“Like living in a kaleidoscope”: this logo aims to capture the complexity of being trans


Each month we feature a new version of the CBC Arts logo created by a Canadian artist. Discover our previous logos!

Anna Campbell is a multidisciplinary artist living in Toronto, and when CBC Arts hired recent Ryerson graduate to create a logo for Transgender Awareness Month, we included a specific note: make it blue, pink and white. It’s a limited combo, sure, but these three colors are a nod to the trans flag. And as Campbell explains in this email interview, that palette became the springboard for how they (beautifully!) Expressed the complexity of being trans. Read on to learn more about the design and what inspires Campbell’s artwork.

Name: Anna Campbell (they / them)

Age: 29

Reception base: Toronto

What inspires your aesthetic?

I sometimes think of myself as Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s impossible child in love with the 90s, so I really am a gay pop artist at heart. Mid-century sci-fi and fantasy have a big influence on me visually, from the luscious covers of novels to decorating sets of televised spaceships. But I’m also a queer feminist, so Barbara Kruger, Keith Haring, et al. I like anything that has a big color, a big heart, or a biting message. Even better all three!

(@ acrookedmouth / Instagram)

Let’s talk about your design! What inspired the concept?

I like to think that being trans is infinite diversity in an infinite combination, to steal a quote from Star Trek. I visualize this as if I live in a kaleidoscope, spinning in endless fractal colors. It was the starting point.

November is Transgender Awareness Month. How does the logo reflect this theme?

We [Campbell and CBC Arts producers] wanted to use the colors of the trans flag specifically for this, because of course they make a lot of emotional and political sense at the same time. So, using this short palette, I wanted to use shadow and shape to evoke as much variation as possible. I also wanted it to be fun, because for all the violence and vitriol against us, being trans is pretty wonderful.

Which project are you most proud of?

I just finished my masters this fall, despite all the pandemic setbacks that at times made it impossible. I’m really proud of my Machines For Living thesis, which deals a lot with the experience of being trans and queer and I hope that one day I can get it exhibited elsewhere than online!

(@ acrookedmouth / Instagram)

New projects you can tell us about? What are you working on these days?

I’m still trying to get as many illustration and design commissions as I can to pay for the cost of living, but I’m also planning some big paint and video jobs for the next year which I’m really excited about!

Where is your favorite place to see art?

Frankly? In the street. Street art, architecture, fashion, even music – you can find so much of it in the public space, but I also always wish there were more. There is nothing quite like discovering art with other people. That’s why I like theaters of all kinds.

I like to think of being trans as an infinite diversity in an infinite combination, to steal a quote from Star Trek.-Anna Campbell, artist

Who is the last artist you discovered online?

I think it must have been Bebhinn Eilish, who is an Irish illustrator that I came across on Twitter. Her work has a really evocative style and I love everyone who draws natural hair!

What work of art would you like to own?

All by Laurena Finéus, whose work I admire since I bought them a print at an Ottawa art fair. I have always hung it above my bed. Someday I would like to buy a real painting because their work has a fantastic texture and character and I know they will go a long way.

Where can we see more of you?

My tote portfolio website is www.acrookedmouth.ca, but you can also find me on Instagram (@acrookedmouth) where I love posting process photos and sketches and sometimes dogs!

(@ acrookedmouth / Instagram)

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

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