• S T O R M

    S T O R M

    Stay tuned for our upcoming issue Storm. Our fourth issue will be covering the topic of police brutality in America and how people are dealing with the pain and what they're doing to overcome systematic abuse and racism. 

    Our 4th issue will feature artist of all mediums including: 

    Asha Mosley 

    Aerin Cooper 

    Akilah Richardson 

    Mateus Porto 


    Jazzeppii Zanaugtti 

    Cae Monae 

    Perris Allen 

    Amanda Moore-Karim 

    Parker Bright 

    Chanel Love 

    Ibrahinn Khan 

    Iyabo Akinunrulee 

    David Beltran

    and others... 

    We'd like to apologize for being MIA these past few months. We've all been going through a lot of transitional periods in our personal lives and we've had to press pause on some projects but we are still working on finishing this issue and we can't wait for you all to see it! 


    Sedate Staff 

  • Runsy


    Esperanza Rosas aka Runsy is a Mexican artist.

    Sedate: Where are you from? Where are you now, and where are you going?
    Runsy: I was born and raised in the South Side of Chicago, close to the Indiana state line. I’m still living out here and I’m not sure where I am going next, but I would like to relocate in the near future.
    S: How has growing up as a Latina influenced your work?
    R: Being a Latina is extremely influential to my work. I have always wanted to make my work more political/activist, however, it wasn’t until I realized that being a Latina and making art was political in itself. Although, I am largely inspired by my Mexican culture--which is evident in the skull work I often do-- seeing the lack of representation of Latina/o artists within institutions and university curriculums is what really motivates me to keep working.

    S: A lot of your work features rappers like Drake, Chief Keef, and Future. Why these rappers, or any rappers in particular? 
    R: I love Chief Keef. Chief Keef is my hero *insert heart eyes emoji here*. I drew him a long time ago because I really liked him. He saw my post of the drawing then reposted and tagged me on Instagram, which is how I got a lot of my IG followers. The second time I drew him it was for a Frank 151 feature competition and my piece was selected for a gallery showing in LA, a feature in the print magazine, and merch on the Frank 151 site. Nowadays, it feels like drawing rappers is done a lot on social media for likes or followers, so I will only draw rappers if I truly love them, like I love Drake and Future. 
    S: You just released a zine "The Struggle To Get A Bae" can you tell us a little bit about it? I heard it comes with a CD "full of hood love songs" :)
    R: Yes! The zine is about me being single and all of the outrageous things I tweet, which is why I claim to be single: because I am myself. Although, the zine is personal, I thought it would be something fun to release to show people how being single and being yourself is better than being in a relationship with someone who you are going to have to filter yourself around. I think as women many times it is expected for us to take on a specific role to please our male counterpart: i.e. women are not supposed to drink heavily, or party too much, and cater to the male. My zine is kind of an IDGAF to any of that. I am always going to do what I want to do and if a dude does not like it, someone eventually will. The CD is a fun addition to the zine. The songs on it are half hood / half love songs because I tried to make it so that everyone reading the zine and listening to the CD, would be able to feel what I feel when I think of old boos and relationships. 

    S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today's youth culture, and what are you doing to combat that? 
    R: Speaking specifically towards artists and the Internet, I think there are a lot of artists that get dragged in too deep by social media. Don’t get me wrong, social media has helped me A LOT, and is extremely helpful for many to get their art out there. However, it is good to pick up a book sometimes, research, and do stuff outside of Instagram or Twitter to help better your art. I think many times people want to make a living off of drawing celebrities and doing things that have been done so many times already that their individuality gets washed down. I am not speaking down on anyone, but doing things like picking up a book, and learning about your own culture is always very inspiring. These things help me keep my art as true to myself and as original as I can.   

    S: What is next for you? Any new projects/collaborations?
    R: I don’t like speaking too much about my future work just because things fall off, and people get busy, etc… but I do have a collaboration coming out soon with one of my closest friends. I also have a new project coming out soon based on gangs, my family, and being Mexican. It is a mix of my usual drawing work along with some photo work I have been doing.

    Follow Runsy on Instagram and Twitter

    More work from Runsy here!

