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Discomfort Creates Change

Updated: December 8, 2020

A brief Q&A with Counseling student Dallann Johnson  

Dallan Johnson

Time is running out to purchase your SHRS social justice apparel. Proceeds benefit mental health initiatives through the SHRS Wellness Pavilion at the Pitt Community Engagement Center in Homewood. Student artist Dallann Johnson, Counseling, won a schoolwide art contest with his "Discomfort Creates Change" design featured on the apparel. We asked Johnson about his personal inspiration for social justice and the pursuit of his artistic passion. Here's what he said.

Q: How long have you been a graphic designer and do you have any upcoming projects?
A: I'm more of a hobbyist illustrator and I've been doing it for most of my life! It's just something I enjoy. I recently made a submission for Pitt's upcoming "Don't Look Away" exhibit so I'm hoping that goes well.

Q. What inspired you to create the "Discomfort Creates Change" design?
A: I was inspired to make the "Discomfort Creates Change" design because, even though I typically do not like spotlights, I wanted to actively engage and contribute to this community in a way that's natural for me. Social injustice is not new; I saw the prompt as an opportunity to speak up in a creative medium and I'm flattered and surprised that it was so well-received.

Q: Who are your social justice change agents?
A: I'd like to get to a point where I'd be able to consider myself an agent of change, but locally I'd say Chrissy Carter is a strong example.

Q: Why do you hope that faculty and staff purchase the apparel?
A: They should, of course, purchase the apparel to support the availability of initiatives at the SHRS Wellness Pavilion, but it is my hope that anyone going out of their way to do that will genuinely take the message to heart, and sit in the discomfort that it takes to address one's own ignorance and change oppressive behaviors that contribute to systemic racism and disparity. I feel like I'm being a bit serious for a small design but we all have influence.

Discomfort Creates Change graphic design