(Left to Right: Artists Natalie Johnson ’18 and Suzanne “Suki” White ’18)
Since 1931, Scripps’ graduating seniors have participated in what has become an essential rite of passage at the College: the signing of Graffiti Wall. Each year, seniors choose a mural design from student-submitted illustrations to paint on the wall, and then the entire graduating class adds its signatures. Graffiti Wall is a visual reminder of Scripps’ history and reflects the changing tastes and attitudes of students over the decades.
This year, Natalie Johnson ’18, a politics and international relations major from Washington, D.C., and Suzanne “Suki” White ’18, a humanities major and an art minor from Lincoln, Massachusetts, collaborated on an illustration, submitted it jointly, and were chosen as class artists. We recently spoke to them about their design for the wall, which declares that “The future is intersectional.”
Scripps College: What inspired your illustration for Graffiti Wall?
Natalie Johnson: I wanted to do something political, because I’ve come to learn that the political is personal, and that art can affect change. And, for me, Scripps is a center for badass feminist thought that evolves with the times, so I wanted to include a message that reflects where we are in this changing political environment.
Suki White: Both Natalie and I love femme-centered bodies, so we knew we would be centering our mural around bodies. Our class has lived through a very heated political climate, so making a unifying and bold statement was important to us, and a way to reflect on our time here.
SC: How did it feel to have been chosen for this Scripps tradition?
SW: It’s an honor to know that our mural will outlast our time at Scripps and our lives! It’s also empowering to know that students will walk by and see this mural every day.
NJ: Suki and I were pretty nervous when we found out we’d be painting. Neither of us are painters. I think we really impressed ourselves that we didn’t mess anything up!
SC: How has Scripps helped you grow as an artist during your four years here?
NJ: I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration and encouragement from the Scripps community. Scripps has so many beautiful expressions of self-love that I have been able to latch onto and run within my art.
SW: To echo Natalie, the encouragement from our classmates has been amazing. It’s exciting to have peers who are interested in our art, and we have both been commissioned to create album covers, portraits, advertisements, and other projects. It’s also cool to collaborate with other creative people!
NJ: It’s also been really rewarding to watch Suki’s art grow alongside mine. We have such different styles, but both emphasize the body as a really incredible source of power and beauty.