  • Bobby Burg

    Bobby Burg

    Bobby is an artist/musician/tour manager/record label owner based in Chicago. He has dedicated most of his time to playing in the bands Joan of Arc, Love of Everything, Make Believe, Wedding Dress, Hydrofoil among many others. Bobby started carrying a camera with him in 2012 in order to capture his experiences while traveling. 

    Sedate: When did you first start taking photos? Was it something you were always passionate about?
    Bobby Burg: I realized all of this cool stuff was happening around me and no one was taking photos of it and so many things were happening so fast that I was losing track. So I wanted to start bringing along a point-and-shoot to document some of the unique perspectives I get to see.

    S: Who and or what are your muses when shooting? 
    BB: My Muses can be anything from a cool charming person to a striped shirt or a cool party vibe. Odd scenes are pretty interesting to me.  I have so much respect for touring musicians and tour managers and engineers. I like shooting photos of those cool faces.  

    S: You also are a musician and play in many bands as well as have your own solo project. What role, if any does music play on your photography career?
    BB: That's kind of what all of the photos are about. Well not necessarily being a "musician" but being someone that's always down to help make a show happen. I end up in some pretty special situations because of the relationships and special skills I've built up over the past 20 years.

    S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today's youth culture (the young generation), and what are you doing to combat that?
    BB: All I can do is watch and see where today's youth culture goes, I don't have an interest in combat. But you know, It's cool if you know how to close and lock a van door. And if you know how to roll up your own sleeping bag.

    Follow Bobby on Instagram, and check out 42 Repeatable Examples where you can grab a limited edition zine and download! Joan of Arc will be celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band by with an art show June 4th at Elastic Arts in Chicago.

  • Angel Harrold

    Angel Harrold

    Angel is an artist, personality, and writer who loves to watch people dance. She drinks dirty martinis and roller skates in her free time. 

    Photography by Todd Diederich.

    Sedate: Can you tell us a little bit about Dew Magazine? Where did the name come from?
    Angel Harold: Dew Magazine is a collaboration project managed by Diamond Stingily and I. We chose the name dew because it was really important for us to feature individuals who we feel are contributing culturally and perhaps not acknowledged directly for all the refreshing things they make possible. Although still in its infancy, we are being meditative about how to continue this project and move forward in a diverse and stimulating way.

    S: Has there been any telling moments working in a populated male industry that has led you to realize the struggle women, more specifically women of color face? How did you grow from this moment/experience?
    AH: Yes, what a negative experience that I’ve learned so much from. I’ve been unknowingly published a couple of times this year, uncredited. Instead of giving those moments more power I’ve decided to encourage friends of mine with similar experiences to commission more diverse folk. To hire and work with people whose personal experience is not shown often. Maybe hire a photographer or videographer who isn’t usually doesn’t identify with the lead role in every movie. I don’t know. It makes for more diverse points of view and access points, and more importantly, better work, better collaborations. I’m really thankful for my friends hire me for portraiture, particularly Vic Mensa who brought me back into that light. 
    S: Being from Chicago you seem to be very involved in many communities, in particular the gentrification of Pilsen. Can you tell us why you are so passionate about Pilsen in particular? Any advice you can give someone looking to move to the neighborhood?
    AH: It is true! I guess to clarify I’m not really in the position to be directly involved in the issues of gentrification because for one, I don’t live in Pilsen anymore. I was raised there and a lot of my Mexican identity is rooted in Pilsen. I think it’s important for people to consider where they live and why they choose to live there. It’s just a shame to see some of the best people I know be displaced by first wave gentrify-ers.
    I don’t have time for those who are willfully ignorant of issues of displacement and lack of cultural conservation.  Most of the newly available apartments there are built on the backs of Mexican immigrants and a lot of struggle, there’s no way that that can be denied. I feel like that lifespan of Pilsen was cut short, there were a lot of people who sold out and were taken advantage of for Pilsen to be where it is now (in terms of development) and the way it is being lived out by people who really can’t identify with living through a language barrier and growing up through the Chicago public school system (to say the least). It’s boring, the art is bad, the rent is bad, and the food just sucks because the culture is fleeting/gone. Pilsen is almost unrecognizable from when I lived there 20 years ago, but unless the people who have moved there recently, or businesses, hold the alderman or developers accountable nothing will change. It’s a tricky thing, especially when there are so many people gaining money/places to live. No one wants to feel guilty and admit that there is a problem, its ridiculous. I do however applaud those who live there and openly talk about these issues (because guilt doesn’t get anyone anywhere) its more about what you’re doing as a member of a community to support the larger picture and what you are contributing to accidently or not.

