I went to Drag Ball at the Hammersmith Apollo in London last weekend, followed by an all nighter at The Glory. (Alaska was far and away my fave performance - see photo from the inspo). After living here for almost 3 years, I finally felt like I had a night at home in this city the way I used to feel at home in NYC circa my 20-something's.
At some point in the evening, we met a lovely straight bi-racial couple from the US. They were asking my gay friends how they felt about the drag scene becoming so mainstream, and it got me thinking exactly about why I am painting these queens in the first place...
Let me first say that I understand that identifying as a straight cisgender woman does not necessarily make this a community I can speak for - however - the LGBTQ community has always welcomed me as one of their own. Aside from athletics, it is the only place my whole life I have felt truly safe, accepted, and understood. (Lady Gaga elaborates on this in a much more eloquent way on the first episode of Season 9’s Untucked - more on that in a later post).
I own the fact that I have traditionally been a hater of all things underground becoming basic - however - I think that now is the time that the world needs more tolerance and appreciation for things that may be different than them. Exposure, understanding, and empathy are what this world needs right now. Exposure namely, to help unlock the rest. The world needs laughter, irreverence, joy, and love - all things that drag has brought to my life especially during dark times.
This is one of the many reasons why drag portraiture has became my main subject matter. I walk down the halls of the worlds’ most relevant art museums, and see images of people that were framed and hung on a wall for generations to remember their importance.
Drag is performance art. Drag has been there leading the movement of change since the beginning - from Shakespeare to Stonewall. Drag is an art form that uplifts, inspires, and fights for evolution - and it has become very important to me that it be commemorated and remembered in art history as such. And so, I will keep painting. I will keep championing these heroes of diversity and inclusion that they may be revered as all of the art history heroes that have come before.