Joan Baez’s work as an activist hasn’t stopped at music-making. Over the past few years, the renowned Bay Area-based folk singer and songwriter has picked up a paintbrush in lieu of her guitar to create paintings of the change-makers she most admires.
Mischief Makers, Baez’s new art show at Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, features the artist’s strong-lined, characterful portraits of the likes of Anthony Fauci, Kamala Harris, Greta Thunberg and Colin Kaepernick.
“During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in a moment of inspiration, I painted infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci (he prefers ‘Tony’) and posted his portrait on the Internet with a single word next to his image: ‘TRUST’,” writes Baez in the artist statement accompanying the exhibition. “It went viral.”
In addition to contemporary trailblazers, the show also includes portraits of iconic figures from the recent and more distant past, such as Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The exhibition follows a similar Mischief Makers show featuring other portraits of favorite social change heroes Baez created in response to her feelings about the political climate in 2017.