    S: Do you ever find that your voice is silenced or called upon less frequently than other around you because you are a female and a minority?
    It depends on the space, but also on my involvement in the space and whether I’m deliberately choosing to participate or not.
    S: Why are you so passionate about the city of Chicago?
    AH: I’m from here, (from from) here. Which means I was born and raised in Chicago and still am still here, luckily (and I say luckily because its real as fuck out here and some of my friends didn’t make it to their 18th birthday). So, in a lot of ways my opinions are layered and complex because of the experiences I’ve had in my home, Chicago. There’s a lot of history and meaning in where things come from and how they’ve been growing to be where they are now.

    S: Do you have any past times or hobbies you participate in to level yourself out?
    AH: I have a few things that keep me grounded, a few of them being nightlife, my boyfriend, my friends. I want to give a very special shout out to parties like queen! and TrQpiteca the spaces that those parties create for people who can feel really critical and stressed from the world is untouchable and amazing. They’re both really great places to be when your body needs some loving and to release some stress without any pressure. What great escapes those places are.
    S: What is next for you? Any new projects / collaborations?
    AH: Yes! I’m currently working for an event at the Sulzer Regional
    Branch of the Chicago Public Library to take place early next year. The event is surrounding my thesis, which was published in May. My thesis is a cultural and social history of Rainbo Roller Rink, a roller skating facility un Uptown which lasted 23 years from the early 1980’s until March of 2003. I skated there as a kid and wrote about its parallel relationship to leisurely activities and music. The interviews in my thesis date back to the 1960’s where the son of the last owner grew up working the concession stands and skate shop up until the year 2000. I also interviewed a DJ named Aaron who played music and took control of the mic from the mid 90s to the year 2000. The building that the rink was built in dated back to prohibition so there were a lot of interesting phases that took place in-between those walls over time. Rainbo was really epic, even after the building closed and was demolished there were a couple dead bodies found in the basement, it never ended. It is also really fitting for my talk and panel discussion/archiving event to take place in March because it would be the same month that the roller rink closed its doors more than ten years ago. There’s got to be some kind of haunted energy present.

    Follow Angel on Instagram.
  • Nick Matsas

    Nick Matsas

    Nick Matsas is a Chicago based photographer who's book Off Limits will be released this December.

    Sedate: When did your love for photography come to fruition? 
    Nick Matsas: When I saw a movie called Ariel by Aki Kaurismaki. While watching that movie I woke up. It got my gears moving in a more constructive manner. It also led me down a path of great films and artists that have influenced me. His movies (shot by Timo Salminen) are some of the most beautifully shot films in history. So that's what woke me up but I've been dreaming about still images ever since I was a little boy. I started taking photos with a disposable camera when I was 22 and eventually I wanted something heavier in my hands and my brother bought me a Nikonfg.

    S: Your photos are very rich in color and seem very spontaneous. What and/or who are your muses?
    NM: Ideas of paintings. Whatever excites me.

    S: Can you tell us a little bit about your book Off Limits which comes out this December? Where did the title come from and what kind of content can we expect?
    NM: I've been working on it since May of this year. The title comes from a photo I took in a Russian eastern orthodox church in the Ukrainian village of Chicago. My uncle was thrown out of the church for wearing a hat and as the priest was talking to my uncle (who was now outside) he held the door open and this beautiful beam of light came across the roped off staircase with a sign that said off limits. It's a really beautiful photograph. It looks like a painting, which is what I want all my photographs to look like.
    The content will be a year's worth of photography.  

    S: If anything, what would you like to see change in today's youth culture?
    NM: I think they should meet someone they love and have the next generation for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    S: Any fun projects/collaborations other than your book you are working on that we should expect in the future?

    NM: More photographs, more books. 

    Check out more from Nick Matsas here.
  • Heal the Heart and the Body Follows

    Foreword to "Psyche" by Liz Mputu

    When asked my thoughts on the influence of oppression on the mental well being of those most commonly victimized I immediately wanted to spew on about nutrition and how the United States government deprives us of a humane food bank system that assures our physical well being. This seemed a bit like reaching but I knew I was onto something, I just had to decide on what precisely it was that would tie these two ideas together.

