Sassify Zine turned five in 2021 and to celebrate we wanted to help LGBTQ+ artists promote their work and to explore the work of one what queer intimacy looks like in the face of isolation.
£100 was awarded to the selected artist.
We were inundated with a plethora of amazing work, and due to inequalities within the arts it was important for us to prioritise submissions from people who experience racism, identify as gender diverse or transgender, are disabled, experience learning difficulties or come from a disadvantaged background.
Lockdown and isolation has impacted us all especially those within the queer community. And the consequences of these changes have challenged us to look at how our feelings of intimacy been reshaped during your lockdown. Our selected artists Crash Cant Draw blew us away with their interpretation of the theme. Their illustrations were able to capture queer intimacy in all its forms from friendship, kinship to love.
We caught up with Crash to talk queer art and the inspiration behind their submitted artworks.
Tell us about your queer journey so far...
My queer journey feels relatively short in the sense that, so far, it has only been about 10 years of self-discovery. While I’m sure I haven’t reached the end, I at least feel like I have reached a proud middle point. As I’m sure is the case for most people, my platonic relationships have been the most influential and important to me within my personal journey.
Like a lot of young people now, Tumblr played a huge part in finding myself; it was the first place I had heard of gender being discussed and allowed me to “come out” several times while I tried to figure out my identity and which pronouns worked best for me. It was the first place I had a group of friends who I knew supported me and from there, I gained the strength to come out to my “real life” friends.
Through my art, I would later connect in person with some of these online friends and begin to surround myself with even more like-minded people.
"Art has also always been such a valuable tool in creating much-needed connections, and as a way of seeing myself."
What has queer isolation meant to you?
Personally, I have spent the majority of the last year alone (outside of my day job, when non-essential retail was open) so isolation has meant a lot of reflecting on the times spent with loved ones before the pandemic. Thinking about the last time I saw my family properly or hung out with my friends, and the idea of seeing them again has been really comforting and helped me not to dwell on the more overwhelming feelings around lockdown.
Like I say, platonic relationships have always been most important to me; the inspiration for my pieces comes from missing being around my friends, living with them, sharing space with them, and the moments of intimacy that come with that. Inspiration also comes from the care packages and the errands you run for people who are shielding, or just picking up the phone more often to check in with each other – not at all new concepts, but things we depend on much more now and things that help us feel closer.
What advice would you give to a queer person in isolation right now?
Reach out! There’s a fantastic community of queer people online, you never know who you might meet. I would also encourage you to share anything you’ve been making or working on online; there seems to have been more of a response to all kinds of content in recent months due to people being online more, and a greater shift towards representation and community being digital. People can get to know you super quickly through the kind of content you share, and having shared interests can of course lead to more conversations with new people or open up more opportunities with existing friends.
How will receiving the money benefit/develop your practice?
I’m currently working on a couple of different projects that I’m hoping to self-publish later this year, so I will be putting the money in to the printing costs. One of which is a submission based queer art zine, so I’m looking forward to being able to give back to the artists who contributed to it too.
What does queer art mean to you?
Art has also always been such a valuable tool in creating much-needed connections, and as a way of seeing myself. When I was younger, I used it more as a tool to purge the bad feelings and dysphoric views of myself that I couldn’t describe any other way, but thankfully, as I got older, it’s become more about celebrating identity and creating a community.
What made you happy today?
My piece being chosen in this competition did of course make my day! But also, generally, the change in seasons has been a big relief – it feels great to go for a walk in the sunshine and for the couple extra hours of daylight. Seeing people sharing posts about getting vaccinated also makes me super happy. Some of my relatives have been getting the vaccine in the last couple days too, it is that bit of “light at the end of tunnel”.
You can see more of Crash Cant Draw HERE
If you are struggling through lockdown just remember you are not alone, you are needed and loved. There are number or organisation you can get in touch with: