Kimothy Joy: Turn Your Angst Into Art

November 6 - Sarah Ashlock


I just read that my state has 1.6 million more registered voters since the last midterm election. The midterms are notoriously low when it comes to voter turnout; plenty of people think their voices don’t matter. Others skip the polls due to bad weather. Many simply cannot find transportation or cannot afford to miss work.

One of the biggest reasons? Not knowing the candidates. Of course, try to learn as much as possible about every person running on your ballot. But if life takes over and you don’t have time, figure out where you stand on one or two issues or candidates; vote for what you know and leave the rest blank. This isn’t a multiple-choice test that will stay on your permanent record. Showing up and casting one well informed vote matters.


Another way to see more like-minded women in influential roles is by supporting them through your purchasing power or hiring them in decision-making positions. A McKinsey study shared by the United Nations estimates that when companies have three or more women in these kind of managerial roles, the company scores higher in effectiveness. There are many reasons why this might be, including that job applicants are attracted to companies with diverse talent. Also, gender diversity can increase a company’s reputation for customers.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Kimothy Joy, Author and Illustrator of That's What She Said

Today’s Woman to Watch, Kimothy Joy, remembers how her mom believed she could accomplish anything. It’s what she recalls when she’s at her desk with her watercolors and pens, creating art to embolden women. Following the 2016 election, Kimothy wished she could give her late mom a call to talk about the results, but Kimothy knows her mom would tell her she has the power to change things and move mountains.

So that’s what Kimothy did in her Denver home, originally a 1940s international-style office with wood paneling and glass block. Kimothy read and listened to the biographies of women like Frida, Maya and Malala. She’d illustrate each woman’s portrait and accompany it with a quote. One turned into two, two turned into three and then the portraits grew into a book called That’s What She Said.

The title was Kimothy’s way of reclaiming the sexualized phrase made popular in the media. When she shared some of her creations in her personal and creative circle, they caught on, gracing the pages of The Huffington Post and more. In addition to her book, Kimothy continues to create images that make a lasting impact.

When reflecting on the times when she’s facing what we all do at one point or another—the dreaded existential crisis—Kimothy knows leaning into her feelings of discomfort is the only way to get through them. Once she sits in the rut or the bad vibes or the negative outlook for a while, breakthroughs and growth are often the result.

What’s infectious about Kimothy is her outlook. While the breaking news can leave a gal seriously moody, Kimothy looks at it differently, believing that change is possible and that her voice matters. And it does.


For National Voter Registration Day in September, Kimothy shared a breathtaking quote and illustration by lawyer and documentarian Valerie Kaur, who said:

“Let us reclaim the right to vote as an act of love – Love for our communities, our children, our planet, and the future of our democracy. A single vote is a declaration. All our votes together? A revolution.”

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