I got this pink Santa, with his lavender combat boots, in the 75% off bin at a Beverly’s store in Alameda.
I had to have him, obviously, and I had a vague notion he could hang out with my Snow Queen and her reindeer, when I finished her.
That was in 2014, and I’m hoping to have the Snow Queen done by my 50th birthday on January 8th of 2017. Projects take what they take, it’s fine.
Meanwhile, a couple weeks ago I found these adorable fuchsia flock reindeer at TK Maxx, the German version of TJ Maxx. They were 1,99! Obviously, I was supposed to buy them.
As soon as I got them home I knew they were Pink Gay Santa’s reindeer.
But they needed to be fancified. Ever since I finished my workshop I’ve been tearing through long-unfinished projects, because I have instant access to all my lifelong hoard of materials. Every bit of ribbon I ever saved, every scrap of velvet, every tube of fingernail decals.
I’m like a cross between Smaug and Divine.
I had to use a hacksaw on Santa’s base to fit him into the sleigh, then build the fur trim on his coat to fit the sleigh with epoxy clay.
I was so inspired in this project, and all my bricolage work, by Elizabeth McGrath. I discovered her in Culver City in 2005 at her exhibition Altarwise by Owl-Light.
I feel like she really opened my eyes and my heart to the idea that art could be both silly and mysterious, glittery and meaningful, pink and terrifying.
I love her work for showing me serious art can be completely covered in Swarovski crystals and fake fur, and for its mythic stories and secret chambers of hilarious fucked-upness.
I got on Instagram recently, and starting following her and other “Pop Surrealist” or “modern Outsider” artists. I found Mab Graves, who also makes pink things that are scary, and can both draw superbly and sculpt/make/craft. I discovered the astonishing work of Caitlin McCormack, who crochets skeletal creatures out of dissolving lacy thread. I get to keep up with the work of Jessica Joslin, an art hero of mine for years.
I’ve been finding a web of validation and confidence in the work of women artists who are successful making art that is both pretty and hideous, cute and political.
I’ve had so much to do the last couple months, and I’ve been so shaken by the terrible events in the US.
I fell into the sweetness and hope and joy of this project like it was a feather bed. Doing anything else felt overwhelming. Though of course I did a lot anyway.
I’ve felt that my job as a working artist who simply does some work, any work, was so essential these last five weeks.
Maybe it’s foolish to think art matters at such a precarious time, but you know, I live in Berlin.
I’ve felt a deep desire to renew my commitment and lifelong work of supporting visibility for the “othered”. I want to spend 2017 documenting queer and trans life with more beauty and tenderness than ever. I know how much the work of the Weimar artists mattered, and I am inspired to try and matter too.
Fearless Pink Gay Santa is a vision of hope and love, the Santa I pray will land lightly on a million roofs this year. He is photographed with one of my mom’s beautiful crochet pieces!
His list holds “Safety”, “Freedom to Love”, “Marriage Equality”, “Health Care”, “Kids”, and space for other things.
I’m mostly just an ally; I can’t know what LGBTQIA people are putting on their wish lists this year. I’ll be listening, though.