National Creativity Day
Written by Aronya Waller
“Revolutions are not made by men in spectacles.”
—Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
It may be intriguing that I use a quote from a white man who started sitting on the Supreme Court in 1902. His views changed over time, and he became known as The Great Dissenter. He advocated for First Amendment Rights, specifically when it came to free speech. Through his dissenting opinions and writings, organizations like Veggie Mijas can post art, graphics, and content without fear of retribution from the government. “It means that we have the full power and potential within ourselves to express our opinions without compromise fully,” Editorial Content Manager Alejandra Tolley affirmed. “Since becoming a writer for Veggie Mijas, the amount of creative control I was given has only made me grow more as a person and writer.”
I first was introduced to Veggie Mijas in July 2019, but I became actively involved in March 2020. During the pandemic, I had the opportunity to learn and grow through the collective’s Instagram account, articles, and virtual events. As the collective grew internationally and my chapter grew locally, I reflected with members about expanding my plant-based lifestyle, living sustainably, practicing mindfulness, and embracing my vision for 2021. Little did I know that an activity on my vision board would come to fruition via Veggie Mijas—reconnecting to one of my creative channels. I have enjoyed writing since I was a child. I wrote my first story in second grade. The story is laughable now, but I was serious about the plot of two fighting boys. To this day, writing brings me joy. I am in my world to be part of Veggie Mijas’ creative team as a writer.
I get to share my happiness on May 30 as we celebrate National Creativity Day. This holiday began on May 30, 2018 by Screenwriting U and Hal Croasmun. They wanted a holiday that encouraged people to use their creativity in its fullest form. Everyone has creativity in them. It could be some of the more well-known paintings, music, poetry, dancing, or photography. But, creativity is found in your everyday lifestyle—from how you dress and style your hair, whether you rock tattoos and piercings, the way you decorate your space, how you interact with social media and, of course, your selfies. The list is endless. Your everyday being represents your creativity. So today, celebrate your unique, creative spirit.
Creative Director Lorena Kanzki defined creativity as using any medium to communicate a message that speaks to a person. “I believe it’s equally, and sometimes even more important, to observe, listen, and learn as much as I can about the world around me in order to be a better communicator,” she explained. “To me, being creative is being perceptive to the world and sharing the ways you’ve been able to make sense of it.” Similarly, Veggie Mijas was a fusion of communication and creativity that started a movement larger than Founder Amy Quichiz could have predicted.
Veggie Mijas started as an Instagram page for college students to share easy recipes. The growth online expanded to include vegans of color throughout the country. Now, Veggie Mijas is an international collective for BIPOC women, trans folk, and non-binary people who are plant-based or are interested in transitioning to that lifestyle. We focus on those who have marginalized identities and people who experience food insecurity and injustice. Veggie Mijas provides resources and education missing from the mainstream vegan movement.
“I want to continue the inviting dialogue to BIPOC folks that make them feel welcome into the animal rights movement,” explained Alejandra. “Being vegan is so nuanced, and the plethora of social injustices are at the core of what the vegan movement is about, and I feel like it’s our duty to amplify everyone’s voices and experiences.”
One of the first things that I noticed about Veggie Mijas was the logo. It was a fun, bright conversation piece that made many people smile. When I wore the logo pin on the lapel of my jacket, I would always get a compliment. It was a radish slaying with sunglasses, a nose ring, hoops in its ears and a carrot profiling with a labret piercing and hoops as well. It was a cute logo for the original purpose of the collective. Veggie Mijas saw so much growth and expansion so the creative team wanted an updated logo to reflect that. They launched a complete rebranding process to overhaul the logo, colors, and overall visual branding to better represent the continual evolution of the collective. The rebranding team included Graphic Designer Rachel Baker and Merchandising Consultant Johanna Toruño, who both took the lead in the design. Founder Amy Quichiz and Creative Director Lorena Kanzki provided feedback and direction.
Once the decision was made to update the logo, the rebranding team dove into the process full of passion, insight, and creativity. Lorena said, “We had multiple meetings to brainstorm and our graphic design lead, Rachel Baker, did an incredible job taking concepts from our brainstorms and bringing them to life!” Although Rachel was excited to develop the new logo, she was also apprehensive because she felt like graphic design was a big leap from her background in architecture. Rachel now considers it a life-changing opportunity because she has been drawing and working in graphic design ever since.
The rebranding team wanted the logo to represent Veggie Mijas working together as a collective to elevate our communities, illuminate (in)justice, and provide education and support to live a plant-based lifestyle. According to Rachel, they quickly focused on using earth tones and having a warm and natural palette. She explained that a successful logo should work whether it is one color as well as when it is multiple colors. In addition to working as a monochromatic or multichromatic logo, it had to represent the people of the collective, activism, food justice, and culture. Rachel explained that it was hard to put all those ideas into the logo in her initial attempts. Some versions were clearly about veganism, but you could not see the culture or see the culture, but the plant-based aspect was not well-defined.
The rebranding team, and especially Johanna, stepped in and helped guide Rachel in the right direction by providing the subtext of each section of the logo and advising her to focus on certain areas and lean away from others. For example, the team discussed the pattern of the logo. Rachel said they were looking for a pattern like the plates that your Abuela would have. “It almost reminds me of the patterns around my Peruvian and Colombian household,” Amy added.
The rebranding team also wanted to show hands in the earth to represent our connection to Mother Earth. “The creation of this new logo felt like planting a beautiful new seed, which parallels with the logo’s visual of a hand planting while surrounded by sunlight,” Lorena explained. She described the two hands within the pattern representing the community that Veggie Mijas continues to build. Amy added that it represents “life, nature, la tierra”. As Veggie Mijas continues to grow, I believe that our logo will continue to symbolize our mission. “We have been blooming so beautifully, and I can’t wait to see what’s to come,” Lorena said.
