Sharing beauty and healing with art

A photo of Andrea Hardeman.

By Andrea Hardeman

Posted on 01-15-2021

Last year, we launched Diverse Voices on Creative Cloud Discover, a place where we highlight diverse creators’ voices, share resources like scholarships and fellowships, and more.

We recently released a chapter celebrating the vibrant spectrum of perspectives from Black creators around the world. Now, we’re turning the lens inward to showcase some of the incredibly talented Black creators within our employee community. Today we’re featuring Andrea Hardeman, who shares how she turned to art to cope with the turmoil of 2020.

I’ve always been a creative — forming businesses, drawing, writing poetry, singing, and playing guitar. 2019 was “the best of times and the worst of times,” when I experienced six traumas and two major life changes within six months, so I came into 2020 ready to take it by storm. Then injustices with Breonna, Ahmaud, and George happened on top of being told to work from home for what many of us thought would only be one to two months. Between the protests and generational trauma in conjunction with being in an economic downturn and global pandemic, I was crying at random moments for the first few months because the Black deaths kept piling up. And, I knew that it could have been me or a family member or friend. It was suffocating, so I turned to art.

My “Covid Collection” and subsequent art created during 2020 was on a different level for me. I’ve never created like this before. “Generations” was one of the first pieces I created. It’s a mixed media piece.

Andrea's art; Generations, 2020.

Generations, 2020.

The cotton swabs represent each generation of my family. I am the seventh generation removed from slavery. The seventh cotton swab represents me. There’s a tagline that “cotton is the fabric of our lives.” This is literal for me and my family, who were brought to America to pick cotton, tobacco, and other products. The gold sky represents the dreams and hopes of each generation of my family. It also represents the economic prosperity my family created for the U.S. and that our people continue to provide. The black soil is each generation’s blood, sweat, and tears. It also represents the rich soil. And, it is the generational trauma handed down throughout centuries. There are tiny sparkles in the soil that symbolize the resiliency of my people and our strength. They’re our unique stories and history that is largely lost the further you go back in your family history. They’re also the beauty of our culture and people despite our pain and circumstances.

I don’t have any formal training outside of taking art classes in high school, and I’ve always been too “in my head” when it comes to painting or drawing. 2020 released something deep inside me. Acrylic, mixed media, and digital are my main mediums. I apply the paint directly to my fingers and palms when using acrylic and zen out for a couple of hours. My art isn’t typically planned out. I may or may not have a vague idea to start with, but I pick up whichever colors speak to me in the moment and apply it to the canvas. It’s an intuitive and iterative process. The canvas tells me when it’s done.

Most of my pieces have a story behind them, which I include with the purchased prints. For instance, “say their names” poured out of me within the same six-hour period that I created “Beauty n Pain” after receiving disappointing news. That evening I created “whimsy” because I felt the need to incorporate additional fun into my life and redirect my focus to everything that was going well. An hour or so later, my friend texted me the Breonna Taylor verdict. It was past my bedtime, but I stayed up and created “say their names” to allow the emotion to pass through me.

Andrea's art; Beauty n Pain, 2020.

Beauty n Pain, 2020

Select pieces

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Andrea's art; Lauryn, 2020.

Lauryn, 2020.

Andrea's art; Les Danseurs Noir 1, 2020.

Les Danseurs Noirs 1, 2020.

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Andrea's art; Klimt, 2020.

Klimt, 2020.

Andrea's art; Holy, 2020.

Holy, 2020.

In 2020 alone, I created over 50 new pieces between March/April through December. I was featured in my first gallery show, had several booths at farmer’s markets and pop-up shops, and launched an Etsy shop and a website for my art business. My intention is to infuse the universe with more beauty and positive healing vibes.

To see additional pieces by Andrea, visit her website, Instagram, and Facebook.

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Topics: Adobe Culture, Brand, Adobe Life, Diversity & Inclusion, Celebrating the Black Community,

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