As we reach the end of 2020 we are taking a look back at our top nine features of the year!
#9 - Severus Heyn
My name is Severus Heyn, I’m 27 years old, from Germany, preferred pronouns he/him/his, and I’m a self-taught illustrator. I have drawn since I can remember, but in recent years due to many different collaborations with other queer artists, I suddenly came to terms with being part of this lovely rainbow community. Other artists taught me through their work how to shred toxic masculinity (not that I’m anywhere close to the goal) and question my stance of my own sexuality; for that I’m forever grateful to the art and the artists.
#8 - The Line Girl
The Line Girl is a queer multidisciplinary artist that uses Collage, Drawing, Installation, Painting & Performance to explore the infinite subject of ‘Lines’.
Having a wide range of exploration within her work, she still holds onto the consistently deliberate and organic fluent notion of the linear structure, which is pivotal to her ongoing exploration of a 'simple' subject.
#7 - Simón Malvaez
Simón Malvaez was born in Tijuana, a border city of Mexico and the U.S. He studied graphic design in Mexico City. He currently lives in San Francisco.
Inspired by the places he has lived and The Bauhaus founding philosophies. Simón takes basic materials, familiar shapes, and primary colors, pastels, and metallics to celebrate bodies and personalities that have influenced him. Latino culture and the LGBTQ+ community are bold and vibrant in all of his work's.
The geometry and composition invites you to disassemble each attribute of the piece and then reinterpret the projected symbols upon the pieces as a whole. It is an invitation to appreciate and deconstruct identity, diversity, representation and inclusion.
#6 - Thomas Evans
My photography is fueled by the clashing chaos of contradictions: play & provocation, masculine & feminine, titillation & torment, fear & freedom. When these opposite sides of a spectrum meet, there is a charged, often taboo-area that becomes electric. That is when I snap my shutter. My goal is to challenge the viewers of my work; show them another point of view that is not readily accepted by society at large. I want them to stop in their tracks and think, “Huh, I’m uncomfortable and yet, how beautiful!” I want each of my photographs to challenge not only a viewer’s accepted truths about gender, class, and glamour, but also each portrait's subject. My work strives to push each photo's subject out of their comfort zone. I believe it is within that novel inner struggle that true empowerment and transformation becomes possible.
To challenge what is expected I capturer subjects in an intentionally controlled and manipulated studio environment. Studio lighting is contorted to highlight the unexpected and models are posed in provocative postures. My overall hope is that my work will lead people further along towards the goal of acceptance, tolerance, and equality.
#5 - Mel Valentine
Mel is a Miami born and Chicago based Latinx Illustrator and Comic creator. They are currently attending Columbia College Chicago, pursuing an Illustration BA with a minor in animation. Their work is largely inspired by LGBT, POC, and fem experiences. Mel enjoys inking illustrations with intricate brush pen work, and also exploring new ways to detail and texture their work digitally. Their work is very focused on graphic story telling with themes that help highlight minority lifestyles.
Mel loves tabling at Conventions/Art events and meeting new artists and peers. Come chat with them at their next con!
#4 - Berke Yazicioglu
Berke Yazicioglu is a visual artist based in London. His work spans painting, illustration, and textiles, and explores subjects like anonymity and censorship. His current ongoing project, titled Big Blonde Bottom, is a drawing project about male submission, and the taboos of representing the least depicted function of the male body: its penetrability.
#3 - 𝙊𝙍𝘼𝘾𝙇𝙀666
Inspired by holograms, Eastern European folklore, and underground internet art communities, Julia Sinelnikova aka ORACLE666 works across mediums to create immersive worlds. Known for their large-scale installations and sculptures, the Brooklyn-based artist has worked closely with the music industry their entire career. They have designed sculptural sets for musicians including Öona Dahl, Peaches, Juliana Huxtable, J.Phlip, Lee Burridge, Aurora Halal, Machinedrum, The GZA (Wu Tang Clan), and Michael Madden (Maroon 5). They were born in Israel, and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia and Austin, Texas.
Julia began formal musical training with the Austin Girls Choir by age nine, through which they were featured in the Ballet Austin’s production of the Nutcracker, and toured the country on invitations to perform from the White House and Disney World by age fourteen. They subsequently began performing spoken word poetry in Houston at venues including AvantGarden and Notsuoh. They studied guitar and flute, and began djing on vinyl at age seventeen in Austin, before moving up to New York City in 2008. They co-lead organized Bushwick Open Studios from 2009-2014, through which they established New York Times reviewed curated exhibitions such as “Seeking Space,” and an annual electronic music festival based in local venues including Bossa Nova Civic Club. In 2014-15 they stage managed Output Club in Brooklyn, where they worked side by side with headlining electronic artists to produce large-scale events. Since 2016 they have organized a performance and exhibition event focused on highlighting BIPOC artists working in experimental light art and electronic music, entitled CHASM.NYC. In 2020, just prior to the covid-19 lockdowns, Julia produced a sold out event at House of Yes (NYC) featuring headlining dj and musician Öona Dahl, where the artist presented immersive sculptural stage design, as well as a live vocal and dance performance. They have directed and filmed three music videos for the industry, including for artists Aerofall, Katie Rush, and Johnny Polonsky. Simultaneously to their music career, Julia exhibits artworks internationally and creates public sculptures for agencies of the City of New York, with a new 15-foot metal work forthcoming for one-year outdoor display at Brooklyn’s Broadway Junction subway stop.
