10 THOUSAND DESIGN
Kelly O’Halloran is a Minneapolis-based graphic designer and artist. She currently works as a senior-level designer at agency 10 Thousand Design, and in her free time has found a passion for illustration, gouache painting and pattern design.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN DESIGNING FOR GOOD AND WHY DO YOU BELIEVE DESIGN IS AN ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR THIS GOAL?
When the stay at home order for COVID-19 began, I found myself with some additional time on my hands and looking for a way to provide support amidst the growing pandemic crisis. When I noticed pantry and household basics like toilet paper getting cleaned out of grocery store shelves due to stockpiling and panic-buying, I had the idea to elevate these unlikely CPG heroes as miniature still-life gouache paintings. I found humor in these run-of-the-mill products reaching an elevated celebrity-like status almost overnight. It only made sense for such high-profile products to be commemorated as pieces of art. I began creating tiny still life art pieces of these unlikely heroes to help raise money for Feeding America, a non-profit charity organization that is a network for over 200 food banks. Since May, I’ve taken painting requests from New York to Puerto Rico, and have raised money for thousands of meals for families and individuals in need. I have found design to be an especially useful tool for this project for several reasons. First, I found the act of translating a basic CPG product into a work of fine art to be a powerful social commentary on the absurdity of stockpiling household items when others are in need. I also have found that these paintings allow people to pull a positive memory from this difficult time, and in some cases even commemorate a family member that they have lost to the COVID-19 crisis.
GIVEN THE CONFLUENCE OF EVENTS AND CHALLENGES WE FACE THIS FALL, DOES 2020 PRESENT ANY SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES, OBSTACLES TO DESIGNING FOR GOOD?
I absolutely see both opportunity and urgency in designing for good this coming year. Now more than ever, I have observed designers and creatives not only seeing an opportunity, but feeling an obligation to use their talents as a call to action for social and political change. I believe this has a compounding effect by inspiring individuals to create for their own impact for the greater good. I look forward to seeing what types of change and initiatives arise from our current social and political climate in the year to come.