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A Cause Worth Wearing Featuring Ms. Yellow 

A Cause Worth Wearing Featuring Ms. Yellow 

Taking even a quick look at Ms. Yellow’s work, it’s clear this artist has not only incredible skill but something important to say. Her work evokes feeling and contemplation. I was thrilled when I realized she was the artist behind one of my favorite murals in Long Beach. A fantastic piece at 2841 E Broadway that is hard to miss. The colors are dream-like, as they come together to set a scene of two almost alien looking deer lounging in a patterned, mystical, wooded landscape. There is definitely whimsy in Ms. Yellow’s work, but you can feel the undercurrent of something more beneath each piece, begging you to stay and deconstruct what it is evoking. This collaboration is no different. A Cause Worth Wearing in collaboration with Long Beach Gives, Arts Council for Long Beach and LB Living has paired up with Ms. Yellow, who created this exclusive design to benefit the WomenShelter of Long Beach

PowWow Long Beach 2018 | instagram @msyellowart


PowWow Long Beach 2018 | Instagram @msyellowart

Art has always been a part of this talented artist’s life. “Professionally speaking, I’ve been an artist, muralist and teaching artist for 12 years but creating art is something I’ve been doing as long as I can remember. I knew since I was a little kid that I wanted to pursue art in some way… there was never a question or doubt about what I wanted to be so it was a natural thing to stick by all these years. It challenges me and helps me to express myself through my own art language and style. I didn’t so much as “pursue” art but it’s more that I just never really stopped doing it. People around me had the highest opinion of how much I was wasting my time on an “unrealistic” career. This fueled a fire in me because I knew it was right for me even when everyone said it was wrong. It was seen as a rebellious thing for me to go against the grain but I created opportunities for myself before they were there, nurturing my own reality in my own world. Instead of conforming and following the same path as everyone, I carved my own. It’s okay to be different and want different things. Now I get hired to travel around the world to work with different communities facilitating art workshops and bringing murals to life. I love it.”

Osaka, Japan 2019 | Instagram @msyellowart


Chiba, Japan 2019 | Instagram @msyellowart

Any recognition or accolades Ms. Yellow has received are well-deserved and hard-earned. She thinks it’s important to give back and use her talents for causes she is passionate about. So, when this opportunity arose she jumped right on it. “I think it’s amazing. It grows relationships between artist and organizations and helps to shed light to important causes by advocating through art and imagery. I have worked with many non-profit and grassroots organizations locally and internationally with the intentions of highlighting awareness and/or visibility to issues. I sincerely hope to continue this. Unfortunately, the lack of government funding stunts the resources needed in order to help our community but by doing projects and fundraisers such as this one we show that we can help self-sustain if we all do our part in supporting and spreading the word.

There’s a lot I could say about the organization that this collaboration will be supporting, but after talking to the artist and seeing her passion for the women’s shelter I don’t think I could say it better than her. “I had so much inspiration for this shirt design. Things I saw, heard, and my own experiences. There are soo many stories from women. More than you can count. People have asked “why don’t women come forward?” Many have gone as far as saying it’s women’s fault for not speaking up but the real question that we should ask ourselves is, are we providing a safe enough environment for women to even feel comfortable enough to tell us this personal, deeply traumatic experience? And will we listen with a full heart and open mind instead of victim shame?” 

Nuria Ortiz “Ms Yellow” | Instagram @msyellowart

To Ms. Yellow, this isn’t just about the social implications of being a survivor, it’s a systemic problem she passionately believes in fighting to be changed. “When women come forward about rape and go to Police, the experience in doing so becomes disheartening when across the entire country thousands and thousands of rape kits are not even tested for years, sometimes decades allowing predators to bask in their freedom with the potential to continue harm.  Hard evidence is put on the back burner, sometimes completely forgotten about until pressure gets put on police departments to go through this backlog. Resources, funds and man power within various police departments are not being used appropriately when they should. LAPD’s $3 billion-dollar budget provided fancy militaristic-like gear showing the department’s severely deaf toned and out of touch connection with the communities that need honest help. The backlog on rape kits are one of the many casualties of misused money and power that have failed society. And it doesn’t stop there, this attitude echoes across the globe While some choose to stay in the Dark Ages, our skins continue to thicken over time through situations no one should be put in. Before they can hear us, they must see us and believe our words. I put that message on the shirt (“see us, hear us, believe us”) because of the disconnection in humanity. The women on the shirt have different backgrounds and different skin tones to show the wide range of cultures that these crimes affect just like they do to men and children.” 

She ended her impassioned statement with a simple phrase I found quite powerful: “We can do and be better.”

There’s more to this campaign than simple charity. Never has it been clearer the importance of community than in the last year and wearing art from a local, to support something they are passionate about is a bold example of togetherness. The pandemic has been difficult in many ways, but finding the clarity in the haze of uncertainty and grief can be a powerful thing. To Ms. Yellow, art is an important way to do that. “It has certainly made me assess where I am in my artistic career and how to be able to proceed doing what I love in a time of crisis.  But we are creatures who adapt to change even if the future is uncertain. I am grateful to still be working and that people are continually reaching out to myself and other artists for work. People are looking to art to make sense of what the world is going through or take their minds away from it.

A Cause Worth Wearing Collaboration benefiting WomenShelter of LB | Original artwork by Ms Yellow.

The confidence and resilience of Ms. Yellow and her art are inspirational in more than a few ways, but her passion for justice is hard to ignore. After speaking with her, the stirring in my chest looking at her work became clearer and I realized it was hopefulness. Her design for A Cause Worth Wearing is bold in many ways and the look on each face is one of pride. They will not be silenced, and neither will their artist. As said artist would say: “Times change regularly but the stories on the walls can live forever and we, as artists, can be that vessel of communication for these communities so that their stories and traditions stay alive.

Make sure you check out Ms. Yellow’s design for this month’s shirt and the proceeds from any sales will be going to support both the artist and her non-profit of choice. So, if you can, this is an easy and fashionable way to make a positive impact on your community! You can find more of Ms. Yellow’s work on social media @MsYellowArt and on Powwow Long Beach’s website! 

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A Cause Worth Wearing is a collaboration with LB Living, Long Beach Gives and Arts Council for Long Beach


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