Celebrate Life and Being Extra with the ‘Girls Unite Calendar 2020’

Catch these twelve talented female artists collaborate on a brand new piece of art: the upbeat and life-giving calendar for ‘Girls Unite 2020’.

One and all, please feel free to give a gracious goodbye to the love/hate, anxiety-trauma-and-personal-growth-ridden dumpster fire that was 2019 and dive right in to the fresh new year with a warm welcome and your very own copy of the Girls Unite Calendar for 2020! This unique collaboration includes twelve inspiring female creators, all answering the CTA from fellow artist, illustrator, filmmaker and photographer, Alia Wilhelm, who organized the ordeal in its entirety. Ranging from collage artwork, portraits and many colorful masterpieces, the casually quirky art unanimously sets the scene for an altogether awesome year. The finished product is a whimsical and zesty calendar full of original designs that perfectly capture the unique character of each month; the unanimous message being an inspiring “you do you, boo” – a friendly push to get out the door and go live your best fricken life. Peruse the pages as the weeks and months progress, do your days, remember the corresponding work of art fondly and welcome the next chapter with the satisfaction of a perfect portrait.

Whether you’re someone who gets copious amounts of pleasure from crossing off days on a calendar with unnecessarily flamboyant flourish, or you’re just looking for some kickass wall art, this colorful collaboration is a go-to. Furthermore, £1 of every sale will be donated to the Global Fund for Women. Make sure you scroll down to catch our conversation with organizer Alia Wilhelm and take a peek at the artwork paired with your own birth month.

Hey Alia. First off, how did this all come together?

It started about a year ago, when I decided to curate the first Girls Unite Calendar for 2019. I had been following the work of several female artists pretty closely, a lot of them ex-Rookie Mag contributors like me, and I just thought it would be great to collaborate on something together. I had been inspired by some of them for several years, so the thought of making a physical object together, one with practical use and a beautiful look to it, was really exciting. The 2020 calendar is the second one I’ve curated, and there’s a lot of crossover with last year’s; half of the artists are the same, and in terms of the layout, the colours and the overall DIY aesthetic, I think it definitely feels like a sequel.

Earlier this year, I had actually decided not to make a calendar for 2020 because I was working as a director’s assistant on a feature film, and I didn’t feel like I had the time. But I got a couple of messages from people who had bought a calendar last year asking if there was going to be another one coming out, and that got me thinking. About a month after that, I was lying in bed and I couldn’t sleep and for some reason I started thinking about the calendar and how invigorating it had been to curate something like that. It was about 2am and I hopped out of bed and emailed a few artists to gauge whether they were interested. I could feel myself getting excited about it. By the end of the next day, I had rounded up almost all of the artists, and two weeks later their artworks had been submitted and the design was ready to send to print. It all happened very quickly!

What’s the concept behind the Girls Unite 2020 Calendar?

There isn’t necessarily a concept behind it. I really just want people to have something in their homes that’s going to bring them joy. I also like that it’s an object that has a very clear expiration date: each page is up on your wall for the month, and then it’s onto the next. When you buy the calendar, you’re basically buying a book of artwork, which you then rotate through every four weeks. All of the contributors have very different styles; some of us are illustrators, others are predominantly ceramicists or painters or collage makers, and most of us have never met. But I think there is a similar DIY aesthetic to all our work – a shared way of making things. Even though a lot of the designs are edited on Photoshop or Illustrator, many of them include found art from vintage magazines, scanned elements, hand drawings or art materials like paint and glitter. I love art that feels personal and homemade, not overly digital, immaculate and impersonal, and I think each page has that spirit to it. I want the calendar to be a celebration of that.

Your calendar is about unity and female-identifying folks in particular. Why is this important to you?

Inclusive feminism is really important to me, and it’s something I’ve been reading and learning about a lot over the past few years. I feel passionate about it and I think about it every day. But if I’m honest, having a calendar made up exclusively of female-identifying artists wasn’t a decision I made consciously when I started this project. It’s just that these are the people producing the kind of art I gravitate towards. That says something about me I’m sure. But in terms of this project, it’s just that the contributors are some of my absolute favourite artists, people whose work I look at on a daily basis, whose collages I have on my walls at home, and who have deeply impacted the kinds of things I want to make.

How did you go about choosing the art for each month? Is it all original?

I sent all of the artists a basic template so they knew what dimensions they were working with. I wanted every page to have days of the month on the bottom half, and vibrant artwork filling the top half of the page, so I sent a document with those specifics. Most of the artists submitted an initial design, and I then asked for tweaks to make sure the calendar flowed smoothly from one page to the next. All of the artwork is original, and there’s no particular theme. I left that up to the artists. I want each page to feel like it belongs to them and exemplifies the kind of art they love to make, not a design brief they had to meet.

The tone of each work has a range from loud and boisterous to soft and heartfelt. What is your vision or overall image of femininity that you wanted to portray with this collection in essence?

Thanks, I’m glad you think so! I think there’s a nice range of emotions being portrayed. There’s no overall image of femininity or masculinity that I want to portray. I think of each artist as having so many different cultural and personal influences, so much history, and what they created for this calendar is just the energy they’re ready to put down on the page at this moment in time. It’s like a little bookmark in their personal history of making things.

What female artists in particular should we be aware of right now?

All of the artists in this calendar! They are all so talented. Areeba Siddique, Sendra Uebele, Caitlin Hazell, Anna Claire White, Holly Leonardson, Andrea Lux, Maison Stella, Alex Westfall, Savana Ogburn, Elly Malone and Nina Sepahpour.

Any general hopes/dreams for you in 2020? (Can be broader like, what you wanna see happen out there in the world too ;))

I hope to have a very creative year. I’m cynical and I don’t think that much can change for the better in a year, but I hope the world keeps progressing towards a fairer, more equal society, though I’m sure there will be lots of steps forward followed by lots of steps back. I hope artists all over the world keep making things to reflect the times we live in, to showcase how injustices affect them personally, professionally and on a global scale. Art has a beautiful, powerful way of stopping time and turning a mirror on the world. Cheesy, but I think it’s true.

Where can we buy these unique, awesome calendars?

You can buy it on Big Cartel, right here. £1 of every sale will be donated to the Global Fund for Women. The calendar is available in two sizes: A3 (29.7cm width x 42cm height) and A4 (21cm width x 29.7cm height). The smaller size is being sold for £16 and the larger one for £20. We ship worldwide.

Thanks, Alia!



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