Arts Interviews



Butterfly: Una Transformacion. Q&A with La Espiritista

May 2019

1. Is this the debut of the show?
Yes! This is the debut of Butterfly: Una Transformacion and I am super excited. This performance is based off of the spiritual framework of my upcoming book of poetic prayers. In this book I name the four phases of transformation: Release, Renewal, Retreat, and Rebirth.

2. What was your inspiration for the show?
Well it is a pre-release show, so the upcoming release of my book in August is one reason 😊
Another reason is around accessibility and different learning styles. As an Author and multi-dimensional artist, I love to translate my written word to performance. I am committed to presentation in different ways because not everyone learns and absorbs information in the same way. Some people can keep up with the words written down, others need the words spoken to them, some don’t need words at all, and so on! It is a different experience to just read my poems than hear them being performed. I collaborated with illustrator Nur Shojai to create stunning water-color illustrations for my book. These water-colored illustrations add another layer of interpreting my message. I am super inspired to gift people with my books concepts in an entirely different way than just reading it through this show.

3. What can we expect to see in the show?
You can expect to see the book essentially come alive! There will be 4 other QTPOC artists sharing the stage with me and we will each perform our interpretation to the phases of transformation. We will each embody our own form of expression in the ways that feel most natural to us. We will form bridges. Sexuality. Sensuality. Spirituality will all spring to life.
There will be Poetry, Music, and Dancing! I may even transform through stunning outfits throughout the night 😉
Really, if anything, I can promise that folks can expect to see inspiration, healing, and awakening taking place.

4. What were some of the challenges with writing this show?
Since the show is based off the spiritual framework in the book, it wasn’t actually too difficult to write. I think the more challenging part was the creation of the book itself. The butterfly is a huge symbol that signifies transformation. How can we even attempt to confine a being whose whole purpose in existing is to expand?

It’s great to have a vision and it is also important to know how to break it down into a way that brings perspective into what you have experienced, what you are currently experiencing, and what needs to be experienced next to have it manifest. Nature is super expansive, and it is also contained through the seasons we experience each and every year. Once I realized that, the spiritual framework for transformation became really apparent. Release. Renewal. Retreat. Rebirth. They don’t always have to be in that clean-cut order either, I mean our seasons haven’t actually been following that specific order for a while because of Climate Change and Global Warming, but they do exist.

5. What were some of the things you learned during the creation/writing process?
I am a firm believer in life-long learning. There has been so much I have taken away from my creative/writing process for this project that I know I will be integrating for a lifetime. One lesson I am deep in learning is forgiveness and letting go that which is no longer aligned.
Forgiveness in making mistakes and then taking accountability for them.
Forgiveness in not amounting to other’s expectations and choosing my joy.
Forgiveness in the limitations I possess and learning how to celebrate my sacred gifts.
Letting go of scarcity mentality and leaning into the abundance which the earth so generously gives.
Letting go of harmful relationship dynamics passed through unhealed generational trauma and cultivating families which are enriching, thriving, and reciprocal.
Letting go of weighing my worth through capitalistic lens and instead weighing it through my own internal wisdom.
These are a few of the lifelong lessons I have learned and will commit to learning for the rest of my time in this physical plane.

6. What do you hope people will learn from this project?
I hope that they learn that we are never done learning. I hope that they can take away some of the lessons I have and am continuing to integrate mentioned in the previous question. I hope that they are able to trust their own selves more and remember that everything is always in process.
Everything is always in flux, cycling, spiraling out of control and that we are not meant to know everything. That it is okay and sometimes things are meant to die, fall apart, and be completely destroyed, so there can be space for a radical metamorphosis to take place which can truly serve your life as well as the collective.


Check out La Espiritista’s website and Facebook for more information!

Catch La Espiritista’s pre-release show, Butterfly: Una Transformacion on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center. Click here to purchase tickets.

Crush/Repeat 2019 – Q&A with Sarah and Makenna

April 2019

1. Is this the debut of the show?
It’s not- it’s actually our fourth show. Our first was in a friend’s basement on Beacon Hill with less than 20 artists for just one night in 2014. We popped up again in 2017 as a more public project, and we’re doing it annually now. We’ve been at Artspace Mt Baker Lofts and Love City Love, and now we’re thrilled to be at Gay City for a whole month this year- with nearly 100 artists participating.

2. What was your inspiration for the show?
There is a project that started in Philadelphia called “Fun-a-day,” which we’ve essentially copied. Participants pick a small project to repeat every day during one of the winter months, and bring it all together for a show at the end. A friend of a friend put on a Fun-a-day show in Portland, and organizer Sarah Brown was so excited about the idea that she both made art for that show and organized the first Crush/Repeat the same year in Seattle with two friends. Makenna O’Keeffe joined Sarah in 2017 and it’s been full speed ahead ever since.