    In the year of the "Oppression Olympics" it seems as though we all have our two cents on how the powers that be have stripped us of our declarative voices, but when we log in online what we see before us is a very different story. On the daily, people are going on the internet to relay their emotions hoping to be heard only because the oppressive system in which we exist has caused us to believe our perils are falling upon deaf ears and there is nothing more violent in a white patriarchal capitalistic society than silence. When countless black lives were lost this year by the brutality of police it was not the loud denial of bigots that tore souls apart but the apathetic lack of understanding that came from many of those who couldn't imagine the emotional response provoked by that kind of experience.

    Oppression boils down to a lack of resources intentionally withheld by those who would rather have us ill-equipped because if we don't even have sustainable food, it is no surprise that we lack the education and financial privileges required to fully engage in self-exploration which allows us to transcend our unique traumas and heal by way of awakening through the understanding of our personal histories. When we are a people with roots that are difficult to trace, sacrificed in place for the culture of a patronizing other. Our knowledge of self depletes and with it our spirits and sanity. This instability of not fully grasping who we are and where our salvation lies reflects back onto civilization in the form of mental and physical shortcomings as exemplified by the comical psychological disorder from the 1850s, Drapetomania-- the label used to describe a state of mind slaves held which compelled them to seek freedom.

    Oppression is the difference between going to see a trusted therapist and posting a status online because you have nowhere else to turn and although our people have flourished in devising creative solutions to compensate when we lack, we are deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if we are in need, we can provide, and if we are to live, we need not hide in the fear that comes with the shame of feeling insufficient.

    "Psyche" officially out today! Grab your copy HERE!

  • Mark Otto

    Mark Otto

    Mark Otto was born and raised in Ohio and has been interested in photography for quite some time now but he is not sure if it’s what he wants to do for the rest of his life but creative directing is his dream goal. “My inspiration comes from Fiona Apple and anyone who can dance and sweat and still maintain a chic look.”

    Sedate: As you mentioned in your bio you have been interested in photography for awhile, how did this interest start and did you ever believe it would be such a big part of your life?
    Mark Otto:  I realized that I liked photography when I was looking at the Opening Ceremony book and was gawking at the photos as my friend just saw them as cool. I feel like whatever you're excited about is something you should try. Photography just works for me and I never expected it to control my life so much. 

    S: What do you look for when shooting? Any muses or inspiration that you draw from?
    MO: My artistic process is very random. One day I could be interested in some girl standing in the street being chic or a crushed strawberry between a block of granite and pastel colors. My biggest muse is probably Chloe Sevigny or Fiona Apple. I hope to be a mix of both in some sort of way one day.

    S: You recently started and published your first issue of "Kimchi" Magazine. Can you tell us a little bit about the content of this magazine and the purpose it plays in your own art?
    MO: The first issue of Kimchi Mag was a bit of trial and error process that kind of takes after current art magazines. We wanted each issue to be 10 pages and about one person only. After the first issue came out, we decided that it was quite boring and are planning on making a 40 page, glossy as fuck glam magzine that showcases 10 artists from around the world. Should be out in November though. Also, we are working on a name change so essentially the 'next issue' is actually going to be an entirely different zine. 

    S: As an image maker what is your ultimate goal and/or dream?
    MO: My dream is to die with a Wikipedia page about how I could have been an it-girl. 

    S: Being fairly young yourself, is there any advice you would give to youth, or anything you would like to see change?
    MO: My only advice to young people is don't listen to your instructors so much and back yourself up because what you do is what you do. The youth needs to stop caring so much about looking like they don't care.

    Check out Kimchi Mag and follow Mark on Instagram.
  • Mary Lodu

    Mary Lodu

    Currently living in St. Paul, Minnesota, Mary Lodu works at the Walker Art Center and is on the board of a non profit "Altered Esthetics". When we asked Mary if there is anything specific she wanted us to include in her bio this was her response..."I'm the realist nigga alive 🙏🏿."

