Arts Interviews

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.