A Radically Queer Gift Guide: Art
This next installment in the Radically Queer Gift Guide focuses on art, one of my favorite things to buy when I have a little extra cash floating around. Art isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to buy online, but these are some of the creators whose work I’ve found particularly meaningful that also make it available to purchase on the interwebs. I’ve included jewelry here, but I’ll do a separate post on fashion more broadly.
Riley, the curator of the Project Queer tumblr, has been selling art this year, including paintings and prints, and I bought a great piece that is hanging in my bedroom now. Riley’s stuff includes provocative queer and non-binary messages, horror, and abstracts. If you know someone who’s into queer horror, I think you’ll find Riley’s shop particularly appealing, but the abstracts are also great and bring a splash of color to a space.
Reuben responded to my call for works from queer and trans artists of color to feature with the painting pictured titled “Feminism,” a tribute to the LGBT community. Reuben is an Indian painter who describes their paintings as representing the “inner consciousness of imaginative narratives translated into paintings.” There are several of Reuben’s portraits and other works available on Art Majeur.
I really like the color and juxtaposition of elements in Oakland-based artist Lexx Valdez’s work. These prints are both eye-catching and overtly political, featuring subjects of color and a cool collage style. I think they’re perfect gifts particularly for any young women of color in your life who enjoy art that’s just a touch subversive. Lexx is a co-founder of the Daughters of D.I.G. project, “a gender and culturally responsive space providing strength-based therapeutic programs that empower young women from marginalized communities through media art.”
I am a big fan of Roan Boucher’s “Queer Demands” poster series, which you can get in its entirety or in part on Etsy and support Trans Justice Funding Project (50% of proceeds go to the project). The posters (or prints) read “Queers Demand…” and are followed by one of four demands: Gender-Self Determination, A World Without Prisons, An End to Militarism, and Universal Health Care. An awesome gift for the queer activist in your life.
Stuart is a UK comic artist whose works run the gammut from exhilarating to terrifying to fantastical. He plays with color and whimsy, offering prints and postcards that often make a statement while also visually captivating the viewer. There are currently just two prints available, “Poems for a Queer Revolution” and “Orgasm,” but I think the postcards and greeting cards would also make awesome off-beat holiday cards. Why not declare that bisexual invisibility is your secret super power for the holidays?
If you search Etsy for trans and queer art, you’ll find about a bazillion more hits than you did even two years ago, and many of these are identity and pronoun jewelry. But my favorite artist in this area is teukie jae of Rowdy Baubles, who describes themself as a “geeky glamdrogynous nonbinary queer disabled Korean adoptee, mixed media artist and anti-oppression worker.” They do lots of sparkletastic necklaces and earrings like the one pictured with plenty of options, but they’ve also branched out into everything from a fat unicorn print card to stamped brass to leather bracelets (I’m trying really hard to restrain myself from buying the hot pink “genderfckr” one right at this moment).
Storypeople have really become a “thing” since I first started buying them, but I still have to enthusiastically recommend these prints, a combination of colorful line drawings and whimsical words that always bring out different interpretations. I think they’re perfect for a meaningful gift for something special, especially those friends and partners with whom you like to be delightfully weird together. This is one of my favorites for gifts: “You’re the strangest person I ever met, she said and I said you too and we decided we’d have each other a long time.”
If you’re looking for something inexpensive as a fun gift for folks on your life with different identities and interests, I really like the look of Chrissy Mazer’s washer bracelets and necklaces. You can get anything from a bisexual pride flag to a “master” and “slave” set to a library book due date card design. The pride options are particularly impressive, including “Gay Pagan” and bear pride.
If you have a little more to spend on a fun necklace or earrings for someone on your list, then I recommend D and Stacy’s shop. Stacy is an artist with a disability who specializes in “spoonie” jewelry, hand-stamped humorous sayings, and charms. You can get your friend a “Queer As in Fuck You” necklace, a pronoun tag, or even a “Feminist Killjoy” necklace.