ABOUT THE ARTIST
JASMINE SIERRA (she/her) is a queer, polyamorous, black woman and graduate of Oberlin College based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is currently attending Spalding University for her MFA, and is focused on completing her first, upcoming collection, AVOIDANT PERSONALITY. She has been featured on The Shade Journal, Winter Tangerine, Unrooted, Blackberry Magazine, Neplanta, and Platypus Press.
When she’s not busy, she enjoys reading, makeup, tarot card readings, and the occasional bout of crying over fictional characters.
I drew the painting in the wake of a crisis I had experienced in life and called for reflection, learning to look fear in the eyes—to watch it, to study it—, to change and grow. Fear was a kind of monster. I realized that, in each of us, in different periods of life, there are monsters, and so I danced with my monster.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
LIMOR ASHKENAZY, an Israeli born in 1973, is wheelchair-bound, diagnosed with Morquio syndrome. Limor began painting in 2004, and discovered the colors, the brush, the fabric, and her emotional world. Art is a place without boundaries, freedom and a vision in which a piece and another piece of soul weave the fabric of life.
Limor has been playing for 10 years at the "zulat" Community Theater in Bat Yam as a songwriter and playwright—modeling, teaching at various schools and organizations in Israel, promoting awareness and change for people with disabilities, and lecturing on sexuality and disability. She is currently raising money for her own performance, a performance show.
CW: Abuse, body horror, dissociation
Having a severe mental illness is a bit like carrying around a big heavy elephant on your back. It's an incredibly heavy burden to bear that everyone notices but not many people want you to talk about because it makes them uncomfortable. It's lonely.
For as long as I could remember, something inside just didn't feel right. Since I was a child I've been plagued with various mental illnesses that evolved over time into Borderline Personality Disorder. When I was diagnosed in 2014, I felt like I finally had an answer to the uncontrollable pain and suffering I had been experiencing for as long as I could remember. For the last six years photography has been my form of therapy to release the negative emotions I had been feeling. So it was natural for me to create how it felt to live with BPD. Eventually I had enough pieces for a series.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
SARAH-ANN LORETH is a self taught fine art and travel photographer from New England, who specializes in conceptual portraiture. In her work she tries to convey a quiet stillness of emotion with a connection to her natural surroundings. She stumbled upon photography while working in the medical field and threw all her energy into teaching herself the craft.
When not taking photos Sarah is an avid gardener who loves to cook, write, listen to political speeches, and binge watch The Golden Girls.
This piece is part of an independent project I worked on consisting of 53 2"x3" (50.8mmX76.2mm) scratchboard cards. I would quickly scratch out the thoughts I was experiencing on a card & then put it away, eventually to turn them all into a book. I started this as a means to hastily 'journal' thoughts in a way that felt more cathartic than simply writing them on paper, using the very real physical element of scratching them into dried black ink as a means for healing, or something that seemed like the ever elusive, likely mythical idea of 'healing', and the metaphorical appeal, with the black receding where scratched to reveal the unscathed white underneath, representational of the removal of pain for innocence, a desperate desire to cling and return to times that were not as difficult in this degree, a metaphorical scraping away to resemble the scraping away of the tumors in my brother's brain.
