Fearless Portraits

This is the Fearless Portraits Podcast, a collection of women who are leaders, innovators, and trailblazers. Some of them are well-known, some of them are obscure. All of them worked to make a difference in the world. In each episode, we’ll learn the stories of amazing changemakers in the time it takes to drink your morning coffee. The Fearless Portraits Podcast is hosted by Dan Landau, a New Jersey-based visual artist who repurposes maps and other items with ink drawings and intricate papercutting to create portraits of people and things.

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Tuesday Mar 29, 2022

“If you’re so proud of America’s history, look at the downsides too. Own it just like you own how we won the Revolutionary War.”   Iris Haq-Lukolyo Fifth grade student   The artwork: Iris Haq-Lukolyo’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her holding a copy of the magazine with her article in it, while wearing a T-shirt that with Kamala Harris’ “I’m Speaking” quote on it. I’ve drawn her on a contemporary map of her hometown of Pearland, TX. While Haq-Lukolyo herself fits within the edges of the town on the map, the magazine she is holding straddles the boundaries of the map and extends far into the margins of the paper, just as her voice did through the article.     The Story: A warm day in September 2020, ten-year-old Iris Haq-Lukolyo logged into her virtual classroom from the small desk in a bedroom of her Pearland, TX home. Her teacher said they would be learning about the Founding Fathers that day and how they built America.  Something seemed missing from the lesson though, so the only Black student in the class spoke up:  "I went off of mute, and I said, 'But didn't slaves build America?' And my teacher was like, 'oh, no, we don't talk about that in this classroom.'" The teacher didn’t address the topic of slavery that day, or include it in any of lessons for the rest of the year, despite the fact that many of the Founding Fathers collectively enslaved thousands of Black people. Slavery also wasn’t something limited only to the cotton plantations in the South—at the time of the American Revolution, New York City was second only behind Charleston, SC in slave population. Even the White House and Capitol were built with slave labor.  Devastated by the teacher’s harsh reaction, Haq-Lukolyo turned off her camera and cried. Her tears soon turned to action though. “As soon as I got on lunch break, I just took the whole break and started writing,” she says.  An avid writer, Haq-Lukolyo quickly filled two notebook pages with her thoughts on the incident: "In Social Studies class, we were learning about who built ‘the greatest country in the world, America.’ The teacher started listing names like George Washington and other overrated white historic figures. And I was like, ummm, did you forget something about who actually built America? If you are so proud of America’s history, look at the downsides too. Own it just like you own how we won the Revolutionary War." After detailing the incident and how black history is treated in schools, Haq-Lukolyo closed the essay with a plea:  "I’m a fifth grader in Texas and I’m asking teachers two things: First, don’t shut down or mute conversations about slavery. It took courage for me to come off mute and make that contribution only to be shut down by the teacher. That hurts. Second, please teach American history in a way that shows the complex and, yes, racist history of our country. Students deserve to learn the ugly sides of our history so we won’t repeat the same mistakes, and also learn about amazing black historical figures beyond Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Harriet Tubman. These changes will make me feel seen and comfortable as a Black child in a classroom in America." Her mother showed the essay to some friends and one recommended submitting to Skipping Stones, a national youth literary magazine. Skipping Stones published the article in December 2020 to widespread acclaim.  “One person—which was my teacher—wasn’t hearing or listening to me, but thousands of other people were,” says Haq-Lukolyo.  Her mother, Dr. Heather Haq, elaborated saying, “We heard from people all over the country, saying what a strong and powerful voice she had, how much clarity she had in her writing and how brave she was to not only stand up in the first place in her class, but then to also use her voice again to write this article. And we had people share that, ‘Oh, something like this happened to me when I was a student. But I never spoke up about it and I'm so glad you did.’” After the incident, Haq-Lukolyo and her mother requested a meeting with the teacher to share how the classroom incident had affected her. The teacher made an attempt at an apology that fell flat. “She invited me to a Zoom meeting to apologize,” says Haq-Lukolyo. “ And her apology was that her dad was raised by black women, and that she likes black people, but there was no sincere apology. And I felt personally offended for a second time by her because if that was an apology to her, it's just kind of sad, because it had nothing to do with me and [she was saying that] just because I was black.”  Originally born in Wisconsin, Haq-Lukolyo has lived all around the world, including Texas, Uganda, and then back to Texas to her present home in Pearland, a Houston suburb. For now, Haq-Lukolyo is focusing on developing her writing abilities and spending time on other interests like drawing and music. She is also part of a competitive dance team.   Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno.    Sources: Ambrose, S. E. (2002, November). Founding Fathers and Slaveholders. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/founding-fathers-and-slaveholders-72262393/  Anthony, C. (2017, November 26). How slave labor built and financed major U.S. cities. Salon. https://www.salon.com/2017/11/26/how-slave-labor-built-and-financed-major-u-s-cities/ Constitutional Rights Foundation. (2017). How Should We Judge Our Nation’s Founders? CRF-USA. https://crf-usa.org/images/t2t/pdf/HowShouldWeJudgeOurNation.pdf  Haq, H. [@heather_haq]. (2021, January 4). Speaking up takes courage. Imagine being 10 yrs old & bravely making a contribution to your 5th grade history class [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/heather_haq/status/1346207913040371714  Haq-Lukolyo, I. (2020, December). Muted: Fifth Grade Conversations About Slavery. Skipping Stones. https://www.skippingstones.org/wp/2020/12/21/muted-fifth-grade-conversations-about-slavery Iris Haq-Lukolyo and Dr. Heather Haq, interview by author via Zoom, December 9, 2021.  Lane, A. (2009, January 19). The legend of slaves building Capitol is correct. Politifact. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2009/jan/19/nancy-pelosi/legend-slaves-building-capitol-correct/  McShane, J. (2021, February 23). She’s the only Black kid in her fifth-grade class. She spoke up when slavery wasn’t included in a lesson plan. The Lily. https://www.thelily.com/gdpr-consent/?destination=%2fshes-the-only-black-kid-in-her-fifth-grade-class-she-spoke-up-when-slavery-wasnt-included-in-a-lesson-plan%2f%3f White House Historical Association. (n.d.). Did enslaved people build the White House? WHHA. https://www.whitehousehistory.org/questions/did-slaves-build-the-white-house

