Hi, I'm Bria. An artist, designer, and creative storyteller. I make visual art that explores connection, vulnerability, identity, and equity - plus some satire pieces here and there. You can browse my shop to see art available for purchase or commission custom art and portraits!
I also teach. And I work with equity organizations to enhance social movements through design, graphics, art, illustrations, presentations, infographics, social posts, websites, logos, branding, writing, film, and curricula. If you have a story to tell, let's work together.
I run my practice in the most equitable way I know how. Here are just a few things I do:
asking questions and seeking new perspectives
listening to (and, when teaching, actively connecting my students to) marginalized voices
only working with purpose-driven clients
using sustainable and secondhand materials
outsourcing only when absolutely necessary, then using local and domestic businesses and labor
depicting a vast array of people in my art and design
avoiding NFTs, cryptocurrency, fast fashion, mass printing, and other harmful practices
supporting my fellow creatives directly
to make art accessible to all, operating on a flex (pay-what-you-can) pricing model, doing design work on a sliding scale model, and offering payment plans
donating my time and money to causes I believe in
"My art focuses on connection, on vulnerability, and on stories. Each piece I do for myself is a chance for me to be open and honest about what I’m experiencing. Each piece for someone else tries to help them do the same.'"
Bria leads a community-centered MLK day program with the Newark Museum of Art and discusses her work, life, and values.
Bria participates in the Norman Rockwell Museum's MLK day event and discusses the iconic work, its history, and its relevance today (along with her process and work).
Professor Eric Gibbons of Vernon Malone College & Career Academy interviews Bria and Gordon Jones about the Kamala Harris & Ruby Bridges image. They discuss the road to being an artist and Bria's advice for students.
Bria reconvenes with her colleagues Sirron Norris and Brendon Metcalf to discuss the Kamala Harris & Ruby Bridges image. Bonus: Sirron shows Bria's work designing his studio exterior!
"'I was so moved by that image. I've given it a name myself, I call it 'shadows and shoulders,' because it reminded me that all of us are standing on the shadows of people who came before us - or standing on the shoulders.' - Ruby Bridges"
People Magazine: Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges Responds to Meme Showing Kamala Harris Walking with Her Shadow
"'I’m also standing on the shoulders and in the shadows of people who made huge sacrifices for all of us,' the civil rights activist and author tells PEOPLE ... Her book was a planned event. What she didn’t plan was to become part of a viral moment after Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election."
"Carlton Mackey, an artist and director of Emory’s Ethics and the Arts Program, says ... 'One of the challenges I see in this time is how difficult it is to have conversations, and here we are talking about bottled-up aspirations of Black women because of Bria’s art. I could not be more proud of the work she’s doing.' ... She was [Carlton Mackey's] intern for three years, working hands-on with his pieces around race and culture such as Black Men Smile and carving her own path as a working artist.
Dana Haugaard, a lecturer in art history, had never taught Goeller as a student, but agreed to co-teach one session of the sidecar course based on her research and passion for finding ways to contextualize art for social impact. 'I am entirely not surprised her work is getting this attention,' Haugaard says. 'All of her work is geared toward creating a better and richer experience for people. She’s the bee’s knees, and if people don’t already know that, they will soon.'"
“'Bria has always been an engaging and off-the-beaten-path person,' says Arri Eisen, a professor of pedagogy in biology and the ILA. 'She is a great example of how to thoughtfully bring ideas together.'"
Good Morning America: Moving Illustration of Kamala Harris Walking Alongside Ruby Bridges Goes Viral
"'We wanted to represent this moment in history for what it was: a victory of compassion against oppression,' Goeller told "GMA" in an statement. 'The design symbolizes two powerful women in history who overcame the odds and stood with strength against everyone who didn't want to see them succeed... We hoped it would inspire young women, young activists -- and hopefully make people smile.'"
"Now, 60 years later, Bridges has written to and for children the same age of her younger self. She describes it as a call to action and contains historical photos of her pioneering time. Pioneering history is still being made and remembered, including a photo illustration that went viral after the election of vice president-elect Kamala Harris walking alongside the shadow of Ruby Bridges."
