When things feel overwhelming, many of us turn outward to see how friends and peers are coping, and to seek out digestible bits of insight that might offer us comfort. In the past year, terrorist attacks, political upheavals, and deaths have become routine, and that need for wisdom has become even more crucial. In this midst, a few voices of empathy have cropped up, including Jean Jullien.
A graphic artist based in London, Jullien has a knack for capturing complicated emotions in simple illustrations, which is why you often find his artwork filling your feeds in times when people can’t express their thoughts themselves. So, when we were preparing for today’s inauguration, and thinking about the unifying message that we — and you — would like to pin our names to, we reached out to Jullien for some guidance. The graphic he created in response spoke to our common desires to connect and empathise. During an election that was so hellbent on focusing on what makes us different, many among us want to highlight the commonalities we share, even among our perceived enemies.
“Creating an image has to be about something else first,” Jullien said in a film about his work. “[My images] can [be about] so much more if they can expand discussion. I make the work that I do to communicate.” In keeping with Jullien’s character, he declined to answer any questions about this project, or his thoughts on the new administration. But, as always, his work should speaks for itself.