Facing unprecedented changes in the art and music world living under covid-19 lockdown in NYC, these days ORACLE666 continues to expand their research into coding, interactive art, and cyberfuturist visions. They are working on a new solo exhibition of sculptures for 2021, as well as their debut EP. ORACLE666 is about drifting into the liminal space between real and surreal, floating through ethereal pastel clouds, and dreaming future memories.
#2 - HercuSleaze
HercuSleaze (he/him) is a drag king who's based in Montreal, Canada. His persona was created by the cis female artist, Meags Fitzgerald (she/her). Outside of drag she’s an award-winning graphic novelist and internationally recognized for her feminist books on history and queer identity. Disadvantaged by the patriarchy, Fitzgerald uses drag to slip into the feeling of male privilege and do things she’d otherwise consider unimaginable.
With a singular vision, Fitzgerald is the makeup artist, costumer designer, and photographer of HercuSleaze’s looks. His attire is inspired by the fashions of wealthy European men from the 17th-19th centuries. HercuSleaze is both emboldened by the status that the garments represent, and makes a mockery of their original power by wearing them on a queer, female body. The luxurious garments also enable HercuSleaze to visually compete with the high standard for extravagance in drag queen fashion.
Its HercuSleaze’s mission to gain greater recognition for all drag kings and to address the unequal opportunities that cis women and trans men face in the drag world. He’s the co-founder of the instagram account The Kingdom of Drag, which is the only re-share account exclusively for drag kings and masc-gender-bending drag artists, and serves as a virtual hub for the community.
#1 - Christopher Williams
A curious "alchemist of theatre" aiming to transcend boundaries between a variety of art forms, Christopher Williams continues to hone a distinctive style that combines contemporary dance with visual design, music, and puppetry to yield multifaceted movement-based works in his own unique genre of contemporary performance. Preferring to cast each new project specifically rather than maintaining a set company, he assembles a wide variety of performers that juxtapose many body types, ethnicities, genders, and orientations as well as span many ages in order to instill each of his works with an unusual corporeal counterpoint.
Christopher is particularly interested in expanding the scope and meaning of contemporary dance by exploring the potential relationship of mythology, folklore, and historical literature, early and contemporary music, sculptural costume, mask, and a variety of puppetry forms to the gesture of the human body. He notices an intricate harmony between traditionally disparate art forms due to their common potential for movement, and seeks to build polyphonous compositions drawing upon each of their innate properties. In his work, dancers' bodies can move independently or become bases for prosthetic accoutrement, musical vessels, media through which puppets can rouse, and even magical shapeshifters.
Fascinated by the ways in which the earliest bands of humans ritually engaged with supernatural denizens of otherworlds, Christopher creates works that present his own contemporary queer testimony to an ancient cultural impulse to journey beyond the known realm. By combining highly technical choreographic vocabulary with vivid visual designs and music integral to each new work, Williams aims to restore a forgotten sense of ritual and spectacle by immersing a broad public in fantastical new worlds.
Christopher Williams, dubbed “one of the most exciting choreographic voices out there” (The New York Times) and “the downtown prodigy” (The New Yorker), is a choreographer, dancer, and puppeteer who has made over thirty original movement-based works in NYC and abroad since 1999. His work has been presented internationally in France, England, Italy, Spain, Holland, Colombia, Malawi, and Russia, nationally in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Princeton, Interlochen, and Kalamazoo, as well as in many of his local New York City venues including City Center, Lincoln Center, New York Live Arts, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, P.S. 122, the 92nd Street Y, and La Mama. His recent commissioners include The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, Interlochen Center for the Arts, 10 Hairy Legs, and the Wiener Staatsoper, and he has previously been commissioned by the Opéra National de Bordeaux, English National Opera, Teatro Real, Perm Opera & Ballet Theater, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Princeton University, the Harkness Dance Center, DTW, and through HERE Arts Center’s Dream Music Puppetry Program. His collaborators have included renowned directors Peter Sellars and Michel Fau, conductor Raphaël Pichon of Ensemble Pygmalion, members of the Anonymous 4 and Lionheart, as well as critically acclaimed composer Gregory Spears and visual designer Andrew Jordan. His awards include a 2005 New York Dance & Performance “Bessie” Award, fellowships from The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Bogliasco Foundation, as well as residencies via the Robert Raushenberg Foundation, at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, Kaatsbaan Culture Park, the Harkness Dance Center, the Bogliasco Foundation, Movement Research, Joyce SoHo, Djerassi, Yaddo, and The Yard. His collaboration with director Michel Fau and musical director Raphaël Pichon on a production of Jean-Philippe Rameau's Dardanus presented at the Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles won the Grand Prix du Syndicat de la Critique 2015 in the category of "best Spectacle Lyrique of the year" and his collaboration with Peter Sellars on a new adaptation of Henry Purcell's The Indian Queen presented at The Bolshoi Theater won five Golden Mask Awards in Moscow. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College as well as a diploma of study from the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
The Art of Being Queer