Many of these thoughts revolve(d) around the deaths of my father & brother, separate incidences occurring days apart. The piece included here was inspired by the Daughter song 'Doing The Right Thing', featuring the lyrics 'pictures soak out of televisions'. This piece is representational of how my mother feels, both expressed by herself specifically & also based on how I imagine she must feel: lost and hollow in her grief & guilt, wondering what 'doing the right thing' looked/looks like, what else she could have done to prevent or delay their deaths, especially the death of my brother, 'her only son', a line found repeated in this piece. 'Childhood OCD' also features [lightly paraphrased] lyrics from the Pixies' song 'Hey', followed by a personal confession of what has been my one and only wish since about the third grade, 'for my mum to be happy', which is the reason for the title of this piece because in the third grade I began developing OCD tendencies as a way to 'advocate for, haggle, or perform in exchange for' my mother’s happiness. Note these struggles and barters were between myself & myself alone & existed only in my head, my mother did not instruct or to my knowledge influence these tendencies, I was just always hyper-concerned about her well-being. This piece features many scratched over words, a technique I generally use to emphasize the words crossed over and to elicit more curiosity & 'looking' from viewers, and, specific to this piece, the scratches that result in gaping white underneath are representational to many things, including the results of the self-harm I would do as a child and young adult, as well as the gaping desperation for unsullied happiness, experienced by both myself &, I continue to imagine, my mother. The scratched out lines directly addressing my mother as 'you', in 'reminded me of you' and a confession to crying about this song playing I crossed out and replaced with the less emotional, more reserved and distant 'I thought of you' because I have long been cognizant of not wanting to overcrowd my mother with my own emotions; I have always wanted her to be able to have as much space as she'd like to express herself without what I perceive as 'interruption' from any expression of my own emotions, which was either the cause or a consequence of my typical reserved, unemotional disposition, despite any feelings of inner turmoil and distress. The inner feelings I work out privately, which is how this piece before you was born. Please look, see me, see my mum.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RILEY SERGIA DALCA is a Florida-born Hispanic & Native Hawai'ian person, living in Cleveland, Ohio at the date of this publication but prone to relocating constantly. A traveler, vegan, queer & inherently sad person, Riley has done many regrettable things, mostly in 2013 Philadelphia, but has experienced countless more beautiful & cherished moments. Riley loves its family & is very blessed to have such loving beings in its life, alive & dead.
I Am is a self-portrait that reflects that I am not afraid to be who I am. The colors are bold to showcase that I will not be apologetic for my beliefs. It is a piece about both self-discovery and self-assurance to stand up for women and other girls like me who express themselves through art. At the end of the day, it is about being comfortable with who I am.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JOY XIE is a junior at Mountain Lakes High School and lives in a small town in northern
New Jersey. She enjoys painting and reading in her free time, developing a passion for
these hobbies as a young girl. She has been published in Celebrating Arts, Aerie
International, Blue Marble Review, AIPF, and Sugar Rascals( forthcoming) and has
received awards in Scholastic Arts and Writing.
CW: Body horror, nudity
I am an interdisciplinary visual artist and bruja. My current visual work documents subversive medical narratives and trauma as meme through ink drawings. As an art witch my focus concerns femmecentric protective medicine and weaponization of orthopedics. I work with handcraft, art rituals and graphic narrative.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
INÉS IXIERDA is a queer Bolivian artist and designer in Oakland, California. She is currently drawing a graphic narrative and creating enchanted art objects.
Her work has been shown at SoMa Arts as part of the National Queer Arts Festival, at Sanchez Contemporary and at Qulture Collective. She has presented at the Graphic Medicine Conference, the Color of Violence conference and has created numerous arts programs in her work as an arts educator for over 15 years. Inés is also founder and proprietress of Bruxeria Designs, creators of Hex the Patriarchy. Find her on IG: Ines_Ixierda.
I live my art the way city fog knows to swallow
something whole enough to make it seem
iridescent from a distance I live my art the way
my body follows the curves of landscape and my
mouth is stained cadmium
They ask me what happens when poets paint
I say that they turn scarlet
that my guts know how to be an artist
even when my hands forget
It's in the way trees sometimes argue
and crows come tell me stories
My art is stained in pinewood,
in turpentine, in lipstick, dead skin and
fox fur my art is a fist unclenching,
clenching, unfurling into poppies
My art is scraped knees on pavement
the way a wound opens so sweetly for
the dirt the way the dirt echoes the colours
in my blood
My art is a tongue, swollen, sprinkled in sugar
Licking the last bit of "Yes" off every surface
sometimes a canvas knows how to bury
the last bit of beautiful before I do
sometimes paper loves a beautiful thing
before I do
sometimes I am a beautiful thing
They ask me what happens when painters write
I say their spines become metaphors
For branches flinching then
bending to easels
then straightening to become
something unbent again
ABOUT THE ARTIST
ELISA VITA is a 19-year-old fine arts student living in Quebec, Canada. She is fascinated with the concept of Otherness and hopes to explore the beauty of the peculiar in both her writing and visual art. Her poetry has previously been featured in The Rising Phoenix Review. For more of her work visit her Instagram: @_elisavita_ and her Tumblr: inkchantments.tumblr.com.