Tuesday Mar 22, 2022

“I longed to arrest all beauty that came before me.”  Julia Margaret Cameron Photographer   The artwork: Ink  drawing on a map of the Island of Wight, UK, based on a self portrait by Julia Cameron. Her home in Freshwater is located on the left side, above her head.   The story: Julia Cameron began career as a photographer relatively late at the age of 48, when she was given her first camera. A present from her daughter, the camera was meant to be a source of entertainment for Cameron at her UK home on the Isle of Wight while her husband tended to his coffee plantations in Sri Lanka. “It may amuse you, Mother, to try to photograph during your solitude,” said her daughter.  Cameron took to photography with gusto, learning her craft and focusing on making portraits in her studio converted from a chicken coop.  “Many and many a week in the year 1864, I worked fruitlessly, but not hopelessly… I began with no knowledge of the art. I did not know where to place my dark box, how to focus my sitter, and my first picture I effaced to my consternation by rubbing my hand over the filmy side of the glass,” she said of her photographic beginnings.  However, she did not stay “fruitless” for long and she quickly came to see her camera as, “A living thing, with voice, memory, and a creative vigor.”  Within a year, she was a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland. She developed a unique style, characterized by close-cropped intimate portraits that were often deliberately slightly out of focus or blurred by her subjects moving during long exposures.  Highly unconventional for her day, her style was heavily criticized by the photography establishment during her lifetime for her supposedly poor technique. She is now recognized as one of Britain’s greatest portrait photographers of the 19th century and credited with creating the first close-up portraits in the history of the medium. Cameron dismissed the carping by her peers of her soft focus work, saying,  “What is focus and who has the right to say what focus is the legitimate focus?” Cameron’s photography career was short but productive. She made around 900 photographs over a 12-year period, registering each of them with the copyright office. Her subjects included luminaries from the London cultural scene, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Charles Darwin.  While her photos of eminent Victorian men featured strong contrasts in light and shadow (chiaroscuro) resulting in powerful images, her portraits of women are noted for their particularly sensitive and often delicate renderings of female beauty.   Describing her photography career, Cameron said, “I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied. Its difficulty enhanced the value of the pursuit.”   Background on Cameron: The daughter of an East India Company official, Cameron was born in India on June 11, 1815. She was educated with relatives in France and then she returned to India after completing her schooling. She met her husband, Charles Hay Cameron, while both of them were convalescing, likely from malaria. They married in Kolkata, two years after meeting.  Her photography was actively supported by her husband and she eagerly showed him every photograph she made:  “My husband from first to last has watched every picture with delight, and it is my daily habit to run to him with every glass upon which a fresh glory is newly stamped, and to listen to his enthusiastic applause. This habit of running into the dining-room with my wet pictures has stained such an immense quantity of table linen with nitrate of silver, indelible stains, that I should have been banished from any less indulgent household,” she said. By all accounts, the Camerons were a happy couple, devoted to each other. They raised 11 children together, six of their own and five orphans they adopted. They moved to London in the 1840s and were an active part of the social and cultural scene. After visiting Tennyson’s home on the Isle of Wight, Cameron was taken with the location and they bought their own home on the island, calling it Dimbola Lodge.  She died on January 26, 1879 in Kalutara, Sri Lanka, where her husband held coffee plantations.    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Michael Kobrin.   Sources: Cameron, J. M. (2016, February 15). 11 Quotes By Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. John Paul Caponigro. https://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/16476/11-quotes-by-photographer-julia-margaret-cameron/  Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). Julia Margaret Cameron | British photographer. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Julia-Margaret-Cameron  Photogpedia. (2021, March 21). 25 Timeless Julia Margaret Cameron Quotes to Bookmark. https://photogpedia.com/julia-margaret-cameron-quotes/ Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 7). Julia Margaret Cameron. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Margaret_Cameron

