Libby VanderPloeg is a Midwest-based artist, illustrator, and designer. She grew up in Michigan on the edge of the Great Lakes dunes in a small town called Grand Haven and has since lived in Grand Rapids, Chicago, New York, and Stockholm. Her mixed-media paintings, animations, and digital illustrations drift between art, pop, and meme culture, exploring her relationship to feminism, activism, aesthetic ideals, and daydreamy pursuits of happiness. When she’s not drawing, you might fun her running, cycling, or on a quest for buttery pastry. Libby’s artwork has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The New Yorker, Time Out, Food 52, Ann Taylor LOFT, and TED Talks among many, many others. Her work is very relevant, often reflecting on social movements impacting women such as the #MeToo movement and the Womxn’s March.
“Libby and I worked together to develop two different lines around female empowerment: one to celebrate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment and the other to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII. Both were momentous anniversaries that set the stage for women of today: giving voice via the vote and being invited to jobs that were previously considered the work of men. Libby has a contemporary, colorful, inviting artistry that conveys a message and a story so simply and beautifully. She is passionate about women’s rights and voice and it was easy to align our wishes with her talents. The result is two beautiful chocolate lines that we’re incredibly proud of.”
- Jean Thompson, owner and CEO of Seattle Chocolate Company
100 years ago, in 1920, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified, giving women their constitutional right to vote. We would like to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate these brave women who banded together to pave the way for the rest of us. In their memory, we have created a collection to celebrate today's heroes, both big and small. We are always better together. Cheers to the next 100 years!
Graduating, heading to college, starting a new job; all of these things require a little bit of bravery. Inspired by the brave women who were called upon in new ways throughout World War II, we hope our limited edition Going Places Collection emboldens anyone embarking on a new adventure—and reminds you that your accomplishments are SO worth celebrating.
A Chat with Libby
Your illustrations depict inclusivity and unity – why is it important for you to express that through your art?
I've lived in diverse communities for most of my adult life, and love the energy that I get from being a part of a vibrant community where people from different backgrounds support one another. We live in a colorful, multilingual world, and I like to reflect that in my work. There are people who have an interest in fracturing our unity, as a means of holding onto power and resources. This is why I make unity such a focus in my work, because we are stronger together, united for progress, equity, and justice.
What’s your favorite thing to illustrate?
I truly do love drawing maps! I was fascinated with them as a child because, when I was little, we used big road atlases to navigate on our family road trips. I loved pouring over all of the details and marveled at the layers of information that the cartographer was able to cram onto the page. My maps are a little more whimsical than those old road atlases, but I still commit to making them as accurate as possible.
What are your favorite chocolate flavors?
What do you love most about your job?
I still can't believe that I get to live my childhood dream of drawing for a living. I don't think I truly thought that was possible when I was little. And I'm so happy to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing bunch of clients (like Seattle Chocolate) that are women-owned and share the same values of environmental sustainability and equity in the workplace.
Anything else you’d like readers to know about your designs?
Having the opportunity to celebrate groundbreaking women through my designs--You're My Hero and Boldly Go--has been such an honor. Thank you to the women that have pushed boundaries throughout history, giving all of us a better, brighter world!