"There's so much history packed into a now-viral illustration that depicts Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walking next to a wall with her shadow transformed into the silhouette of a famous painting of civil rights activist Ruby Bridges."
"Goeller paid tribute to Bridges in an Instagram post after she shared her art. ... Goeller said she grew up in Louisiana and that Bridges was a 'large part of [her] understanding of its history.' 'I was in awe of your determination as a young girl and I am equally so now. Keep standing tall. You have brought strength to so many. And you continue to do so now,' she wrote. "Much love. You deserve it all.'"
"Goeller has worked with many other organizations like Black Men Smile and the Homeless Outreach Awareness Program, truly an example of an amazing ally to several communities. She says, '…platform or no platform, I have – personally and professionally – dedicated my life to amplifying the voices of communities that need it. I have made it my job as an artist to speak empathy and compassion through art. That will not change. And that will always be where I direct my energies.'"
"Goeller commented: 'I want women and people of color to feel that they have a voice. That confidence is what will create the world we deserve. My goal is to use my art to help amplify that voice. I hope to continue to be an advocate in that way, and I’m grateful to have created something that helps celebrate such an overdue landmark. These images are important, and powerful. Representation matters more than a lot of people realize. The closer we can get our media and imagery to reflect reality, the better off we will all be.'"
"It was shared by millions because it was emotional for some and informative for others. The creator, Bria Goeller said, 'We hoped it would inspire young women.' ... The Goeller image shows the achievement in exactly 60 years — November 1960 to November 2020 — from the first Black girl entering an all-white school to the first female vice president-elect."
"'The design symbolizes two powerful women in history who overcame the odds and stood with strength against everyone who didn't want to see them to succeed,' Goeller said."
"'Rosa sat, so Ruby could walk, so Kamala could run' Some have taken the imagery even further with a collage going viral that includes Ruby, Kamala and Rosa Parks (who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in 1955, thus violating segregation laws of the day, which led to a bus boycott that is credited with sparking the US civil rights movement)."
"Goeller said. 'Although I'm not really profiting much from this, I think that I have the platform now to be able to really reach people with the art that I'm doing and that's all I could have asked for." But, she added, "I'm also so ready to hide.'"
"Goeller said the response to the image from people around the country has been resounding, including from mothers who lauded the message of inspiration for girls and girls of color."
"And so as I reflect on the 60th anniversary of my university’s desegregation — as a Black person and a woman, as a wife and mother, as a sister, aunt and citizen — remaining true to my calling as a journalist, I leave you with the question: What can we all do to keep working toward a more perfect union?"
"Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges said she feels a 'sense of pride' after seeing a viral image of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris walking with the shadow of her 6-year-old self. ... The image has gone viral, something Goeller wrote on Instagram was a 'collective celebration of empathy triumphing over shortsightedness and greed.'”
artnet: ‘We Painted, Sang, and Danced Our Way to the Polls’: Artists React to US President-Elect Joe Biden’s Victory
"It’s a gesture to Harris’s groundbreaking victory—the first woman, the first Black person, and the first Asian American to hold the nation’s second-highest office."
"From all of the discussion, what is clear is that women are considering how history will remember Harris and how we, ourselves, will remember this moment. ... As for Bridges, she isn’t taking issue with any of it at all. 'I am Honored to be a part of this path and Grateful to stand alongside you, Together with Our fellow Americans, as we step into this Next Chapter of American History! @kamalaharris @joebiden. Thank you to @briagoeller and @goodtrubble for the Inspirational and Beautiful artwork!' And if it’s all good with Bridges, shouldn’t it be all good with the rest of us?"
Other highlights about the Kamala / Ruby image:
Facebook's Peace Out 2020
India Currents: Harris Makes History
Smithsonian Magazine: The Ten Best Children’s Books of 2020
Io Donna: Il futuro si chiama Kamala
Australia's The Lighthouse: In Kamala's footsteps: a girls' guide to crashing through the glass ceiling
Global Citizen: 10 Heartwarming Reactions to Vice President Kamala Harris Making History
(more can be found online)
CBS Bay Area: New San Francisco Mural Pays Tribute To Hospital Workers During Coronavirus Lockdown
Kiet Do reports on new mural outside San Francisco's Zuni Cafe thanking hospital workers amid lockdown
CBS Evening News: San Francisco mural honors health care workers
"A remarkable mural has sprung up in San Francisco to honor health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Its message: How we care shapes who we are. Jamie Yuccas takes a look."