Tuesday Mar 15, 2022

“If I perish, I perish.” Queen Esther Biblical queen of Persia   The Artwork: Esther’s portrait  in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an Ink drawing of her on an 1843 map of Persia and surrounding region. The portrait is based on 19th and early 20th century painter Kate Gardiner Hastings’ painting called “Esther.”  The Story: Haman, the highest ranking official in the Persian court of King Xerxes, nursed a grudge against a Jewish man and conspired to have all the Jews in Xerxes’ realm killed. A royal decree was sent out for their destruction.  When Mordecai heard of the murderous plot, he brought the news to the young woman he had raised as a daughter—Esther, the Queen of Persia. At Mordecai’s urging, Esther kept her Jewish heritage secret when she became queen. This time, he instructed her to go before the king and beg for mercy for her people. At this time, it was a death sentence to appear before the king without an invitation and it had been 30 days since the king had called for Esther. Yet Mordecai appealed to Esther, saying, “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther responded to Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in the city. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” On the third day, dressed in her royal robes, Esther entered the throne room. Seeing the queen, the king was pleased with her and asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you.” Knowing her husband’s fondness for food and wine, Esther invited the king and Haman to a series of banquets. After eating and drinking, the king again asked Esther, “What is your petition? It will be given to you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.” Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, Your Majesty, and if it pleases you, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, killed and annihilated.” By the end of the evening, Haman was dead, Mordecai elevated in his place, and a fresh edict issued to cancel out the original murderous plan.  From that time to the present, Jews around the world celebrate Queen Esther’s bravery in saving her people from genocide with the Purim holiday (usually in March).   Background on Esther: Esther’s ascent to the heights of the Persian royal court was an unlikely trajectory. Born in exile away from the Jewish homeland around 592 BC, Esther was an orphan. Her cousin, Mordecai raised her as his own daughter. She would have had a normal life if it were not for an unusual series of events that kicked off when she was a young woman—perhaps just a teenager.  After a weeklong bender with all the men of his capital city, King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to come out before his guests wearing nothing but the royal crown. When she refused, his advisors counseled the king that this offense was not only against the king but against all the men of the kingdom and if not dealt with harshly, would cause all the wives in the realm to disrespect their husbands. So, Vashti was disposed of, never to be heard of again.  Xerxes commissioned a search for a new queen and all the beautiful virgins of the kingdom were brought to the palace. After undergoing months of beauty treatments, the women were sent to the king one by one for him to sleep with. Esther won the king’s favor, and he made her queen.    Music: This episode contains music from Geovane Bruno and the English Chamber Orchestra performing the Overture to George Friderich Handel’s oratorio “Esther”   Sources:  Brown, E. (2020, March 8). Esther, Sex, and Power. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/esther-sex-and-power/607534/ Crispe, S. E. (n.d.). Esther: Hidden Beauty. Chabad.Org. https://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/367185/jewish/Esther-Hidden-Beauty.htm Encyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Esther | Encyclopedia.com. https://www.encyclopedia.com/philosophy-and-religion/bible/old-testament/esther Esther (NIV). (n.d.). Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Esther%202&version=NIV Friedlander, R. (n.d.). Five Things About Esther That Nobody Talks About. Jews for Jesus. https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/inherit/five-things-about-esther-that-nobody-talks-about Isbouts, J. (2021, May 4). Did Queen Esther’s beauty or bravery foil a massacre? National Geographic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/queen-esther-beauty-bravery-foil-massacre Koren, Y. (2018, February 26). The harem of violated women in Megillat Esther. The Times of Israel. https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-harem-of-violated-women-in-megillat-esther/ Wikipedia contributors. (2022, March 6). Esther. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther

Tuesday Mar 08, 2022

“People said I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So, I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies.” Melissa Blake Writer and disabilities activist  The Artwork: Blake’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her, based on one of the selfies she defiantly posted, “to commemorate the occasion.” I’ve drawn her on a map of her hometown, DeKalb, Illinois.   The Story:  After writing an op-ed on CNN.com in August 2019, Melissa Blake discovered 100s of comments mocking her appearance. While hurtful, Blake was accustomed to the abuse and usually took it in stride. But something was different this time.  Reflecting on the episode, she writes, “As a woman writer with a genetic bone and muscular disorder, I’m used to being called names like ‘blobfish’ and ‘whale,’ but there was one comment I just couldn’t shake. Someone said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to respond in some way. Not directly to the person, but as a general statement.” Blake settled on a set of selfies on Twitter as a suitable response, posting: “People said I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m too ugly. So, I’d just like to commemorate the occasion with these 3 selfies.” The defiant tweet quickly went viral and her Twitter follower count rocketed up from under 8,000 to over 100k.  Buoyed by the army of supporters, Blake began posting a selfie everyday under the hashtag #MyBestSelfie. Weeks went by. Then months. More than a year later, Blake continues to post her “best selfie” every day, saying “I post selfies to unapologetically take up space and demand to be seen as a disabled woman.”  People around the world have joined the movement, posting their own photos. Her daily discipline has inspired other disabled people and educated legions of enabled people. More importantly, Blake found a new level of personal confidence: “With each selfie, I felt more comfortable in my own body and discovered a freedom I’d never really felt before as a disabled woman,” she says.   Background on Blake: Born on August 4, 1981 in DeKalb, Illinois, Blake has Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a rare bone and muscle disorder that primarily affects the face, hands, and feet. The disorder gives people a distinctive facial appearance. She’s had nearly 30 operations, including surgeries on her knees, hands, hips, and spine.  While she uses a wheelchair to maneuver the physical world, she’s under no such limitations online and she’s become a force for positivity on the internet. Blake is a writer and her work has appeared in publications as diverse as Glamour and The New York Times, and her personal blog, So About What I Said.    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.    Sources: ABC news. (2019, September 19). Writer behind viral #mybestselfie trend talks cyberbullying [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sy5RGfUfokY ABC News. (2020, October 25). Blogger Melissa Blake claps back at hateful online comments about her appearance, disability [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_f-0Whh22Y  Blake, M. (2019a, August 3). What if we all unfollowed Trump on Twitter? (opinion). CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/03/opinions/donald-trump-unfollow-on-twitter-blake/index.html Blake, M. (2020, September 30). After An Internet Troll Told Me I Was “Too Ugly,” I Spent A Year Posting Selfies. Refinery29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/09/10031949/melissa-blake-writer-twitter-selfies-trollgate-interview Blake, M. [@melissablake]. (2019b, September 7). During the last round of trollgate, people said that I should be banned from posting photos of myself because I’m [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/melissablake/status/1170481393673166849 Brennan, R. (2011, July 21). Dating With Disabilities: Q&A With Melissa Blake of So About What I Said. Glamour. https://www.glamour.com/story/dating-with-disabilities-qa-wi Jensen, E. (2019, September 20). Internet trolls said writer Melissa Blake was too “ugly” to post pictures, so she shared selfies. USA TODAY. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/life/2019/09/20/melissa-blake-writer-shares-selfies-twitter-trolls/2386393001/ MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Freeman-Sheldon syndrome: MedlinePlus Genetics. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/freeman-sheldon-syndrome/ WGN News. (2019, September 16). Writer trolled for her looks posts selfies in response, gets outpouring of support [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgJ60rhq2h0

