The Hope Symbol Project | Rhonda Babb
I spent my career in the professional arts working for clients as a brand marketer and graphic designer. Despite my relative success as a commercial artist, something was missing. I am here to do something else and have a more profound personal mission.
Though I didn't know it then, in 2005, I took the first steps on a journey that would change my life.
Somewhere between Hurricane Katrina and Al Gore, it became clear that our world was in trouble. In the mid-2000s, climate change was an imminent threat that we were only starting to recognize. A disquiet within me and an urge to use my skills for something more positive drove me to learn as much as I could about sustainability and living a life of meaning. I poured myself into my studies - enough to earn a master’s degree in Sustainable Design. Yet, it still didn't feel like this was enough. Fast forward to 2020 and the pandemic. This pause gave me time to reflect and finally allow the artist within to emerge.
At last, I have regained my artistic voice through the joy I experience as a printmaker. Everything has led me here.
Printmaking is both messy and precise. I could easily print my designs digitally but would lose the hands-on quality I crave. When my hands are inky, I feel alive and at my happiest. For inspiration, I draw on influences such as Corita Kent, Andy Warhol, Shepard Fairey, Anthony Burrill, and Keith Haring. Printing allows me the opportunity to experiment and learn. It is all at once scary, thrilling, and liberating.
I am deeply troubled by the inaction and political divides our world is experiencing. I feel a certain amount of powerlessness and know I am not alone. My art gives me back some sense of power and agency. I aspire to create work that engages the viewer and asks them to see things from a different perspective. I want people to recognize that they have the capacity for change. It is successful if my art can influence even one person to be a force for hope and positivity in the world.
Rhonda Babb is a screen printer, graphic artist, and photographer working as “The Hope Symbol Project”. Rhonda’s work as a screen printer focuses on communicating urgency and action around the climate crisis. As a graphic designer, she focuses on brand identity and marketing communications in the business-to-business arena and for non-profits.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rhonda received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA where she majored in Fashion and Advertising Illustration. She returned to Moore for a Certification in Interior Decoration. Concern for the environment led Rhonda to earn a master’s degree in Sustainable Design from Philadelphia University now known as Thomas Jefferson University. She studied screen printing under Lisa Marie Hamilton and Tony Rosati at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in their Continuing Education Program.
Rhonda lives and works in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.