect for a futuristic design’ which was their main goal with the piece. 

Mclean’s design can be seen anywhere from T-shirts to stickers and posters all over campus this month, representing AAS and the celebration of Black History Month.

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