As summer stretches its legs in the Pacific Northwest, Nikki McClure's calendar is helping me count down the months. The cut paper artist seems to be everywhere now: on bookshelves, greeting cards, and fabulous retrospectives in museums opening this fall. McClure is known for her dramatic etchings of everyday life, resistance, and celebration. As Cinders Gallery puts it, "Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates a bold language that translates the complex poetry of motherhood, nature, and activism into a simple and endearing picture." She's been doing it for over a decade, and despite age, fame, and maybe a little fortune, seems to be as true to her roots as before. And that's what's so inspiring: a continuous evolution of radical art-making that doesn't sell out after life changes like having families or getting older.
Cristy C. Road, a Miami-raised, Brooklyn-based, Cuban-American illustrator, writer, and of course, total dreamboat, is no stranger to DIY, punk, queer, zine, and activist communities all over the place, and certainly no stranger to the pages of Bitch magazine. You might recognize her work from covers of books such as We Don't Need Another Waveand The Revolution Starts at Home, or maybe you've caught her on tour with Sister Spit The Next Generation when they rolled through your town, or perhaps you've flipped through an issue or two of Green Zine, or you stole your ex's copy of Bad Habits, or you saw her band play in someone's basement, or maybe you've never heard of her at all, but basically, she's a big deal, not to mention a badass. This is what happened when I sat down for a chat with her on a sunny Friday morning, pajamas on, and breakfast in hand. Cristy shared her feelings about everything from her art, to astrology, to racial dynamics in radical communities, to cats and brunch. It's all here for you to read, so let's get started!
You know when you come across a super rad zine artist and you're really into their work, then you casually waltz into a comic shop, and you find one or two of their zines from years and years ago, but you get pretty bummed that the zine and comic shops in your area don't have a sufficient selection, so you scour the Internet but can only find so many other things, then you realize you've wasted hours looking for who has the lowest shipping costs? You then proceed to read every interview with them, you learn all you can about their life, then you step back for a minute, and it hits you—maybe you're a little obsessed with the artist and you feel weird about it, but you end up e-mailing them professing your undying love for them and their work anyway? Please tell me this isn't something only I go through.
Regardless, starting right here, right now, I will be taking you on a journey, showing you why I love three incredible queer zine artists, and why you should love them too.
This month, the Ladydrawers team, led by Anne Elizabeth Moore, is presenting some new data on who's getting published in the comics industry and who isn't. Even though, according to their recent research, the comics creator pool is just 54% male and the submission rates by male and female creators are roughly equal, publishers are more likely to accept work by men—and to commission work from male creators. And non-binary creators? Yeah, they're published even less often.
It makes sense that a centuries-old tradition would need an update. When Annie Murphy and her friends found that they couldn't identify traditional tarot decks, the five friends formed a collective to reimagine the deck while honoring the tradition of tarot. What came out was a more inclusive 78-card deck with illustrations from almost two dozen artists.
Bitch contributor and super-smart cartoonist Jen Sorensen has an "Open Letter to the Supreme Court About Health Insurance" up at Kaiser Health News that is totally worth a read/look. I know what you're thinking (that a mere conversation about insurance can be depressing, let alone an illustrated comic), but Jen's piece not only breaks down the Affordable Care Act in a way that's easy to understand, it's also really charming and funny! (And especially relevant for freelancers, whose health care costs are ridiculously high.)
At 25, Christi Furnas was diagnosed with schizophrenia. This queer-identified woman has used her disability as inspiration for making beautiful art and connecting with other mentally ill artists. Based in Minneapolis, MN, Furnas has been involved with Spectrum Artworks, an organization that serves as a community and studio space for artists with mental illness.
I emailed Christi recently to ask her about the truth behind the "madness = creativity" myth, her muse, and her views on being a mental illness/LGBTQ/feminist activist.
Last week, we lost one of North America's most estimable, if underrecognized creators—artist and sculptor Elizabeth Catlett. Catlett was alive for nearly all of the 20th century, witnessing America progress (and regress), her art reflecting history, legacy, and reality of her world, guided by principals of social justice and accessibility.
Tired of that worn-out trope that women are impossible to work with or aren't creative when they are "on the rag"? Well these five artists/projects are defying this belief, using menstruation as fuel for empowerment and art.