An Open Letter to Openletr

Dear Openletr readers,

This is an open letter to you, to thank you. In the past several months, running the street art column has been very rewarding, both in terms of reaching a new audience and gaining insights into the world of feminism. I’d like to extend my thanks to the other contributors at Openletr and Fatima. She has been a gracious leader and patient editor.  

Since I began writing, I have had the opportunity to interview and publish stories about 15 different artists, curators, and creatives. In choosing who I write about, I’ve tried to be conscious in curating a diversity of perspectives, with regards to style and background. Given Openletr’s feminist values, I made it a point to seek out female voices. 

When Fatima first reached out to me about Openletr, I was unsure what to expect, or what was expected of my writing. So I looked to Openletr’s philosophy "Find Your Truth" for guidance.

The article that began this column was an interview with My Life in Yellow. During our interview, we hung out at her apartment, chatting over wine. It was casual and honest, and made for a great story. The success of Bright Words inspired me to continue that style, aiming for intimate and open conversations. Real talk.

During the various conversations, I had the opportunity to discuss painting, drawing, divorce, affairs, race relations, love, family, vulnerability, sexism, cyber-hate, misogyny, hypocrisy, faith, hustle, the power of self-expression and the meaning of art. I discovered lots of truths by approaching people without judgement, doing my best to translate their vision of the world into words. 

With respect to Openletr’s vision, I explored feminism with artists. Truth be told, I never considered myself much of a feminist. Being a straight white guy, I didn’t think it was my place to get involved. But in speaking to women, I gained a great deal of insight into what it means to be a woman in the art world. Openletr led me to perspectives I wouldn't have considered otherwise, too close-minded in my own preconceptions.

In the pursuit of "Find Your Truth," I learned truth is nuanced and labels matter less than our actions. In a world full of hate, a mind open to understanding is the only path to discovery. 

I want to reiterate my gratitude to Fatima for her understanding. In writing these stories, she was a tremendous help. As an editor, she challenged me to push myself both critically and creatively. Without her strong leadership, this column would not have been a success. I wish all the best to the Openletr team as they continue to grow.

Looking to my future, I hope to continue my art world journey and to evolve my craft. It’s my ambition to publish a book and move abroad. Time will tell, but I’m excited to follow my own truth.

Lastly, I wanted to give a shout out to you, the reader. Sometimes I wonder why I’m doing this, (doubts — who cares about my stories, long-form is dead). Your words of encouragement and positive feedback mean a lot to me, and continue to motivate me. So thank you.

T.K. Mills