Tuesday Mar 01, 2022

“You can be whatever you set your heart and head to be, and don’t let anybody tell you can’t be, because 1,078 women pilots did it in WWII.”   Annelle Henderson Bulechek Aviator, WASP     Artwork: To represent the WASPs in in the Fearless Portrait project, I’ve drawn WASP squadron leader, Betty Gillies, in white ink, on a blueprint of a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter plane. The first pilot to fly for the WASP, she was also the first woman to fly the P-47.     The story: As the WWII war effort strained manpower and resources, women were tapped to fill traditionally male jobs. The US Air Force (then part of the army) was not immune to the manpower shortages and to free up men for combat duty, the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) was formed.  Flying more than 60 million miles during the war, the 1,000+ members of the all-female corps flew every single plane in the army’s inventory—78 different types, from the tiny P-51 Mustang fighters to the huge B-29 Superfortress bombers. These women flew 80% of all ferrying missions, delivering 12,000 aircraft from factories to army bases. Additionally, they towed about 90% of the aerial targets for air-to-air combat training and live anti-aircraft artillery practice.  When WASP founder Jacqueline Cochran put out the call for applicants, more than 25,000 women applied. Of those 1,830 were accepted and 1,078 made it through the training. Promised commissions, they were trained as officers and had to follow the rules for officers, they were nevertheless denied officer ranks. They served as civilians, meaning that not only did they not have military rank, they did not have insurance, veteran, burial or death benefits until 1977. Despite the snub, they served with distinction. General of the Air Force, Henry “Hap” Arnold even used them to show up male pilots. When men didn’t want to fly the difficult B-29 bomber, Arnold recruited two WASPs to fly a B-29 and embarrassed the men into flying it without complaint.  Many men were unhappy with having to work with female pilots and the WASPs faced significant discrimination. Women over 35 weren’t even allowed to enter the WASP, as the military had determined 40 was the beginning of menopause and wanted to ensure none of the WASPs would be entering the time of “debilitating irrationality” while in service.  The WASP was disbanded in December 1944.  “They said we couldn’t do it. We did it, and we did it successfully,” said Annelle Henderson Bulechek, one of the WASPs. “And by, Hap Arnold’s own account, we did it as well as any man could have done it. I think that’s the legacy that we leave behind us—that laws and lawsuits [about getting proper veteran status] and everything else doesn’t make you what you are. It’s what you want to be and what you go ahead and do that counts.”   Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.    Sources: Air Space. (n.d.). AirSpace Season 3|Ep.9Fly Girl. National Air and Space Museum. https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/airspaces3ep9 Chen, P. C. (n.d.). Betty Gillies. WW2DB. https://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=505 Digital Public Library of America. (n.d.-a). Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) | DPLA. https://dp.la/exhibitions/american-aviatrixes/women-air-force-service-pilots/deactivation-of-the-wasps Digital Public Library of America. (n.d.-b). Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) | DPLA. https://dp.la/exhibitions/american-aviatrixes/women-air-force-service-pilots Pauley, H. (n.d.). The Unsung Heroines of World War II - WASP. Megavision. https://www.megavision.net/wasp/index.html Veterans History Project. (2003, March 5). Interview with Annelle Bulechek [03/25/2003]. Library of Congress. http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.08083/transcript?ID=mv0001  WASP Annelle Henderson Bulechek. (n.d.). Wings Across America. http://www.wingsacrossamerica.us/web/bulechek_annelle_NEW.htm  Wikipedia contributors. (2021a, November 10). Betty Gillies. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Gillies  Wikipedia contributors. (2021b, November 24). Women Airforce Service Pilots. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_Airforce_Service_Pilots 

