Cool Cat: Haley Brown
I met Haley a million years ago in Berkeley.
She was a student back then, and has since flourished as an artist, developing her own business. She creates and sells on both Etsy and her own website.
She also started making calendars, and calls her series the “The Coping Calendars”.
I am addicted to them and have purchased from her for about 4 years now. I love them so much that I keep and frame the images (I buy her calendars for inspiration and for art – I don’t actually write on them; I buy other calendars for actually writing on). They are genius; she is genius.
Here’s a look at her art and a sneak peak at The Coping Calendar 2020
Please get to know Haley below – all of her super-awesome-hella-cool links are at the end of the post!
Getting to Know You
- Your name:
- What’s your connection with disability?
I grew up Disabled among non-disabled family and peers — I have Brittle Bones (Osteogenesis Imperfecta, type V) and Scoliosis. Now I’m lucky to be connected with Disabled loved ones and exploring Disability in my work as an artist and performer. I’m a part-time wheelchair user, so I’m always navigating a changing series of reactions to my Disability in public spaces.
- Star Trek or Star Wars?
oohhh I’m embarrassed: neither? But I loved Harry Potter as a kiddo!
- If you could live in any other country for 2 years, where would you go?
I have done some theatre training and performance work in Canada so I have many loved ones there — it would be such a treat to get to go back and continue to nurture those connections and that work!
- What dish would your bring to our community picnic potluck?
strawberries and whipped cream
Now That We’ve Been Introduced…
- What do you do:
I do freelance work as an illustrator and a performer. I am also a nanny for two sisters — they’re five and ten and we’ve been together for four years!
- How did you come to doing what you do? How has your career trajectory flowed?
I’ve had many different part-time jobs, but they all kind of center around similar types of work — babysitting, summer camp work, designing and implementing art classes for children, teaching improv to kids and adults, performing for a children’s entertainment company in my hometown. For many years I juggled some combination of these, and this year my illustration practice finally became sturdy enough for me to draw my attention more specifically on that, on my performance work, and on the two kiddos already in my care.
- Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
I’d love to be writing and illustrating picture books and developing immersive theatre for children and families. I hope I have a black cat, thriving houseplants, and nurturing, loving relationships. I hope I live somewhere accessible. I hope I’m continuing to learn about antiracism and environmental justice, and continuing the internal and interpersonal work I need to do around these topics as a White, cis-gender, Disabled woman with class privilege.
- Not to be morbid, but what do you want people to remember about you when you’ve gone?
Ah great question! I hope people remember my laugh, my art, and my overwhelming love of everything and everyone around me. I hope they remember me as flawed, complex, sparkling, and deeply alive. I hope the memory of me reminds them to love themselves as much as I loved them.
- Who or what inspires you?
Ah wow, SO MUCH. It’s truly hard to name only a few, but right now I’m really loving the work of Robin DiAngelo, Mia Mingus, The Far Woods, Molly Costello, Robin Kimmerer, and Clarissa PInkola Estés. I love picture books and their artists — especially Christian Robinson, Mac Barnett, and Jon Klassen. PunchDrunk immersive theatre in the UK — especially the Lost Lending Library project– creates an atmosphere that pulls magic out of the everyday which I find incredibly inspiring, and Sum Theatre in Canada– who I had the pleasure of working with during their Summer 2018 season– commits to accessibility and community in a way that I find deeply inspiring as well. I’m also just really inspired by the loved ones I get to build my life around — being witness to each other’s process of healing and growing provides me with deep inspiration — and the environment in which I live. The Juniper tree outside my window, the cats that visit my apartment, and the prism that reflects rainbows into my living room at 9:20 each morning.
- If you could say something to yourself in the past – that is, the you that was really struggling with something related to disability – what would you say?
Oh gosh. It gets better! Read some critical Disability theory! Get a tumblr or an instagram and follow Disabled people! Get a wheelchair and use it! Go to therapy! I love you!
- What do you like about your particular disability?
I often feel “too big” for my fragile small body and I think that tension gives me a really unique and wild energy, which is so fundamentally a part of me that it’s hard to imagine myself without it. As much as I resist it at times, I love that my bones have a kind of wisdom that I have to work at understanding. As a child I had to sit out from certain activities or do things differently from everyone around me which I think developed a resourcefulness and a creative impulse that I benefit from today. I also think we (OI people) look kind of magical and elven which I get can be really irritating/othering for folks who are not into that but I happen to really love faeries and folklore, so I find it kind of fun that my appearance can look unusual and otherworldly in that way.
- Any one thing that you wish people would *get* about disability?
- What single piece of technology makes your life easier?
my sweet manual wheelchair, Stella! And ramps! A simple but super useful technology. 😛
More Cool Cats!
Cool Cats: Voices from the Disability CommunityMeet cool and interesting people from across the disability spectrum in the fun series in which everyone is asked the same set of questions!
Want to participate too?!
Download the questions, fill ’em out, and send ’em back my way (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E). Deaf, with C-PTSD and TBI, she’s also a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.