Zhaohan Li: "Dear Bria, a Story About Art and Healing"
"... every time I talked with Bria, I always feel happy, warm and understanding some aspects of myself and world around me deeper. I chose three paintings of her to reconstruct three small chapters of life and three topics we discussed. First: about WE and THEM; Second: About us and us in others' eyes; Third: about vulnerability and healing."
VoyageATL: "Hidden Gems of Midtown: Bria Goeller"
"'Finding common ground requires expressing what may have otherwise been hidden. Professionally, I'm seeking to do just that: connect things and people that may not otherwise be connected.'"
Emory English/Creative Writing Department: "Winners-English Department and Creative Writing Program Contests and Scholarships"
"BRIA GOELLER: For her creative instincts, clear visuals and command of animated language to breath life into a house -- a vacation house -- that defined her youth, lives in her heart, and will comfortably take residence in the mind of any reader."
C4 Atlanta: "Fall 2017 Hatch Training Intensive Artists Announced"
"Bria Goeller is passionate about art and social change. Bria works in a multitude of mediums including photography, film, 2D visual art, sound art, graphic design, creative writing and illustration/comics."
Emory Annual Report 2017: "Emory students transform art into action to help area nonprofits"
"Students worked with filmmaker William Feagins, Carolyn Aidman, associate director of the Urban Health Initiative (UHI), and William Sexson, senior advisor of UHI and neonatology professor at Emory University School of Medicine, to create a video. Working with the Community Teaching Garden, their goal was to increase education surrounding nutrition and provide access to fresh produce in low socio-economic neighborhoods of Atlanta."
FreshU: "8 People Who Accomplished Big Things Their Freshmen Year of College"
"Goeller created a short film series called Art Works, which tells the stories of Atlanta’s LGBT+ youth. The first installment was posted in April of 2016. In addition, she had her work published in the summer 2016 edition of Off the Coast Magazine, an art and literary magazine published quarterly. Her artwork was also showcased at Emory’s Top 16 Red Carpet Finale."
Atlanta InTown: "Emory Art Works explores LGBT homelessness in new project"
"Art Works’ first project explores the role of collaborative art on the self-empowerment of LGBTQ youth in an Atlanta homeless shelter. Nguyen’s team includes writers Adna Jaganjac and Gaby Arifin; musicians Dan Martin and Erin Baker, steppers from Emory’s Ngambica step group, Ayana Bohanan and Kaela Kuitchuoua; and a filmmaker, Bria Goeller. Together they collaborate with homeless youth to help them tell their story."
Bon Appétit: "EMORY STUDENT INTERVIEWS DINING STAFF IN 'BEAUTY IN THINGS UNSEEN' VIDEO"
"This video is my and our (if I may speak for the Emory community as a whole) way of showing gratitude to the Bon Appétit dining staff. There is nothing more heartwarming than seeing them laughing with one another, sharing stories with students, and building relationships. They truly do add to the beauty of our community, and I don’t think Emory would be the same without them. -Emory student Bria Goeller ’19"
publications, awards, and exhibitions
art, design, photography
Imurj, Empathy Through Art, and The Creature Creator's "Art of Tech" Online Gallery - 2020
Lullwater Review – 2019-2020
The Underground Magazine – Volume 21, Volume 22, and Volume 23)
DISoriented Travel Writing Edition – Spring 2018
MR. MA’AM Literary Magazine – 2017, 2018
