Alba Paris is an artist and animal activist based out of Los Angeles. Originally from sunny Spain, Alba grew up drawing and painting with her father and grandfather. She practiced her art almost every day and grew to be an accomplished artist.
Though born with a paintbrush in her hand, her art and activism didn’t collide until she was an adult. It was then that she saw a video that seared a haunting image into her psyche: that of a horse being slaughtered. After that she no longer wanted to eat meat, and became a vegetarian.
Still, that didn’t feel like she was doing enough.
Rather than simply giving up meat, Alba wanted to do more for animals. She started volunteering at animal shelters and caring for abandoned dogs and cats. She created an online forum in Spain where people could come to talk about animal rights and how to help animals in general.
Soon passionate vegan activists had taken over the forum. Despite their good intentions, and despite her own foray into veganism, Alba felt very put off by the vegan activists’ demanding, in-your-face style of arguing for their beliefs. And so Alba turned to her art to help her express how she felt about animal rights and animal cruelty.
A Message that Connected
That’s when she first drew the pin up model.
Her now-famous image, “We Can Do It! Go Vegan”, was based on the Rosie the Riveter and became her personal avatar. It helped her convey the way she felt about going vegan and being cruelty free – and it was an image that people immediately connected with. Before long, the image had gone viral and was being shared all over the Internet.
“I didn’t think two years ago that this was possible! I didn’t think that people who weren’t also artists would be interested. But they are! I can’t believe that this is what I get to do for a living – create art around my passion, everything together, it’s crazy!” Alba said. “Art is truly what connects people.”
When Alba started her journey as an activist, and felt turned off by the way vegan activists approached her, she learned she was not alone. Other people felt put off, too. People who, approached differently, might be able to see their point and join their cause.
“I want to find the people who can’t look at the slaughter videos right now. Maybe after seeing my art they will want to be more involved,” Alba said.
Alba’s goal is to get people to be involved with animal activism. “People come to me who don’t know what to do, and I try to get them to do something with the animals, to try a vigil or take some kind of action on their own,” she said.
From Pin Up Model to Enamel Pins
From her first activist drawings, her foray into creating enamel pins was a long time coming – but well-worth it.
“The first time I offered a pin it went out of stock within 24 hours! I had no idea it would be like this! When I first became aware of pins, I saw how simple they are and how much people are using them. I realized my art lent itself well with simple lines. Now I’m restocking once, sometimes twice, a month!” she said.
Now she’s working on some new designs. “I’m working on two new pins right now and I’m getting ready to reorder another one. When I get them in, it’s a crazy couple of days with very little sleep so I can get all the orders out in time.”
Like a little wearable gateway to bigger ideas and bigger conversations, Alba Paris’s enamel activist pins truly are in style.