Tuesday Feb 22, 2022

“There was no choice but to be a pioneer.” Margaret Hamilton Mother of software engineering   Artwork: Hamilton’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project is based on an iconic photograph of her standing next to a stack of binders about as tall as she is. These binders contained the computer code she and her team wrote for the Apollo Mission. I’ve drawn her with black ink on a 1966 US Air Force map of the moon.   The Story: On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were three minutes away from making their historic landing on the moon when the lunar lander’s onboard computer began spitting out emergency alarms.  Faced with the critical choice of aborting the mission or not, flight controllers in Houston chose to trust the computer’s software that Margaret Hamilton, director of Apollo flight computer programming and her team at MIT’s Draper Laboratory developed.  “It quickly became clear the software was not only informing everyone that there was a hardware-related problem but was compensating for it,” said Hamilton.  It turned out that the astronaut’s checklist was at fault, telling them to set the rendezvous radar switch in the wrong position. The radar began bombarding the onboard computer with irrelevant information and overloading the computer. In a situation like this, Hamilton’s code dictated the computer should reboot. The restarting process allowed the computer to reprioritize tasks—ignoring the incoming radar information and focusing on the critical landing calculations.  “If the computer hadn't recognized this problem and taken recovery action, I doubt if Apollo 11 would have been the successful Moon landing it was,” Hamilton would later write.  In an era before screens, Hamilton and her team manually typed 11,000 pages of code writing the Apollo Project software. Stacked up, the software was the same height as Hamilton. The monumental achievement of putting a man on the moon was all the more impressive as the astronauts had access to a mere 72 kilobytes of memory. A standard smartphone today has more than million times more storage space.  Six and half hours after the fraught landing, Armstrong made his historic first step on the moon, saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”   Background on Hamilton: Hamilton was born on August 17, 1936 in Paoli, Indiana. After graduating in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, she took a job at MIT. It was supposed to be a temporary step, supporting her husband while he was in law school. It was here that she first learned what a computer was and how to write software. Her early experiences at MIT paved the way for her passion for building ultra-reliable software.  Initially planning to leave her job and pursue a master’s in abstract mathematics, she caught the programming bug and continued working at MIT when the university was asked to work on the Apollo space program.  “I was the first programmer to join and the first woman they hired,” she said. “Male engineers were already working on the project, but they were hardware engineers and it wasn’t their thing.” Within a few years, she was leading a whole team of programmers at MIT in what would later be known as Draper Laboratory.  Her work as a computer scientist and a mother often collided and Hamilton would bring her daughter, Lauren, to the lab at night and on weekends. One day, Hamilton was running a simulation of a moon mission and Lauren began punching buttons like her mom. Lauren began running a pre-launch program while the system was already “on the way” to the moon and the system crashed and erased the navigational data taking her to the moon.  “This could inadvertently happen in a real mission,” thought Hamilton and she pushed for software changes to address the issue. The higher-ups at NASA said the astronauts were too well trained to make such a mistake. On the very next mission—Apollo 8—astronaut Jim Lovell made the exact same error. NASA let Hamilton make the software fix after that.   Still in their infancy when Hamilton began her career, computer science and software engineering were not yet disciplines. Programmers often came from math backgrounds and learned on the job. As Hamilton put it, “there was no choice but to be pioneers.”  Ever the innovator, Hamilton coined the term “software engineering” while working on the Apollo project.  “I fought to bring the software legitimacy so that it—and those building it—would be given due respect. I began to use the term ‘software engineering’ to distinguish it from hardware and other kinds of engineering, yet treat each type of engineering as part of the overall systems engineering process. Software eventually and necessarily gained the same respect as any other discipline,” she explained.  Building on her Apollo work, Hamilton founded two companies—Higher Order Software (HOS) in 1976 and Hamilton Technologies in 1986.  Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, saying, “Her example speaks of the American spirit of discovery that exists in every little girl and little boy who know that somehow, to look beyond the heavens is to look deep within ourselves—and to figure out just what is possible.”   Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno, Toma Mutiu, and Alex Chernykh.   Sources: American Experience. (2019, June 3). The Women Who Brought Us the Moon. American Experience | PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/chasing-moon-women-who-brought-us-moon/ Cameron, L. (2020, August 11). First Software Engineer. IEEE Computer Society. https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/events/what-to-know-about-the-scientist-who-invented-the-term-software-engineering/ Corbyn, Z. (2019, July 16). Margaret Hamilton: ‘They worried that the men might rebel. They didn’t.’ The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/13/margaret-hamilton-computer-scientist-interview-software-apollo-missions-1969-moon-landing-nasa-women George, A. (2019, March 14). Margaret Hamilton Led the NASA Software Team That Landed Astronauts on the Moon. Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/margaret-hamilton-led-nasa-software-team-landed-astronauts-moon-180971575/ Hamilton, M. H. (n.d.). Margaret H. Hamilton Quotes. Citatis.Com. https://citatis.com/a7438/ Matthews, D. (2019, July 17). Margaret Hamilton: the Apollo software engineer who saved the moon landing. Vox. https://www.vox.com/2015/5/30/8689481/margaret-hamilton-apollo-software McMillan, R. (2015, October 13). Her Code Got Humans on the Moon—And Invented Software Itself. Wired. https://www.wired.com/2015/10/margaret-hamilton-nasa-apollo/ NASA. (2003, September 3). Margaret Hamilton. https://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11Hamilton.html Obama, B. (2016, November 23). Remarks by the President at Presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Whitehouse.Gov. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/11/22/remarks-president-presentation-presidential-medal-freedom Senkal, M. (2020, May 20). History of Computer Girls, Part 2: Margaret! Metal Toad. https://www.metaltoad.com/blog/history-computer-girls-part-2-margaret Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 23). Margaret Hamilton (software engineer). Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Hamilton_(software_engineer)  

