2020 was a difficult and transformational year; one we felt was worth memorializing. When we launched our Kickstarter back in November, I loved the idea of a crowd sourced art project, since community was such an important theme of 2020.
We put out a reward promising backers that for $1 we would put ANY word they submitted, make art out of it, and put it on a Kickstarter-exclusive Stellari hoodie for the world to see. As a long time Internet denizen and former miscreant, I knew what I was getting myself into. Crowdsourcing on the Internet will get you results like Boaty McBoatface (if you’re lucky), so we put a warning that the final design would probably be NSFW (not safe for work).
After such a difficult year, it seemed no one wanted to remember the bad; our backers wanted to focus on the silver lining. What we ended up receiving was wholesome and hopeful. We didn’t get dozens of four-letter curse words, we got positive words like “manifest” and “community.” We also got “xDIAMONDxHANDSx” (a phrase from the Reddit) and the first name of a Japanese backer.
Writing a crowd-sourced poem was a challenge. While I am a writer, I am not a poet. But I loved the creative problem of linking disparate words together. I wanted the words in the poem to be written exactly how backers submitted them: no changing tenses or making things plural. The most I allowed myself to do was use pronouns, conjunctions, and simple verbs to fill the gaps. It also needed to be about 2020, while also having another underlying theme. I decided to use the theme of alchemy, a proto-science with the belief in the transformational properties of elements, such as the ability to transform lead into gold. Here’s the final poem (backer submitted words in bold and underlined):
[ xDIAMONDxHANDSx ]
it was ostensibly messy,
yet tempering and grounding.
in revealing our iconic stories,
the possibility of transforming
was manifest in our radiant
The design features an alchemist’s hands using our version of the “Sorcerer’s Stone” -- a diamond with the name of our Japanese backer, Ken（健), inscribed on it. Coincidentally, it turned out to be a very appropriate name for this theme for two reasons: One, I spent 6+ years in Japan where I was inspired to pursue sustainability. Two, the character ken has a beautiful meaning: health, strength, and vigor.
Basically, the perfect thing for an alchemist trying to transform 2020 into something positive.As for the title? On Reddit’s r/wallstreetbets “diamond hands” is a phrase that refers to a trader who believes in a stock so much, they hold on for dear life despite the ups and downs of the market. They have strength and cannot be cut. It’s oddly metaphoric too--in old alchemy manuals, diamonds symbolized vision and clarity of the mind.
In the end, we really love that an art project we took on expecting to be a memoir to the trials and tribulations of 2020 turned into a message of hope and appreciation focused on the future. We’re excited to leave the messiness of 2020 in the past and shift our focus on manifesting in our radiant community!