National Academy of Medicine's Visualize Health Equity Gallery
Off the Coast Magazine – Summer 2016 issue
Alloy Literary Magazine – 2016, 2018
The Pulse: Anthology of the Arts – Volume VI
Photographer's Forum Best of College & High School – 2014
SCAD Junior Challenge gallery – 2014
Future.Art: Reimagining Democracy - 2021 (Special Mention)
Amplifier #Vaccinated Design Contest - June 2021 (juried selection)
National Arts Program – January 2015 (Featured Artist of the Week)
Scholastics Art & Writing Awards – 2015 (National Silver Key, 2 Regional Gold Keys, and 4 Regional Silver Keys)
Scholastics Art & Writing Awards – 2014 (Regional Gold Key)
Photographer's Forum 34th Annual College & High School Photography Contest – 2014 (Finalist)
Fine Arts League of Cary Exhibition – 2014 (2nd place)
SCAD Junior Challenge – 2014 (Finalist)
North Carolina State Fair – 2014 (Gold Seal)
Raleigh Women's Club and Raleigh Junior Women's Club Art Competition – 2014 (1st regional level, 3rd district level)
Fine Arts League of Cary – 2014 (2nd place)
National PTA Reflections Contest – 2013-2014 (3rd place at county)
The National Arts Program Duke Employee Art Contest – 2012 (1st)
Castro Winter Wonderland Block Party - 2021 (SF, CA)
Hayes Valley ArtWorks Gallery - 2021 (SF, CA)
an.ä.log SF - 2021 (SF, CA)
Sunset Mercantile - 2021 (SF, CA)
Sonder Art Garden in Hayes Valley (x3) – 2021 (SF, CA)
El Patio - 2021 (Berkeley, CA)
Victory Point - 2021 (Berkeley, CA)
Hofkuche – 2021 (x4) (Oakland, CA)
Noe Slow Streets - 2021 (x5) (SF, CA)
Imurj & Empathy Through Art "Art of Tech" Gallery - 2020 (Online)
Zuni Cafe - 2020 (SF, CA)
South by Southwest® – 2019 (Austin, TX)
Maggie's Pop-Up Art Gallery 2019 (Atlanta, GA)
Relay for Life Emory - 2019 (Atlanta, GA)
The Pulse: Anthology of the Arts – Symposiums III, IV, V, VI, VII, X (Atlanta, GA)
Media Literature Arts Outreach – 2017 (x2), 2019 (Atlanta, GA)
Emory Couchella – 2016, 2017, 2019 (Atlanta, GA)
Emory Dark Arts' – 2017, 2018, 2019 (Atlanta, GA)
Alloy Literary Magazine Exhibition – 2018 (Atlanta, GA)
Emory Cox Hall Display – 2017 (Atlanta, GA)
Emory Arts Underground Display– 2017 (x2), 2016 (x2) (Atlanta, GA)
Emory College Council Exhibition – 2017 (x2), 2016 (Atlanta, GA)
Emory Arts Club Exhibition – 2015 (Atlanta, GA)
Artsplosure Exhibition – 2014, 2015 (Raleigh, NC)
Fine Arts League of Cary – 2014 (Cary, NC)
North Carolina Museum of Art – 2013 (Raleigh, NC)
North Carolina State Fair – 2014, 2013 (Raleigh, NC)
Visual Arts Exchange – 2013 (Raleigh, NC)
Cary Towne Center – 2012, 2013 (Cary, NC)
National Arts Program Duke Art Show – 2012 (Durham, NC)
The Quaker Literary Magazine
DISoriented Travel Writing Edition – Spring 2018
The Pulse: Anthology of the Arts – Volume VII, Volume VIII
Emory Feminists in Action Online Blog and Zine – Spring 2018
Boston University's Hoochie Media Project – 2018
Rainy Day – Volume XLVII, No.2, Fall 2017
Outrageous Fortune – Volume 8.2, Spring 2017
Indiana Review – Undergraduate Edition, 2016
Grace Abernethy Scholarship in Nonfiction – 2018
Annie Hall Writing Award: Critical/Theoretical Undergraduate Essay Contest – 2016 (first place)
Hobart Pulp Literary Magazine – 2018 and Online Gallery
Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference, Atlanta Marriott Marquis – 2019 (Video and interactive art instillation)
Campus MovieFest – 2016 (TOP 16 Red Carpet Finale)
Emory’s Campus Movie Festival – 2015 (2nd place)
North Carolina Department of Justice’s Stop Rx Abuse Contest – 2015 (honorable mention)
National Federation of Music – Gold Cup and Superior 3 in Piano
National Music Certification Program – Excellence in Piano