• Ibrahinn


    Ibrahinn is a second generation Pakistani-Indian American residing in the Chicagoland area. He is a candidate for Earth & Environmental Sciences and Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    Sedate: You're fairly new to photography, what made you want to become a photographer?
    Ibrahinn: Don't know if I can call myself a photographer, but I 'seriously' started messing with it during my first year of college. When staying in Pilsen, photos were just a want for me to de-stress from a lackluster inner-city public university education. I took up a black and white processing class this past spring for added control in the process. To keep things real, I'm tired of the whole film photography process. It took me ten weeks (30 hours) to pump out about 30 quality prints that I could truly rock with. I am hungry for chiller creative endeavors besides photography.
    S: What do you look for when you shoot?
    I: Generally, I'll just shoot whatever. I don't know if I could lock myself into 'street' or 'travel' photography, because then that's just limiting me. Let's call it booku vernacular photography. Creating photos while maintaining an honest level of authenticity in my every day experiences is what my work strives for. To be blunt, I don't like taking pictures of Chicago. For me, taking pictures of 'home' isn't as inspiring as being flopped into a new area. Traveling is probably the only reason for me to bring out my SLR film set-up. There is something to be said about the profound benefits of traveling alone in comparison to traveling with the homies. When you're with more than two people, you can hinder or even have conflicting plans/goals/ideas in new surroundings. Usually my photos can come out hella bunk or mad crisp. My objective is to share where I once stood without exaggeration or sugarcoating a location. Being a twenty year old, my memory could be plateuing, which makes me want to attempt to constantly document all the good times.
    S: As a person of color, what kind of struggles did you face growing up in a predominately white society?
    I: As an Asian American male, the need for me to come up is crucial, where buying into that model minority rhetoric does not fly with me. White man runs it. Period. We - Sedate and Ibrahim - previously chatted about how dominant culture is so engrained in America that we won't even know the effect of a switch up in demographics. If you have white privilege, use that to help PoC amplify their voices. Don't talk over the disenfranchised; instead provide a way to help. The other day, my half white friend told me Asians are fairly/positively represented in America then preceded to call me privileged. There are a lot of implications with that last statement, but we need to step outside of the matrix. Look at how Asian people are represented in mainstream media. Not well. I'm tired of white opinion. They play too much. The fatigue associated with the microagressions, devaluations, oppression exhibited towards PoC is far too heavy for anyone to bare/bare alone. White fragility may very well be a sound theory. I helped a friend with an audio recording for her book titled "What it means to be an Asian American in three words" to which I said "Real, Confusing, and Flex". A cool old man once said something like "Where there is one there is a majority of one". Grapple with for a second.
    S: What would you like to see change in today's youth?
    I: Youth today is completely different ball game in which my experience is limited (see: beat teenage pregnancy). When I was thirteen, I wasn't on a kik getting nudes or Facebook; I was on Xanga or making a comical away message on AIM about going AFK. Today's youth needs to be better communicators and stay off of their phones. I hypothesize that when we're in out thirties; the twenty year olds coming up will be lamer than us. These kids have access to some of the best tech ever and they're slipping up. The youth isn't even to blame; their parents don't know how powerful and dangerous the internet can be for a growing mind. The parents need to channel or tunnel that curiosity positively.
    S: What's up next for Ibrahim in photography? Where should we look for you?
    I: My future is up in the air right now. I'm looking for a part time job in the evenings to help supplement my day job, so that I can stay in the Chicago area again for my fourth (hopefully last) year of college. College sucks. Photography will remain a hobby to me; maybe increase my repertoire of other mediums. Observing the entity that we call social media, I have peeped people using pictures as a way to stunt/show off to somehow prove that their life poops on yours. Those people are the wackest that I cut off instantly. Social media turns honest instances of creativity into a game of (weak) sultry selfies and filtered flaughing. In contrast, PoC use social media as a way to stick together and strengthen their voices. If you need me, you can find me scheming with my head in the books at the library.  

    Follow Ibrahinn on Tumblr
  • Marcus McGee

    Dispatch from the Global Streets: Queerness, Power and Sex in Juchitán de Zaragoza 

    I’m sitting on the side of the street smoking shitty Marlboros (the tobacco was too dry) and drinking mescal out of an Aquafina bottle.  The liquid running into the gutter at my feet smells like chicken blood and gasoline, and there’s this shirtless guy— his name is Pocho, he’s probably in his early 20s—kissing my neck and telling me about how he’s really not that drunk (he’s trashed) in a thick Zapotec accent. A shoplifter is getting the shit kicked out of him in an alleyway off of the open air market down the street.