    Sedate: Where are you from? Where are you now where are you going?
    Mary Lodu: I’m a Kenyan-born, first generation South Sudanese American who fled to the states with my family of eight in 1995 to escape the Sudanese Civil War. I’m currently living in St. Paul while attending my last year at the University of Minnesota for Art History, but I eventually plan on relocating to the east to pursue a graduate degree in critical/curatorial studies.
    S: Talk to us about navigating the art world/academia as a black girl?
    ML: Being black and a woman whilst trying to juggle between being an artist and academic is just bound to be an isolating experience. It’s also no different from the rest of academia in how the visibility of black art historians is lacking because the field is widely dominated by white scholars even when you’re seeking out writings or studies specific to black/African cultures. One of my biggest frustrations is that all of my knowledge on black/African art history has come from self-directed research because it’s simply excluded from most curriculums, where the white, Western canon is valued above all else. So I feel like I have a responsibility to help strengthen a discourse that is centered on black artists or more specifically, black women artists because WE OUT HEA and deserve to be illuminated.
     I’m also ½ of South Sudan: Art and Visual Culture, which is an online platform/archive of curated content celebrating our country’s visual history and we’re hoping to expand it into something more concrete in the future. As far as art making goes, right now I’m really into submitting illustrations for zines because I like the notion of art as a tool for healing or resistance in communities of color. I feel like zines (whether they are distributed physically or published online/disseminated through spaces like Tumblr) provide a crucial platform for self-expression especially for black girls/woc in need of a creative outlet for dealing with the oppression and silence we face. They’re also just a relatively cheap and accessible way to get your shit out there and establish a community with other cute, dope ass creatives. I also make and sell jewelry specifically catered to black girls on my Etsy shop binia, which means girl in Juba Arabic. 

    S: As a woman of color, what can you say about the effects of oppression on mental health?
    ML: There needs to be more discussions on the psychological effects of racism because they’re so so real and the general attitude towards mental health in a lot of black communities, be it African American or Sudanese is also troubling because depression is viewed as a personal weakness for spiritual reasons, which only creates barriers to accessing proper treatment as if there aren’t enough already. Then there’s that tired ass trope of the strong black woman that feeds into our tendency to ignore our pain and minimize our needs for everyone else’s sake, so essentially, there’s no easy route to overcoming that trauma but I will say that committing to radical self-care and seeking out a safe community to heal and recover with can be beneficial. 
    S: What, if anything, would you change about today’s youth culture?
     ML: I don’t know if there is anything I would specifically change but the Internet is such a key factor in youth culture today so I’m interested in exploring research on the implications of that further. It’s difficult to make any definite assertions about this phenomenon because we’re still living in this very moment but I will say though that the Internet and social media platforms in general definitely serve as tools of empowerment for marginalized groups but they can also give the illusion of being “safe spaces.” It essentially boils down to praxis and this is something I’m guilty of as well, like how can I put theory into practice and utilize what I’ve gained from having a social media presence as a beneficial tool for the people in my? That’s just a fraction of the challenges I’m attempting to overcome but I’m still here and I’m still thriving.

    Check out the Walker Art Center and Altered Esthetics
    Photos by Alex Chapin
  • Dylan Caderao

    Dylan Caderao

    Dylan Thomas Caderao is a photographer who lives in southern Los Angeles.

    As far back as he can remember, Dylan has always been most afraid of impermanence. Obsessed with order and chaos and life and death. Art, for Dylan, is his own selfish way of making sure nothing dies. Of making sure he never dies. By taking something that made him feel and freezing it that way forever, so he can hide it under his bed and come back to it whenever he feels like he doesn't exist.

    Sedate: You seem to get a lot of love on tumblr. Is this the audience you keep in mind when shooting?
    Dylan Caderao: I don’t know. The only audience is the one in my head. I do this for selfish reasons but we all crave some kind of validation so I’ve always posted my art on the internet ever since I was a kid on MySpace or in my AIM buddy profile. It just made sense, you know. I’ve been posting on tumblr for quite a few years now and not until maybe the last one to two years have I ever really received any sort of semi notable attention. Sure I have a few posts that have thousands of notes but for every 10,000 notes I MAYBE get one or two followers out of it. The internet and the whole world are filled with a lot of mindless ‘re-blogging’ so to speak.

    S: What do you look for when taking photos?
    DC: Ahh such a difficult question to answer but I'll say complex moments/subjects I couldn't explain or portray artistically in any other way but as they really are, from my perspective through a viewfinder. 

