HUNTINGTON PARK, Calif. — Shades of blue are the dominant colors in artist Moses X Ball’s latest work.
Known for painting images depicting the Black experience, he still remembers drawing at the age of 3 around the coffee table with his siblings.
“We’re sitting there scribbling, literally scribbling, but it wasn’t natural for me to scribble,” said Ball. “It was natural for me to make images and that’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.”
Born and raised in south Los Angeles, Ball is now a fine artist and muralist. After losing both his parents by the time he turned 8, he preferred to stay inside and draw rather than go outside and play.
“For a guy like me, that’s kind of a nerd and has worked at a library, the library has always been my refuge,” said Ball.
With COVID-19, there are few places to hide these days. And 2020 isn’t just an election year — it’s also the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. When Ball heard L.A. County was looking to design a new library card to commemorate the occasion, he had reservations about applying.
“I sought the voice of different women to give me input on what they felt was important,” he said.
Ball learned that due to discrimination and voter suppression, women of color didn’t get the right until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He decided to pay homage to Black suffragists that risked their very lives for everyone to be heard.
“Mary B. Talbert, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Frances E.W. Harper, Ida B. Wells, and Mary Church Terrell,” said Ball as he pointed out their portraits in his design.
A beautiful depiction of Black-American history, Ball's design is now one of three new L.A. County Library Cards to commemorate the 19th Amendment as part of their effort to get out the vote.
“Libraries are all about civic engagement and community," said Meredith Levine, Assistant Library Administrator of Adult and Digital Services in L.A. County. "When you get that new card, you’re inspired not only to read, but to explore and gain that knowledge. When you are old enough to vote, you can look at that card and know who you are voting for.”
The county is hoping the new library cards will not just inspire new young readers, but also new young voters.
“Just thinking my artwork is on an actual library card is definitely one of the coolest things to happen to my career,” said Ball. “To think people are walking around with my art in their pocket is pretty cool.”
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We can’t stop looking at them, either! 💜💙🤎 Don’t forget to vote 🗳 #Vote2020 #VoteSafe2020 Posted @withregram • @lacountyarts Just look at those gorgeous library cards! Created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification and adoption of the 19th Amendment, these limited edition library cards feature artwork from @amysmithart, @lauravazquez_art, and @mosestheartist, Cards are available @lacountylibrary sidewalk service library locations while supplies last. Learn more: LACountyLibrary.org/19thAmendment and don't forget to vote!