In 2010 Ryan created the piece, “This One Goes Out To All My Peeps,” the first in a series of pieces that would later lead to several paintings, sculptures, and a 20-foot inflatable parade balloon. The inflatable was realized in 2011 and made its maiden voyage in the skies of Miami during Art Basal. Thousands of people laid eyes on The Bunny in Miami, including Shelly Tyegielski but it would take nine years for our paths to cross and a partnership to form.
Fast forward to March of 2020. As our world shut down here in NY, we froze, uncertain what to do/how to respond. Feeling helpless, we turned to what felt comfortable, using art to raise money on our social platforms. Our dear friend and champion, Rhett Miller shared one of our posts with his following to support our initiative and once again we crossed paths with, Shelly.
It didn't take us very long to understand that Shelly was our people. Giving back to our community, supporting agents of change, and doing good work is a big part of our lives, both personally and professionally. Shelly gets it, and then some. She approaches life with an eye for how best she can make the world a better place, and not in some vague way, she is the real deal.
Shelly founded Pandemic of Love a grassroots, volunteer-led and formalized mutual aid community in March of 2020, it has now become a global movement. "Mutual aid" is a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services based on the principle that members of a community should take responsibility for caring for one another. To date, POL has connected nearly 2 million individuals, and raised close to $60 million.
After spending nearly 20 years in Corporate America, immersed in Fortune 1000 organizations and holding executive positions leading public and privately held companies, Shelly decided to stop following the expected path and start following her lifelong passion – mindfulness and meditation.
At the heart of Shelly’s practice is a fierce justice warrior and social activist. Shelly combines the pragmatic business skills she learned in the corporate world with the tenets of mediation and mindfulness to make the world a better place.
Shelly is deeply involved in offering trauma-informed healing practices to communities affected by gun violence and mass shootings and has led fully funded retreats for survivors and victims’ families representing Parkland, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Aurora, Columbine and more.
Our collaboration with Shelly began when she approached Ryan to create a piece in response to her new book, Sit Down To Rise Up, How Radical Self-Care Can Change the World. For Shelly, "finding true health and peace is not a solo endeavor but one that lives in connection with others."
Ryan's bold and colorful interpretation of Shelly book, is a visual translation of Shelly’s message that self-care and healing make way for collective action and social change. Created to celebrate the book release, Me, We, Us will also serve as the foundation of a fundraising initiative in support of the New Paltz Skate Park Project here in New York’s Hudson Valley. Proceeds from the sale of the original work, and merchandise based on the imagery will go directly to the project.
Click HERE to see the Me, We, Us Collection