What started out as a shared dream among three graphic design graduates has evolved into NERDnation, a collective art movement spanning the greater Metro Washington, D.C., area. “NERD” represents a Notion to Embrace the Range of Designers. The “nation” aspect refers to the connection among those in the art community who share a common language in art, design, passion, and business.Christin “Loocie” Glover, Jenelle “Jaye” Jeter, and Anthony “Ant” Dunn are the principals of this partially lesbian-owned company.
“We want to show this community that you can follow your dreams. You don’t have to be in a corporate environment to love what you’re doing,” explains Jeter, who teamed up with Glover and Dunn in 2011 to form the collective. “It’s just about being accepting and being yourself, embracing what you do, and doing what you love. That’s the biggest part of art: expressing yourself freely, without limitation.”
NERDnation provides a forum where artists have the opportunity to seek services, share in their creativity, and learn from one another’s craft. The movement comprises a full spectrum of creative individuals, including tattoo artists, visual stylists, makeup artists, fashion industry artists, and barbers, to name a few. Recently, the collective hosted XPOSED, an event that enabled attendees to mix and mingle, while viewing an exhibition of artists’ work, enjoying live music, and checking out local vendors, among other activities.
“We expose people to who we are and what we do in a collective movement, and we expose the artists. If you’re a tattoo artist, we help you market your brand. But we are more than that: We are a collective movement,” explains Jeter. In short, NERDnation is for everyone.
“People think that art is a hobby, but it’s not. It’s life,” says Glover. “There’s a lot of passion in it. This world is surrounded by art.” When people walk by buildings and monuments, for example, Glover wants them to understand that these structures represent art.
The principals hope that through NERDnation, society will begin to take artists more seriously and that they will become as revered as doctors, lawyers, and other traditionally acclaimed professionals.
“What is exciting about NERDnation is that there are two sides of our movement: One is delivering services to small businesses and artists, and the other is [promoting] art education. The movement aspect of it captures the message of ‘Be Original,’ explaining to the younger generation that it’s OK to be different. This year, we will be going into the school system and recreation centers to talk to the kids about art,” notes Jeter.
In the surrounding public school system, art and music programs are scarce. The trio hopes to bring art back to the students, for example, guiding them in anti-bullying campaigns through artistic expression.
Both Glover and Jeter, who identify as lesbian, believe in a world where all are accepted, regardless of personal style, sexual orientation, and identity.
Along with Dunn, they hope to continue building NERDnation, through a shared love of art, community, and business.