Tuesday Feb 15, 2022

“Lozen is as my right hand, strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.”    Victorio, Apache chief and brother of Lozen, warrior and medicine woman   The Artwork: Lozen’s portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her based on one of the rare existing photographs of her. I’ve drawn her on an 1887 map of Arizona. The San Carlos reservation appears on the map as a red blotch on her shoulder near her heart.   The Story: In 1877, Lozen and a band of Chiricahua Apaches led by her older brother, Victorio, escaped from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Fleeing terrible living conditions so bad that US soldiers referred to the place as “Hell’s Forty Acres,” Victorio’s band rampaged against Americans who had commandeered their New Mexico homeland and cheated them out of land promised them.  The Apaches were pursued relentlessly by US and Mexican forces for the next three years. At one point, when fleeing the US Army, Lozen was leading the women and children and they came to the surging Rio Grande. Terrified of drowning in the raging river, the people began to bunch up on the riverbank, until Lozen leapt into the river. James Kaywaykla, a child at the time, riding behind his grandmother, described the scene later, saying, “I saw a magnificent woman on a beautiful horse—Lozen, sister of Victorio. Lozen the woman warrior! High above her head she held her rifle. There was a glitter as her right foot lifted and struck the shoulder of her horse. He reared, then plunged into the torrent. She turned his head upstream, and he began swimming.”  The other women and children followed her into the river like Moses into the Red Sea. They all made it across the river, cold and wet, but alive. According to Kaywaykla, Lozen came to his mother and said, “You take charge now. I must return to the warriors.” And with that, Lozen drove her horse back into the thundering river and returned to the men holding off the advancing cavalry from reaching their women and children.  At another point near the end of their campaign, Lozen left the band to escort a new mother to a reservation in New Mexico, away from the perils and hardships of the trail. (Some accounts say the woman was pregnant and others that she had a newborn baby.) Lozen and her charge left on the dangerous journey across Mexico’s harsh Chihuahua Desert with only a rifle, cartridge belt, knife and a little bit of food.  In a few days, they needed more food. Afraid to use her rifle and betray their presence to the US and Mexican cavalry forces in the area, Lozen killed a stray longhorn cow with her knife and butchered it. (All the more impressive given that the horns of a longhorn can spread up to six to eight feet, tip-to-tip). She stole horses for herself and the new mother, escaping through a hail of gunfire and finally delivered the woman and her baby to the reservation.   Background on Lozen Lozen was born circa 1840 in what is now New Mexico. As a child, she was different. She had special gifts and talents, including supernatural powers that let her know when enemies were near. She also had a great connection with horses and was recognized as a master horsewoman with the nickname Lozen, which means “expert horse thief.” Her real name is unknown today.  Born into a time of strife, her gifts were valuable in protecting her people from the incursions of the US Army, Mexican Army, and settler militias on both sides of the Rio Grande.  Lozen eschewed marriage and the typical domestic duties of the other women in her tribe in favor of the arts of war. She became a medicine woman and warrior—an uncommon, but not completely unheard of role for a woman among her people. She often fought alongside Victorio and despite being 15 years his junior, was a trusted advisor on matters of war and religion.  Kaywaykla described Lozen’s talents thusly: “She could ride, shoot, and fight like a man, and I think she had more ability in planning military strategy than did Victorio.”  After Victorio’s death, Lozen fought beside the famed chief Geronimo in the last campaign of the Apache Wars. Lozen died of tuberculosis on June 17, 1889, in US military custody in Alabama following Geronimo’s surrender.    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Daniel Carlton.   Sources:  Ball, E., & Kaywaykla, J. (1970). In the Days of Victorio. Amsterdam University Press. Bovee, K. (2019a, October 26). Empowered Women of the Southwest - Lozen, Apache Warrior Woman (Part 2). Kari Bovée | Historical Mystery Author. https://karibovee.com/lozenpartii/  Bovee, K. (2019b, October 26). Empowered Women of the Southwest - Lozen, Apache Warrior Woman (Part One). Kari Bovée | Historical Mystery Author. https://karibovee.com/empowered-women-southwest-lozen-apache-warrior-woman-2/  Docevski, B. (2018, February 3). The “Apache Joan of Arc” and the other courageous Native American women of the 19th century. The Vintage News. https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/11/30/native-american-women/amp/  Gregorczyk, A. (n.d.). Longhorns: Characteristics. Longhorns. http://longhornfacts.weebly.com/characteristics.html#:%7E:text=Horns%20can%20extend%20to%20%26%20feet,of%2055%20to%2065%20inches  Kettler, S. (2020, October 30). 5 Powerful and Influential Native American Women. Biography. https://www.biography.com/.amp/news/famous-native-american-women-native-american-heritage-month  Kumeyaay.com. (n.d.). Lozen: The Fearless Apache Warrior Woman You’ve Probably Never Heard Of. https://www.kumeyaay.com/news/133-lozen-the-fearless-apache-warrior-woman-you-ve-probably-never-heard-of.html  Lozen. (2021, February 2). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lozen Mingren, W. (2019, June 5). Lozen: An Intelligent and Brave Apache Warrior Woman. Ancient Origins. https://www.ancient-origins.net/history-famous-people/lozen-intelligent-and-brave-apache-warrior-women-005889  New Mexico Nomad. (2019, December 29). Apache Warrior Women | Gouyen, Lozen, Dahteste. https://newmexiconomad.com/apache-warrior-women-gouyen-lozen-dahteste/  Rodriguez, A. (2019, October 31). Lozen. Herdacity. https://herdacity.org/lozen/  Romano, A. (2016, January 13). Lozen: The badass warrior woman you’ve probably never heard of. Mashable. https://mashable.com/archive/wtf-history-lozen  Southern Arizona Guide. (2020, October 18). Powerful Apache Warrior Women: Lozen & Dahteste. SouthernArizonaGuide.Com. https://southernarizonaguide.com/chiricahua-apache-warrior-women-lozen-dahteste/ 