The Creative Team
I have only been a creative team member for a couple of months, and I cannot describe the warmth and openness that I received since joining. No idea is too crazy. Everyone is so supportive. Even knowing all of this, I was humbled by how the other team members talked about working with each other. It was so different than I have experienced in a corporate environment. That was a point that was repeated throughout the interviews. “This team is a really collaborative effort; we bounce off each other’s ideas and creativity,” Alejandra explained. “We make each other stronger, and there’s never any compromise to any of our visions. We’ve created a safe space for us, and it’s the best team I’ve ever worked with.”
The relationships formed to continue to grow. Rachel loves that everyone brings something to the table, and everyone acknowledges the talents that others have. “It’s awesome just to have this group of people that have so many different talents, and we’re willing to figure it out together,” she explained. “I think Lorena, who’s headed up a lot of that, is just so good at fostering that environment and checking in with people and making sure everyone's on the same page.”
"Individually we are one drop. Together we are an ocean."
— Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
As previously mentioned, the final logo design was based on the team’s ideas and feedback throughout the rebranding process. Rachel believed the process for making the logo was so fluid due to everyone being open and receptive to feedback beyond the rebranding team. For example, Rachel described an instance when the team was collaborating with our interns. One of the interns, Ever Huales, provided a suggestion about the new logo. He said it has the Spanish phrase “activistas de la tierra” at the bottom, but as Veggie Mijas continues to grow, the logo should be accessible to all. Ever suggested transforming the logo to have versions of it in multiple languages. Now, the logo is simple enough that it can be easily modified for each chapter as we continue to grow internationally while maintaining the original culture and mission of Veggie Mijas. “I believe the best thing about the creative team is the way we’re able to take so many avenues to amplify Veggie Mijas’ mission and message,” Lorena said. “We represent Veggie Mijas in our visuals and messaging, and we passionately take on that responsibility with limitless imagination, compassionate teamwork, and a mindset rooted in growing and cultivating community.”
The creativity within the international collective as a whole, locally through chapters, and individually by each member is limitless. Amy sums up National Creativity Day, Veggie Mijas, and our creative team perfectly, so I shall give her the last word. “I believe art is important and necessary in the revolution; therefore, it is important for our food justice revolution. Organizing and Creativity go hand-in-hand, it is a labor of both in one.”
“Art is our weapon. Culture is a form of resistance.”
Amy Quichiz, Founder and CEO
If you don’t see a space that you would want to be in, create it. Find people to create it with if you don’t want to do it alone. Believe that what you want to see in the world, others do too. Everyone has a place in the revolution, it is your job to know what that is and follow your heart.
Theme song: telepatia by Kali Uchis
She’s Colombian and I’ve always loved her style of music. The song is very soothing, especially with everything that is going with Colombia and around the world. This song relaxes me and makes me feel like everything is going to be okay.
Lorena Kanzki, Creative Director
Start with your mission at the heart of your work and then build everything from there. Choose the language and visuals that best represent and serve this mission. You don’t have to sacrifice pieces of your work that are significant to your mission in order to fit into the molds that are trending. Ask yourself, trending among who? And who are the groups of people my mission best serves, and how can I best reach them? Follow the path that best suits your mission and build your content in alignment.
Theme Song: Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio
This song speaks to the way I’m currently looking inward and working to release my fears of the future to get more comfortable with the unknown and embrace transformation.
Rachel Baker, Graphic Designer
The “problem” presented for a project is usually what drives my creativity. The projects that really inspire me come with just enough barriers or parameters to demand a new solution and make the creative process iterative and a bit intense. If the project's parameters are really open, it doesn’t have much to trigger the creative process, so it can feel directionless. So I usually have to wait until I’m on a bit of a creative kick to knock some of these small projects out. The other end of the spectrum can feel limiting to creativity. If there’s too many parameters, I can feel like there’s no possible good solution, or if the project is overly specific, it feels like the solution is already laid out for you, with no room to iterate on or add your own ideas to it.
Theme song: Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver
I think it's [my song] because I'm about to drive across the country. I would say right now that's the vibe where I'm like, OK, driving home, trying to figure out what I'm doing. The world is beautiful.
Johanna Toruño, Merchandise Consultant
There’s 100% chance that you have been influenced by queer visionaries. Visionaries are those who share their experiences through learning how to struggle and thrive within the same cycle. I see a world where queer youth have access to literature, film, music, and all mediums without being othered.
Alejandra Tolley, Editorial Content Manager
Never be quiet. I’ve written things that have gotten me in deep waters with the mainstream vegan movement but have fortunately led to me an amazing circle of friends and activists. Never be hesitant on sharing your opinion and sincere thoughts, because in most cases you’re never alone.
Theme song: Good Times by Eric Burdon and The Animals
The first lyrics are “When I think of all the good times that I’ve wasted having good times.” I know those lyrics can be interpreted differently by everyone but to me, it means just do what you want now and think of the consequences later, which is my approach to my writing. Just word vomit and make a grammatical mess of yourself now, and then go back later and rearrange your thoughts. I think it works out every time!
John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads (from The Wildlife Concert)
Kali Uchis – telepatía [Official Audio]
Miss Millennia Magazine
National Creativity Day
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Queer Visibility & Public Art (Johanna Toruño | TEDxFurmanU)
Sabrina Claudio - Confidently Lost (Official Video)
The Animals - Good Times (1967)
Veggie Mijas, About and Mission
Veggie Mijas, Our Team