Accessibility, equity, and inclusivity. Powerful words that carry a lot of weight with Kelsee Thomas, the artist and illustrator behind the artwork on our special-edition Lyon boxes.
Kelsee is an LA-based artist who originally hailed from Dayton, Ohio. She studied Fine Arts at UCLA, where she focused on large scale paintings/installations and performance-based art, before her style evolved into digital illustration work.
Kelsee’s colorful artwork draws parallels to traditional pop art. Her inspiration stems from the world around her, from themes involving current events and pop culture, to her personal experiences including being a Black woman in the United States.
Her artwork on Lyon taps into one of those experiences that’s all too familiar to her and her family – the lack of accessibility when it comes to civic engagement. For Kelsee, “accessibility” means the capacity for everyone to vote and let their voices be hard. Never has that message been more pressing then it is now, as we look to the November 3rd election.
“Sometimes we don’t trust our government because we don’t feel like we put them in there,” says Kelsee. “If you can’t vote you lose your ability to feel like you have a trust in the system.”
Kelsee talks of experiences of those around her, like her Father being unable to take time off of work to vote. Just one example of subtle voter suppression tactics that include, long waits at a limited number of poll locations, confusing voter ID laws, registration purging, just to name a few.
The characters in her artwork represent people of different nationalities, genders, and religious backgrounds, as well as those with disabilities. It paints a picture of Kelsee’s vision of providing everyone in our country with the right and ability to cast their votes on election day, regardless of what language they speak, community they come from, or disabilities they live with.
“This year, it’s more important than ever for everyone to not only go out and vote but also to have the accessibility to vote,” says Kelsee.
To learn more about Kelsee and support her work, visit her site at kelssweetie.com or check out her colorful creations on her Instagram, @kelssweetie.
Grab a box of our limited-edition Lyon blend, a coffee who’s impact is larger than its taste. $2 of every box sold will go towards Vote.org in their mission to simplify civic engagement, increase voter turnout, and strengthen American democracy.
Visit our site HERE to learn more about our partnership with Vote.org and to register to vote, check your voter registration, or apply for your mail-in ballot today.
Get inspired and educated for the upcoming election with our Fuel Your Vote Podcast Spotify Playlist.