Erin Yoshi: Designing a New World By Remembering Forward
“I heard this amazing quote once that said, ‘The role of the artist is to remember where we have been, where we are going, and to provide hope along the way.’ And I really feel like that is our responsibility. For people who are artists, who are creative – if we can remind people of the knowledge that we have. We are storytellers, history keepers – if we can remind them of these gems that have already been learned and re-share them so it’s never forgotten, and then we provide hope in these times of crisis where everybody feels like they don’t want to get out of bed – in these times if we could remind people that there is so much amazing work that can be done, and if we overcome this moment, it will be a major victory.” — @erinyoshi [0:52:28.0]
Human beings have done a good job of ripping this planet apart; we have to figure out how to put it back together, and today’s guest is at the forefront of this initiative. Erin Yoshi joins us today to talk about her new project, The Land of WE.
In this project, Erin is using art to drive conversations that imagine a different world, one in which we live within our means, and we rethink our exploitative systems that deplete our limited resources.
Our conversation with Erin starts by tracing her journey as an artist, zooming in on how she got interested in murals, where her activistic approach found its expression, and how she developed such a strong skill in the business side of the pursuit. From there, we switch gears and focus on our current moment in history, a time defined by the exploits of capitalism which have driven movements to destroy the environment, divide people, and spread feelings of hopelessness. Erin talks about her belief in, and the possibility of, building a post-capitalist world.
In this dream society, we keep the benefits of modernity but achieve them in more sustainable ways by ‘remembering forward’ – taking solutions from the past and turning them into our new default systems. This segues into a focus on The Land of WE, and listeners get to hear Erin talk about how she is researching these kinds of older, sustainable cultures and systems, and spreading the word about them through murals, billboards, and educational social media initiatives.
“There’s this myth that creatives work when they are inspired, that is awesome but if you are really producing, you gotta work when you are inspired, when you are tired, when you are sick.” — @erinyoshi [0:10:26.0]
“The Land of WE is a project about biocultural diversity and it is using art as a way to talk about climate change and this moment in time where things like biodiversity and culture, as well as intergenerational love and support, are things that aren’t really highlighted in our mainstream right now.” — @erinyoshi [0:52:28.0]
Key Points From This Episode:
- Introducing muralist Erin Yoshi and her new project fighting climate change, The Land of WE.
- Erin’s love of podcasts, the types she listens to, and some of her experiences as a guest.
- Discipline, being a mom, and how Erin has been dealing with the logistics of being an artist.
- How Erin got her work ethic and skills in the business and creative sides of art.
- The story of how Erin’s mural career evolved, starting from an erasable board her dad bought her.
- Being scrappy and how a career in art is a slow journey with no overnight success.
- The need for artists to enjoy the craziness of the struggle that comes with being an artist.
- Tough love as a parent and lessons Erin learned from her dad that made her a better artist
- Themes of the fight for justice and against prejudice; the story of Erin’s family history.
- Erin’s consideration of herself as an activist and some of her work in this area.
- How Erin became ED of the Estria Foundation and the environmental activism work they did.
- The extent that religion impacts humankind’s ability to manage its natural resources.
- The myth of the political right versus the left: A way of distracting the masses from their similarity.
- Pros and cons of capitalism and Erin’s belief that a post-capitalist world is coming.
- ‘Remembering forward’: How Erin applies this principle to advocate for more sustainability.
- The idea that more sustainable solutions already exist, we just need to incorporate them.
- The need for governments to support sustainable initiatives so they aren’t so expensive.
- Localized solutions and the need for systems that allow local leaders.
- Warnings to be found in bizarre natural disasters that sound like sci-fi but are real.
- The role of the artist in these times of crisis as storytellers and history keepers.
- What The Land of WE is doing to use art to celebrate and spread stories about more sustainable practices.
- How bad modernity is for mental health.
- The power of art to pierce the soul, making it such a powerful too right now.
- What the rollout of the first phase of The Land of WE will look like; murals, billboards, and more.
- Where to find Erin and her project online to learn more and get involved.
- Erin’s skill for grant writing and her love of sharing this knowledge.
“I used to draw on the walls at home and I would get in trouble and so my dad bought me this four-by-eight erasable board that was in my room.” — @erinyoshi [0:15:53.0]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
- Erin Yoshi — https://www.erinyoshi.com/
- Erin Yoshi on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/erinyoshi/?hl=en
- Erin Yoshi on Twitter — https://twitter.com/erinyoshi?lang=en
- Up and Vanished — https://upandvanished.com/
- Trust Your Struggle Collective — http://www.trustyourstruggle.com/a/
- San Francisco State University — https://www.sfsu.edu/
- Peter Camejo — https://nacla.org/article/living-history-peter-camejo%E2%80%99s-story
- Indivisible 2020 — https://creweststudio.com/indivisible-2020/
- The Mural Conservancy of LA — https://www.muralconservancy.org/
- Estria Foundation — https://www.estria.org/
- Estria Miyashiro — https://www.usfca.edu/profile/estria-miyashiro
- Jeremy LaTrasse — https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jeremy-latrasse
- Movement Generation — https://movementgeneration.org/
- Man One — http://www.manone.com/
- Man One on Twitter — https://twitter.com/ManOneArt
- Scott “Sourdough” Power — https://www.instagram.com/sourdoughpower/
- Not Real Art — https://notrealart.com/
- Not Real Art School — https://school.notrealart.com/
- Not Real Art on Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/notrealartworld/
- Julia Bolgeny (Erin’s advisor)
- To Be Visible
- Sugar Press Art — https://sugarpressart.com/
“The system has been set up in a way that doesn’t benefit everyday working people.” — @erinyoshi [0:40:21.0]
“Mother earth is so strong that if we don’t work in harmony with her, we are screwed.” — @erinyoshi [0:50:55.0]
“I considered myself an activist way before I considered myself an artist.” — @erinyoshi [0:28:11.0]