In our first interview for Creator Spotlight, I have been keeping a close eye out on the amazing creators, talented artists, and cosplayers; the Search brought us one of the most talented designers out there and his name is Jermaine Dickerson. Jermaine is very vocal on what he believes in and stands up for it no matter what; his love for heroes and his community brought forth Hero Nation. Today, our interview with Jermaine not only spotlights his work; we also discuss what inspires him to do the work he has done and about the importance of Representation.
Red: What is Hero Con and what can people do to help?
Jermaine: Hero Nation is an nonprofit organization in Ypsilanti, Michigan with the mission to help everyone discover the hero within through events and programs based in nerd culture that foster empowering, creative, and educational experiences for underrepresented and marginalized communities — including people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, women, and people with low socioeconomic status.
Basically, we believe things like superheroes, comics and video games can be used as tools to inspire social change. The challenging part, though, is finding that connection and creating experiences that are genuinely impactful. But we’re up to the task.
As we’re evolving, we’re currently looking for board members to join our organization. So if you’re interested, feel free to visit our application page.
We’re also always accepting financial donations, which can be given here.
Red: On the Subject of Ypsilanti, can you describe how important it is for representation in the Community?
Jermaine: I believe representation saves lives, so it’s absolutely vital in a variety of sociopolitical, racial and gendered spaces. In Ypsilanti, specifically, there are different organizations tackling specific issues, and I’m thankful Hero Nation can be a part of this collective movement.
Red: Who is your biggest hero?
Jermaine: My biggest hero has always been my mother. Her grit, will, compassion and strength has always inspired me and I’ve grown to admire it more deeply as I’ve gotten older. However– and this may be weird to some–but my aspiration is to become my own biggest hero. I think it’s important that we celebrate ourselves through earnest self-reflection and the exercising of self-compassion and self-love. Once we do this, we’ll discover how powerful we really are. So instead of seeing our humanity as a fault, we begin to see it as a strength and a force to be reckoned with. Then we can begin to navigate the world from a more enlightened perspective and have a deeper appreciation for our connection to others and what we have to offer.
Red: Recently, films such as Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has shown Hollywood that representation matters, do you believe that Hollywood has learned from their mistakes or do you believe they can do more?
Jermaine: I think Hollywood is an inherently capitalist industry that has historically perpetuated harmful narratives that have hurt disenfranchised communities. However, while I think it’s important to celebrate films like Black Panther and Into the Spider-verse, I think it’s more pressing that we continue to build our own structures and create our own narratives. Of course, we should have a bit of fun along the way; in fact, it’s imperative that we do.
Red: On the subject of your work, what gave you the most inspiration when it comes to your craft?
Jermaine: This is always a tricky question. I draw inspiration from a variety of different artists for different reasons. Alex Ross is probably among my favorite; his technique and compositional skills are unparalleled. Also, his use of color is absolutely breathtaking. I’m always in awe of his work. Some other favs include Adam Hughes and Jen Bartel , for unique reasons.
Red: Does music help bring inspiration for creating new works of art? If it does, What kind?
Jermaine: I don’t listen to much music while I’m working. Sometimes I find that silence allows me to navigate my mind a bit more clearly.