    S: What cameras and/or format to you prefer to shoot with?
    DC: Film is everything. I shoot 35mm because it’s the most accessible and its what I grew up with. It’s a nostalgia thing. Film photos look like my memories. There’s a truth to them that digital photos don’t tell.
    I use an assorted collection of old point and shoots I’ve thrifted over the years, but mostly a Canon Sureshot 120 classic, an old Canon Rebel my dad handed down to me, a super old Argus c3, and Fuji Instax for fun.

    S: How did you get into photography, and is it something you can see yourself engaging in the rest of your life?
    DC: My father is a photographer. He first put his camera in my hands in first grade. I always entered into the yearly art competitions at my elementary school, and since my dad was a photographer who had access to a dark room to do his own prints, I naturally always went with that medium. 
    As cliché as it is, photography and my art is so much a part of who I am as a person that its not even something I consider a hobby or activity I enjoy taking part in necessarily. It’s my nervous tick. Something I’ve always done and will continue to do.

    S: What would you like to see change in today's youth culture?
    DC: I am no spokesperson for the youth culture and I’m in no position to tell it to change because the youth culture IS change. It will always be out with the old and in with the new so long as the new reject the old and the old die. 

    S: Any advice you would give to young film photographers?
    DC: Do not ever under any circumstances ever leave your house ever without a camera ever.

    Check out more of Dylan's work here.
  • Zackary Drucker

    Zackary Drucker

    The disciple of a silenced, ghettoized community, Zackary Drucker, a young transgender artist/performer from Los Angeles, uses a range of creative devices that all strive towards the portrayal of bodily identity, her own and that of others, obsessively infusing visual media—photographs, videos and performance art—with acute, masochistic emotional compulsions. Conceiving, discovering, and manifesting herself as “a woman in the wrong world”, her work is rooted in cultivating and investigating under-recognized aspects of transgender history, locating herself in that history, and communicating her contemporary experience of gender and sexuality. Drawing from feminist and queer theoretical discourse, Drucker addresses sexual exploitation, transgender representation, and drag performance in order to explore relationships that facilitate queer/countercultural lineage. With self-awareness and agency, her work reinvents and redistributes relationships of spectacle-spectator, dominator-subjugated, and the domesticated-exoticized. She notes: “My work provides a place to construct myself. I revisit erased histories, perform and inhabit multiple roles and narratives, and document moments of, and in between, gender scripting a narrative that is inherently self- reflexive as it is constructed, deconstructed and experienced. 

    Sedate: Where are you from? Where are you now? And where are you going?
    Zackary Drucker: I am from Syracuse, NY. That’s where I grew up and then I lived in Brooklyn for a few years after that. I’ve been in Los Angeles for the past ten years. I moved here to go to CalArts for my MFA and I am going into the future.
    S:What did you study for your MFA?
    ZD: I studied Photo Media as part of the Art Program. Photography was kind of where I started making art in high school and at CalArts I started to branch out into more video, performance, and installation.

    S: What are you working on right now and what is the concept or message?
    ZD:You know, I’ve worked in many different mediums and I think that the idea or the conceptual foundation usually dictates what medium or the form that it will take. I’ve been working on an AmazonTV show called Transparent for the past year and a half. I started working on that as a consultant when the pilot was being developed and when it became a series I was moved to Associate Producer and now with its second season I am co-Producer. Season Two is underway now. Another project in progress is the Flawless Sabrina Archive. Flawless Sabrina is my mentor, best friend, muse, and collaborator. She’s an elderly drag queen and I met her when I was 18 years old. Pretty recently we decided to start documenting her oral history. From there, we decided to create an archive around her life work. She’s had a really interesting trajectory and been connected to a lot of really influential people, such as William S. Burroughs, Truman Capote, Andy Warhol, Jackie Kennedy (haha)…Diane Arbus - a lot of unexpected connections and friendships. She ran drag contest that started in 1959 and ran up until 1969. She did them all over the place - it was sort of a touring show. She had this really national overview of what was happening in pre-Stonewall America, especially concerning gender nonconformity or gender subversion. We’re developing a book proposal and we’re currently working with an interested publisher. On top of that I am finishing an experimental short film that I made two summers ago, I’m working with the sound designer editing now. I am also shooting a new film a week from today (3/28) called Southern for Pussy that I wrote and will be performing with my mother. I always have a few pots on the stove, per se.
    I shouldn’t mention it yet because its not for sure…but I’m writing this piece for an academic journal about feminism, and jewish identity. I’m coming out as a jew. I was raised jewish, and it’s funny I just realized somewhat recently that I’ve never included that in discussions around my work even though it is a really big part of my cultural identity and my heritage, so I’ve been trying to examine that a little bit more. I think the older we get the more distance we have from our point of origin. I think it’s an interesting thing to evaluate. I think that around transgender identity theres this omission of intersectionality which is so much a part of other discussions around identity but with trans people its so fresh that we haven’t gotten past the basics.

