Tyler, Kendra, and their cat Noel left their careers in the fashion industry as a footwear designer and a women’s retail buyer in order to expand the reach and impact of [HAS HEART] and its HERO[series] collaborative design process.

Since July 2017, they’ve been traveling state-to-state to partner a Veteran with a graphic designer in all fifty states. Explore the entire 50 States: Veterans + Artist United project and follow their progress on Instagram.

STATE 15: Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
DESIGN TITLE: L’Union
VETERAN: Darrel Charles, U.S. Navy
ARTIST: Brittany Ballinger
SPONSOR: Available

DESIGN MEANING: L’UNION

Inspired by the Haitian flag and its message of strength in unity, the Kintsugi art of repairing broken pottery with gold, and the intent of dazzle camouflage to stand out rather than blend in, U.S. Navy Veteran Darrel Charles and graphic designer Brittany Ballinger collaborated to create the design “L’Union.” Proud of his Haitian heritage, Darrel shared with Brittany the motto from the country’s coat of arms: “L’union fait la force,” meaning, “unity makes strength.”

While serving on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), he appreciated the teamwork aboard yet longed for a way to creatively express himself. Years after returning home, Darrel overcame homelessness with the help of the Florida organization “Operation Sacred Trust.” Now in school for sound engineering, Darrel hopes to use the mediums of video, music, and massage therapy to provide a means of healing and support for others.

Ultimately, Darrel and Brittany added a touch of gold to the design to highlight the beauty in brokenness just as the Japanese art of Kintsugi does, hoping to translate the inner peace found through acceptance and healing.

 LATEST POSTS: 

We Need a Tow [Vehicle]

With only ELEVEN states (Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan) left to complete our nationwide mission, we need your help to secure a vehicle that will get us and our Airstream to where we need to go in order to partner the next Veteran with a graphic designer to help us share their meaningful story.

Podcast: we are all human

Tyler Way and Kendra Clapp Olguin who have been taking [HAS HEART] across the country on the “50 States: Veterans + Artists United” tour were recently invited on “a little more human” podcast series hosted by Caton Vance and Eric Johnson from Gorilla. Hear insight from Tyler and Kendra share about quitting their careers in fashion, living and working on the road full-time, and some of their favorite moments traveling the country on behalf of [HAS HEART].

FUNDING NEEDS TO FINISH

With the support of many hands, we’ve been on the road for 545 days, driven 39,095 miles, visited 36 states, completed 38 projects, have worked with 46 Veterans and 117 creatives, and launched 14 projects with 24 more currently preparing to launch. Now, 18 months later, our initial funds have been fully utilized and deployed, causing us to pause the upcoming tour projects in order to raise the finances needed to complete the rest of our nationwide mission.

OUR JOURNEY: STATE 15-FL

From Charleston, SC, we continued our way south through Georgia into St. Augustine, FL. We pulled into Anastasia State Park right along the Atlantic coast and set-up camp for two nights within a sandy jungle — easily our favorite campsite thus far on the tour. Noel also became a big fan of this set-up because from every vantage point she could spy on birds up-close and even spotted those infamous little Florida lizards for the first time in her cat life.

OUR JOURNEY: STATE 14-SC

Downtown Charleston was covered in our first taste of Southern-styled charm that included ivy-covered walls, cobblestone streets, weathered paint finishes, decorative rod-iron railings, oh, and a Pineapple Fountain. This fountain wasn’t the only pineapple we saw. We began noticing on homes, gates, mailboxes, and more. But why?