We both come from DIY backgrounds and have figured out a lot on the fly as the show is grown. This is the second year we’ve been part of Art Walk, and part of the intention of that choice is to challenge the barriers that exist between the elitist, exclusive, capital A “Art” world and spaces that are welcoming and representative of a wider audience . There are many art spaces where people may not even feel comfortable walking in and viewing art, let alone be inspired to create it themselves. We try to validate all expressions of creativity and strive to build community through art in an intentionally anti-capitalist structure.

3. What can we expect to see in the show?
In preparation for this annual community event, participants of all ages and experience levels chose a small project to repeat every day during the month of March. Mediums include photography, woodworking, painting, sewing, sculpture, music, writing, video, dance, and more. Topics range from lighthearted to deeply personal, from envisioning new futures to reconciling the past. There will be a short live showcase at 7PM on opening night (4/11) for performance based projects.

The nature of the project means that we don’t know what will be seen until days before the show. We try to keep the energy flowing and put up the art as soon as possible after it’s been created in order to activate and build on what’s been called into form. This project is open to anyone, although the majority of participants have always been queer and trans people.

4. What were some of the challenges with organizing this show?
The structure of this show means that we don’t really know what exactly and how much art we are showing until days before the opening. We have some idea, but how it will all fit together is something we are always figuring out on the fly. It’s a fun roll of the dice that can be stressful at times. We’re also growing, and even as this is exciting we worry about maintaining a personal feel to the show. We both have full time jobs- Sarah is a public elementary school teacher and Makenna is an architect at a small firm who is actually co-sponsoring our show (Third Place Design Co-operative). Right now this show feels like another full time job, but we love it!

5. What were some of the things you learned while creating this show?
Even though the process is messy and hard, and there is a time about 2/3 of the way through every March where we are always convinced that everyone is going to drop out and we won’t have a show; we get to trust in our community and experience them coming through in beautiful form. The art is medicine- shaking off the stagnation of winter people are expressing so many facets of themselves and setting new phases of activity in motion. We get so much volunteer help, and this project is truly a labor of love by and for our community.

6. What do you hope people will learn from this project?
The impact of this project lies with the structure- that one person might create something small one day, but by the end of month have built a significant cumulative piece. They can then bring it to a show to join scores of other pieces by artists who have gone through the same process. Viewers feel the potential, that something huge and beautiful can be built in this collective way, that we can take this template and reuse it to create the world we want to see. This is the way we can take down capitalism and white supremacy- with repeated sustained actions by individuals joining up strategically with the repeated sustained actions of others.

7. Is there anything else you would like to add?
We got a grant from the Office of Arts and Culture this year, which we are thrilled about. Among many other things, that has allowed us to expand and offer mini-grants to low income, POC, disabled and/or QTPOC artists for art supplies. We also have workshops and a movie night this year!
Here’s the full show schedule:

Opening party:

Thursday, April 11th 5-9 PM with short performance of writers, musicians and dancers at 7pm. (Capitol Hill Art Walk)

Gallery viewing hours:

April 12th-May 4th
(Thursdays 5-7, Fridays 1-7, Saturdays 1-5)

Saturday special events:

4/13- Self portrait Salon:

Drop in between 2-4pm and we’ll have all the supplies you need to capture the essence of yours truly, with Madelena Romansic and other Crush/Repeat artists on hand for guidance as needed.

4/20- Embroidery Open House:

Drop in between 2-4pm and we’ll have all the supplies you need to get started with your own embroidery project, with Bernadette Wright and other Crush/Repeat artists on hand to help.

4/25- (6PM) Movie night:

Come see video and photography projects on a big screen, including Mocha Jean Herrup’s lectures on Taylor Swift: queer conspiracy theories, white supremacy, neoliberal feminism, and sick beats; way more fun than driving a new Maserati down a dead end street.

4/27- (2-4PM) Writing as Ritual and Magic Making:

Crush/Repeat artists Shelby Handler and Anis Gisele are poets, witches, and believers of your work. Come magic with them through free-writes and gentle, generative workshopping! Let us know you’re coming by emailing crushrepeat@gmail.com.

Closing party: Thursday, May 9th 5-9pm (Capitol Hill Art Walk)

*All events and spaces are fully ADA accessible and have a strict fragrance free policy.

Be sure to check out Crush/Repeat’s Facebook page and follow along with this years event.



Introducing Rhonda Warren

February 2019

Picture of Artist Rhonda Warren
For Women’s History Month and Black History Month, we are featuring the work of artist Rhonda Malcolm Jamal Warren who goes by Rhonda or Roni.

Rhonda started painting while in grammar school in Gainesville, Florida. She’s 28 years old, “born and raised on the other side of the Mason Dixon Line, where the magnolias sit like lily pads with colors so vibrant; where people sang hello’s in the morning. Where strangers wave and people that look like you spoke highly of you and we uplifted one another”.

We spoke with her to learn about the inspiration for her artwork.

1. What inspired you to become an artist?
To acquire the ability to convey a story without words

2. What was the inspiration for your artwork?
I love color and I love what it has the ability to do organically.

3. What message do you hope people will receive after viewing your artwork?
You are as creative as you construct your mind to be. To have the ability to convey a message through a creative avenue takes years of study for most people of all walks of life.

4. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes! You can check most of my work at 25mw.tumblr.com.

Rhonda’s artwork will be available for viewing through March 2019. On April 11, Gay City will debut the 2019 exhibit of Crush/Repeat, an annual community art project.

Q&A With Liz Cruz, Producer of A Certain Type of Brilliance

February 2019
Show Dates: July 25-28

Water color crystals poster
1. What was the inspiration for the show?
I see femmes showing up with such vulnerability, and so much love, and so much willingness to just create a thing or do a thing or give a thing, even when we don’t have any resources. And I started thinking — what if creating something out of nothing isn’t just a thing that femmes are asked/expected to do all of the time? What if the ability to do that is actually an inextricable part of what being femme is?

2. What can we expect to see in the show?
Expect to see everything! The performers will be creating their works in response to prompts that they’ll receive in the 24 hours before the show, so we’ll all be seeing brand new stuff!

3. I understand you have held this show in the past; How many years has this show been running?
This is the second year.  Last year we did a run of four shows; this year we have 64 femmes participating across 8 shows.

4. How will this years show differ from the previous year(s)?  
Well, aside from being twice as big…we’re working with a ton of new prompts, a lot of new artists, and a couple of new opportunities for the audience to be part of the show.

5. What were some of the challenges with writing the show?
It’s a lot to organize, but true to form, I’ve had help from some really badass femmes. I told someone the other day that really, my job is just to trust femmes, and that’s not a hard job at all.

6. What were some of the things you learned during the creation/writing process?  
At every turn, femmes are even more brilliant, vulnerable, gracious and beautiful than I had imagined.

7. What do you hope people will learn from this project?
I hope that people will learn something about how to see femmes, and what we bring to the community. Also, I’ll be holding a follow-up workshop for femmes who want to keep exploring/talking about/creating around femme identity and experience. All femmes are welcome, especially those who don’t think they’re artists!

8. Is there anything else you would like to add?  
I encourage folks to come to more than one show, since they’re different every night!



Q&A with our January Art Walk Artist, Marcus or Marco

January 2019

Painting by artist Marcus or Marco
1. What’s your background as an artist?
I have always been an artist in one way or another, but I have only been painting for three years and painting with oils for a year and a half. I am mostly self-taught through reading and watching different techniques, and most of all a lot of practice.

2. Is this the first time you have shown your work?
This is the first public showing of my paintings.

3. What was your inspiration for your artwork?
Most of my paintings shown here were done primarily for practice, but the subjects and framing were chosen because I thought they would make a visually interesting image.

4. What are some of the challenges you have encountered in creating or displaying your work?
The biggest challenge for me is making myself concentrate on the matter at hand. I can visualize the next step in the process, be it the color to mix or the venue to contact, but sometimes my mind seems to want to focus on anything other than the practical aspects of being an artist.

5. What do you hope people get out of viewing your paintings?
I hope these paintings give the audience an enjoyable dose of visual stimulation.

Marcus or Marco’s work will be on display at Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center and can be viewed as a part of the Capitol Hill Art Walk on Thursday, January 10.

Learn more about the Art Walk on their website, and be sure to follow Marcus or Marco on Instagram.

J Mase III Q&A – And Then I Got Fired: On Being Trans, Unemployed & Surviving

January 2019

Painting by artist Marcus or Marco

And Then I Got Fired: On Being Trans, Unemployed, & Surviving is coming up on January 17th, 18th, and 19th, so we asked J Mase III to give us some insight into what we can expect from the show!

1. Is this the debut of the show?
Yes, this is the first time this show is being made!

2. What was your inspiration for the show?
I had applied to a few “LGBTQ affirming” places wanting to do a performance about the lack of work opportunities/reimagining of work for trans folks, even those connected to the larger LGBTQ community. As I kept getting rejection after rejection after rejection, it occurred to me that most spaces: 1) Don’t want to hear from trans people if it is not a Coming Out story they can sensationalize 2) Cis folks generally do not perceive trans folks as audience members consuming art and data and truth 3) Outside of non-profit spaces that often make money off talking about trans trauma, there aren’t just events for trans people to talk about a very common experience that centers the brilliance and ingenuity of trans folks of color who often have to squeeze water from a stone to make many jobs work. 

3. What can we expect to see in the show?
You can expect dance, and music and poems and a story or two

4. What were some of the challenges with writing this show?
This show is a collaborative event. Because so many folks in my life have complicated experiences with work and are also deeply talented, it was hard to narrow down who I wanted to ask.

5. What were some of the things you learned during the creation/writing process?
It is a difficult and necessary topic to cover. This is an art show and I want people to use this space to be honest about some very hard realities.

6. What do you hope people will learn from this project?
I hope trans folks, and particularly Black & Brown trans folks will come from this show feeling seen. I am hoping the audience will learn new ways that transphobia within and without LGBTQ spaces also contributes to our (TPOc’s) lack of access.

7. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Because TPOC folks are involved, it’s going to be brilliant, because even in the face of trauma and challenge, we always find a way.