    S: Where does this affinity for gender fluidity come from and where do you hope to take it?
    ZD: My hope is to take it into the future so that the conversation changes, which it does, rapidly, all the time. The thing that’s so amazing about being a human is how transformable we are and how we transform as a collective force as well. I think “Why now?” is a good question. Trans people have always been around and there has always been representations of us in the media and pop culture - its just usually derisive. My earliest perceptions of trans people were  television talk shows in the 1990s or in films like Silence of the Lambs or Psycho, hahah. I think it’s cool to be a part of a new wave of representation and I don’t treat it lightly. The gender binary is a very antiquated model that hasn’t been revised for some reason…at least not yet. I think that the natural progression of gender equality, of feminism…its like watching a black & white television rather than the full color 3D HD virtual reality that we’re sort of on the cusp of. Our bodies are really transformable right now in terms of the options that we have. I mean, the cosmetic surgery industry is the fastest growing economy worldwide. I think that we will exist in this very hybridized future where maybe our consciousness is sometimes in our bodies, but sometimes it’s in a virtual world. We’ll be left tied to our biology. I think trans people in a lot of ways represent this larger shift we are all experiencing culturally…mostly because it’s just more visible in our bodies.

    S: Why are some people rather than other so quick to dismiss anything that doesn’t fit within the standard heteronormative gender binary?
    I mean I think it threatens the status quo. I think that all of the power structures that are present within our society and our social order are also present in the art world. The best of 2014 in ARTFORUM didn’t even have one mention of the transgender community. There was no gender variance represented, the word transgender wasn’t even uttered, despite the fact that it was a landmark year for trans culture and there are more transgender people making art than ever before and I thought that omission was very vindictive of the conservatism and homogeneity in the art world. I wasn’t surprised, but definitely disappointed. I think that artists will have an expanded role in our future society.

    S: What has been the most challenging aspect as an artist thus far?
    ZD: Really just the postgrad hump. Getting out of institution can be a rough landing sometimes, and I don’t think theres any way to prepare for the harsh reality of being a working artist in an economy that doesn’t value art, especially ephemeral art forms like video or performance. Even photography is this tiny sliver of the art economy. The vast majority of work that’s circulating and sort of rarified is painting and some sculpture, I guess. But the people who are really benefitting from that bubble are very few and far between.
    I think that the imperative of art making is that it represents what's coming next or what we can only see on the horizon. Art history is marked by people who are thinking outside of the parameters that they are given. That’s what separates an artist from being relevant today from being relevant forever.

    S: What would you like to see change in todays youth and what are you doing to change that?
    ZD: I think that the message given to the youth of today is a lot different than the message I was given, which was “you can be anything that you want and you can do anything that you can manifest.” That was also the message I was given from my family which was obviously helpful, but I think the message young people get today is that the numbers are stacked against them and that more than likely they are going to fail. I was talking to Flawless the other day about the Great Depression and FDR saying “there is nothing to fear but fear itself” and the idea that our president or none of our world leaders right would ever say that because there’s so much fear mongering happening now, but with that I think we do manifest our own reality. We certainly manifest our psychological reality and our internal reality and I think that all of those internal mechanisms affect how we treat each other. I think we are a part of a generation that will see more population growth than any other generation on earth. Who knows maybe we’ll colonize space and that’ll be a whole other story…then we’ll be everywhere hahah. But I do take being a role model very seriously especially for young trans people where it can feel like a really scary world to come into, trans people are much more likely to attempt or commit suicide, to be victims of violence, and I would really like to instill a sense of hope and possibility for generations to come.

    Interview was orignally conducted for Issue 002 "Opaque" in print.