Tuesday Feb 08, 2022

“In this day and age, I’m shocked that someone still doesn’t know the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your.’”   Kate McCue Cruise ship captain   Artwork: Ink drawing on a NOAA nautical chart of the waters around the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, an area that cruise ships often travel around.   The story: For Kate McCue, captain of Celebrity Edge, a 1,004-foot-long mega cruise ship that can accommodate nearly 3,000 passengers, the day’s work never stops. On a typical day onboard the ship, she’ll get up at 4 a.m. to begin her work.  Aside from being responsible for up to 3,000 passengers and a crew of more than 1,000, she’s also active on social media. McCue shares a behind-the-scenes view of what cruise life is like from the ship’s bridge on her popular social media channels.  On one particular day in October 2020 began like the others, but this day was a little different. An internet troll commented on one of her social media posts, asking, “how can you be a captain? Your only a woman.” [sic] Sexist comments like this and worse towards McCue and other women online are unfortunately all too common. But on this day, McCue was having none of it. She shut the man down with a withering response in a video that quickly went viral around the world: “I think it's about high time that I address this, because it's 2020, and in this day and age I'm shocked that someone still doesn't know the difference between ‘you’re’ and ‘your.’ Just a quick reference: ‘you’re,’ as in ‘you are,’ as in ‘you are sexist.’ ‘Your’ is something possessive, it belongs to you. Like ‘your ignorance.’” The video concluded with McCue sitting down in her chair, saying “If you need any more clarification, you can find me here—in my captain's chair.”   Background on Captain McCue Born January 6, 1978 in San Francisco, CA, McCue began her maritime career with a dream at the age of 12 when she went on a cruise with her family. She told her father she wanted to be a cruise director when she grew up and he told her she could do anything, including captain the ship. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Cal Maritime and worked her way up the ranks in the shipping world.  She began as an apprentice officer on cargo boats transporting banana from South America and California. Eager to switch from cargo to cruises, she joined Disney Cruise Lines as a third mate and later moved to Royal Caribbean International. She worked her way up to staff captain (second in command), when in 2015, the CEO of Celebrity Cruise Line invited her to apply to captain the Celebrity Summit.  This promotion made McCue the first American female captain of a mega cruise ship and only the fifth woman overall. A mega cruise ship has a gross tonnage of least 80,000. Her current ship, Celebrity Edge, is nearly 131,000.  Now when passengers begin a voyage on a ship helmed by McCue, she greets them over the loudspeakers, “This is Captain Kate, but you can call me Captain because it took me 19 years to earn this title.”    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.    Sources:  Coffey, H. (2020, October 6). A cruise captain’s “fantastic” TikTok video responding to a sexist troll has gone viral. Insider. https://www.insider.com/video-female-cruise-captain-tiktok-response-to-sexist-troll-viral-2020-10 Donnelly, E. (2019, November 21). ‘Ocean’s 27’: Celebrity Cruises will set sail with first-ever all-female officer crew on Women’s International Day. Yahoo! https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/celebrity-cruises-first-all-female-bridge-officers-200600164.html gCaptain. (2019, June 25). IMO’s ‘Day of the Seafarer’ Highlights Gender Equality in Maritime – #IAmOnBoard. https://gcaptain.com/imos-day-of-the-seafarer-highlights-gender-equality-in-maritime-iamonboard/ Glamour. (2017, August 29). Careers: How to be a cruise ship captain. Glamour UK. https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/cruise-jobs Hoeller, S. (2019, December 20). Meet America’s first female captain of a mega cruise ship, who brings her cat and mermaid tail on every voyage. Insider. https://www.insider.com/mega-cruise-captain-kate-mccue-celebrity-edge-photos-2019-12 McCue, K. [@captainkatemccue]. (2020, October 4). Reply to @seamus272 #yourewelcome #fyp #foryou #captain [TikTok post]. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@captainkatemccue/video/6879772226510523653 Rizzo, C. (2020, October 9). First American Woman to Captain a Cruise Ship Delivers Master Class on How to Shut Down Sexist Trolls. Travel + Leisure. https://www.travelandleisure.com/cruises/first-american-female-cruise-ship-captain-provides-inspirational-lesson-in-grammar-and-shutting-down-trolls Romano, A. (2019, February 21). America’s First Female Cruise Captain Travels the World With Her Adorable Sphynx Cat (Video). Travel + Leisure. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/female-cruise-captain-cat Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 1). Kate McCue. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_McCue  

Tuesday Feb 01, 2022

“You are not lesser just because you're a girl.”   Megan Rapinoe American professional soccer player Olympic gold medalist (2012) Two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner (2015, 2019)   Artwork: Ink and colored pencil drawing on a map of Paris, France, where she won her second FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019.    The Story:  Gender-based pay inequality is a chronic issue across the world and is especially present in sports. The US Women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the world for women’s soccer and they’ve won four World Cups, including the last two in a row. The Men’s team in comparison has struggled to even qualify for the World Cup for much of its history and has never played in a final match. Despite the massive success mismatch and the women’s team contributing higher revenues to US Soccer, the men’s team is paid and supported much better than the women’s team.  Fully sick of this, Rapinoe led her teammates to sue US Soccer for gender discrimination in the spring of 2019, before they made their fourth Cup run. Former team captain, Julie Foudy, praised Rapinoe’s efforts, especially for not waiting until after winning their fourth Cup, saying, “We had been socialized not to stir the pot and we probably would have said, ‘let’s plant that flag after we’ve won.’” US Soccer responded to the suit with a variety of ugly claims, including one that being a male soccer player requires more skill and responsibility.  Rapinoe was having none of that, saying in a post-game interview, “To every girl out there, to every boy out there, who watches this team, who wants to be on this team or just wants to live their dream out, you are not lesser just because you're a girl. You are not better just because you're a boy.”   Background on Rapinoe: Born: July 5, 1985, Redding, California.  Rapinoe and her team dominated the field at the 2019 World Cup, hosted by France. Facing off against host country France in the quarter-finals, Rapinoe scored both of the US’ goals in the 2-1 game. She smiled at the audience with her arms outstretched for her goal celebration and the moment was quickly hailed as an “iconic” moment in sports. The game took place in Le Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.  Mirroring the 2019 Cup run, Rapinoe’s soccer career has been a story of relentless success on the field paired with high-profile advocacy for equality. Her advocacy work includes activism and philanthropic ventures around gender, race, and LGBT issues.    Music: This episode contains music by Geovane Bruno and Zakhar Valaha.    Sources: Andrew, S., & Muaddi, N. (2019, June 29). Megan Rapinoe struck an epic pose after scoring against France in the Women’s World Cup. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/29/football/megan-rapinoe-soccer-france-trnd/index.html  Carroll, C. (2019, November 1). USWNT Uses Its Equal Pay Lawsuit as Confetti for World Cup Victory Parade. Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/soccer/2019/07/10/uswnt-womens-world-cup-victory-parade-lawsuit-confetti  ESPN. (2020, June 3). USWNT lawsuit versus U.S. Soccer explained - Defining the pay gaps, what’s at stake for both sides. ESPN.Com. https://www.espn.com/soccer/united-states-usaw/story/4071258/uswnt-lawsuit-versus-us-soccer-explained-defining-the-pay-gapswhats-at-stake-for-both-sides  Guzman, F., & Ahmed, S. (2020, March 12). Megan Rapinoe tears into US Soccer with a powerful message: “To every girl out there . . . you are not lesser.” CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/12/us/us-womens-soccer-protest-spt-trnd/index.html  Johnson, L. M. (2020, March 12). US Soccer claims it won’t pay women equally because being a male player requires more skill. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/11/us/us-soccer-federation-court-document-trnd/index.html  Kelly, M. (2019, August 7). Are U.S. women’s soccer players really earning less than men? Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/08/are-us-womens-soccer-players-really-earning-less-than-men/  Megan Rapinoe. (2020, February 2). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megan_Rapinoe  Vrentas, J. (2021, May 27). 2019 Sportsperson of the Year: Megan Rapinoe. Sports Illustrated. https://www.si.com/sportsperson/2019/12/09/megan-rapinoe-2019-sportsperson-of-the-year  Wamsley, L. (2019, March 8). U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Sues U.S. Soccer For Gender Discrimination. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2019/03/08/701522635/u-s-womens-soccer-team-sues-u-s-soccer-for-gender-discrimination   

Tuesday Jan 25, 2022

“I may be the first woman in this office. But I won’t be the last.” Kamala Harris First female vice president of the US   Artwork: Harris’ portrait in the Fearless Portrait project consists of an ink drawing of her giving her victory speech, on a map of the United States.    The story: Following days of election drama, on Saturday, November 7, all the major news outlets called the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. That evening, in front of a socially distant crowd in Wilmington, DE, and the millions more watching at home around the country, Biden and Harris gave their victory speeches as president- and vice president-elect.   Wearing an all-white pantsuit—a tribute to the suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote—Harris confidently strode onto the outdoor stage. She celebrated Biden’s “audacity” for selecting a woman as his vice president. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last,” she vowed. “Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.  “And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message, dream with ambition. Lead with conviction,” she continued.  As the first female, black person, and Asian-American to be elected VP, Harris closed her speech with a brief vision of the next four years, saying,  “No matter who you voted for, I will strive to be a vice president like Joe was to President Obama—loyal, honest, and prepared. Waking up every day thinking of you and your family. Because now is when the real work begins...  “The essential work to save lives and beat this epidemic. To rebuild our economy so it works for working people. To root out systemic racism in our social justice system and society. To combat the climate crisis. To unite our country and heal the soul of our nation.”   Background on Kamala Harris Harris was born on October 20, 1964 in Oakland, CA. A child of immigrants—her mother from India and her father from Jamaica—Harris is well familiar with the struggles of minorities in the US. While campaigning for president, Harris often spoke of her childhood attending civil rights marches with her parents.  As a child, she was bused across town to public school in a more prosperous neighborhood as part of Berkeley, CA’s desegregation program. She told of how children in her father’s Palo Alto neighborhood were not allowed to play with her because she was black.  She spent most of her career as a prosecutor, working up to District Attorney of San Francisco in 2004 and then California Attorney General in 2011. She entered the US Senate as California’s junior senator in 2017. She ran for president, but withdrew before the 2020 primaries and endorsing Biden. In August, Biden announced Harris would be his running mate.  Aside from the first black person, and first Indian American, she was only the third woman to be picked as the VP candidate for a major party ticket. She’s the second ever person of color to hold the office, after Charles Curtis, a Native American, served under Herbert Hoover in 1929. During the presidential campaign, she acknowledged the historic nature of her candidacy, saying in one interview:  “It really does help to have examples of what can be done and role models, things you can point to, to make it clear that it’s not impossible—and that, in fact, it’s quite probable that you can do these things and will do those things.”    Music: Music comes from Geovane Bruno, Philip Phile’s “Hail Columbia” performed by the US Coast Guard Band, and John Philip Sousa’s “Starts and Stripes Forever,” performed by the US Navy Band.   Sources: Gambino, L. (2021, January 21). “I won’t be the last”: Kamala Harris, first woman elected US vice-president, accepts place in history. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/07/kamala-harris-victory-speech-first-woman-vice-president  Grady, C. (2020, November 8). Kamala Harris speech: “I may be the first woman to hold this office. But I won’t be the last.” Vox. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21554699/kamala-harris-victory-acceptance-speech  Kamala Harris and Padma Lakshmi on Representation. (2020, October 28). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHG-8YNM-8s  News18. (2020, November 8). 10 Things to Know About America’s Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris - In Pics. https://www.news18.com/photogallery/world/10-things-to-know-about-americas-vice-president-elect-kamal-harris-in-pics-3055745-6.html  Paul, K. (2020, December 15). “We are so proud”: San Francisco Bay Area celebrates Kamala Harris, hometown hero. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/07/kamala-harris-oakland-berkeley-bay-area-california  Snyder, T. (2020, November 8). Biden and Harris address the nation, basking in victory and pledging to work for unity. POLITICO. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/07/biden-harris-victory-speech-2020-435000  Wikipedia contributors. (2021, November 28). Kamala Harris. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamala_Harris#Early_career_(1990%E2%80%932004) Zhou, L. (2020, November 7). Election results: Kamala Harris is elected the first woman vice president. Vox. https://www.vox.com/21547999/kamala-harris-first-woman-vice-president-black    



Know of an amazing woman who should be profiled in this podcast and art project? Please share their story! I’m always looking for more people to include. Any other questions, comments, or concerns? 

Email: artwork (at) danlandau.net

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About Dan

I am a self-taught artist specializing in figurative works drawn on maps. My work has been published in a variety of outlets, including The New York Times, Huff Post, and The Nation, and is held in private collections around the world. I live in New Jersey with my favorite muses: my wife and two daughters.

Why maps?

I’ve always liked maps. As a kid, I pored over the map inserts that came with my National Geographic magazines. Now, I use maps as my canvas for creating art.

My work typically consists of subjects drawn in ink on paper maps. Sometimes I cut away portions of the map, leaving the drawing and the roads behind. I like to work with maps because maps have quite a bit of meaning baked into them. They represent places with special associations for us. They help us get to know new places. I use maps as a metaphor for connection and exploration in my work.

Map selection is a crucial part of my process. Sometimes my subjects are deeply and obviously entwined with the maps I draw them on—for example, women profiled in the Fearless Portraits series are drawn on maps of locations connected to their stories. Sometimes the connection is more abstract—evoking ideas of a journey and philosophical travel. Or, perhaps I just liked how the curve of a road matched the subject’s nose.

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