    Sitting with us are a brother and sister from Mexico City. They got robbed at the bus station on their way to Chiapas so they’ve decided to stay in town while they look for new papers. The older women at the market have been giving them some leftover fruits and tortillas, which they’ve been sharing with us for the past hour or so. The small store across the street starts to blast upbeat techno music mixed with salsa as young women in tube tops, 4 -inch heels, red lipstick and impossibly tight white jeans strut out holding signs that read “sale”. A little girl in a soiled huipil is trying to sell us some gum and loose cigarettes.

    This is Juchitán de Zaragoza, a small city in Southern Oaxaca, generally known as two things by outsiders: the rebellious cradle of indigenous Zapotec culture (to the political types), or a “queer paradise”, home of the muxe (to white gay tourists and some of the more internationally-minded queers). The muxe are members of the Zapotec community, gendered as male at birth, who are typically portrayed as wearing colorful women’s dresses, full faces of makeup, Zapotec braids and as dedicating themselves to traditionally feminine lines of work like artisanal crafts, the market, and (more recently) sex work.

    Some people consider them drag queens, some characterize them as trans women. Others think of muxe people as an authentic indigenous expression of gender that somehow survived European colonization unscathed (the reader should note that the word muxe is a Zapotec derivation of the Spanish word for “woman”). In other words, they are seen as living anthropological artifacts, born out of that pre-colonial nostalgia that online activists and 19th century social scientists alike know so well. From the conversations I’ve had, muxe people seem to care little for the various gender rationalizations that curious gay white men (and whoever else constitutes the readership of The Advocate) impose on them.

    For the past few years Juchitán’s muxe community has been in the partial spotlight among documentarians, journalists, and anthropologists (including myself). There are two lines of thinking when it comes to characterizing this place as a queer paradise. First, muxe people are usually able to walk freely in the streets without worrying about the beatings or verbal abuse a trans woman in Mexico City or Guadalajara might experience. Their presence is considered a normality in the public sphere and—as opposed to the common perception in the US and other parts of México that queer folks are ‘unnatural’ or a cultural aberration—the existence of the muxe community is seen as a traditional (even folkloric) phenomenon.

    There’s a common saying in the region that Zapotec mothers are happy when a muxe child is born, since it means that someone will be around to take care of them in their old age. You wouldn’t guess this from the numerous muxe teenagers that are thrown out of their homes when they get caught copping a feel in the middle school bathroom  (but the residents of neighboring towns and cities are more than happy to tell tourists the story anyways).

    The second reason Juchitán is considered a queer paradise is for the sex. While the first reason can be boiled down to some superficial ethnographic observation occasionally mixed with folkloric nostalgia, the second is a bit more interesting. It’s true that in Juchitán sexual identity and play don’t seem to follow the same rules that we see in stateside, particularly Chicago where I have grown up and spent most of my life as a non-binary person. Until a perhaps a decade or two ago, the word “gay” was seldom uttered by the residents of Juchitán.

    Sexual identity in Juchitán is based on the role one takes in sex, dividing the population into two umbrella categories: those who get fucked and those who do the fucking. The signifiers of gay male sexual identity in Chicago –specifically the most visible kind, the chiseled white faces and ken-doll bodies that we plaster all over pride parade event cards and Budweiser ads on Logo—tend find their base less on a concrete and singular sex act and more on the neighborhoods we live in, the clothes we buy, the apps we use on our phones, the bars we go to and the friends we have. Gay male sexuality can encapsulate multiple roles, and infinite subgenres (bottom, top, verse, bear, otter, twink, queen etc.), and the thing that separates gayness from the straight boys isn’t who puts the dick where, but who bears the signifier and performs the lifestyle. An interesting byproduct of this social relation is the peculiar fetishizing of masculinity that we see in gay culture—this self-loathing urge to uncritically emulate the masculine (masc4masc, anyone?) and the consummate instability of femme identity.

    According to the logic of the second line of reasoning, in Juchitán there exists the category of man (i.e. he who penetrates) and of not-man (i.e. whomever is penetrated). Whereas in Chicago a straight boy can only diminish his signified masculinity and open his identity to questioning by fucking a queer, in Juchitán his masculinity only grows, and this is something that can be proudly displayed as a notch on his belt. In this sense muxe identity represents to the more analytically-minded a bedrock of femme stability that can’t be found elsewhere. To the str8-chasers among us (who are perhaps yet another version of, or the counterpart to, the masculine fetishist), role-based sexuality in Juchitán represents a free for all buffet of straight dick—offering a perceived sexual freedom (or mimicry of heteronormative public sexual expression) that can’t be attained in that Irish pub in Wrigleyville.

    I can attest to this. A femme person (muxe or not) that visits Juchitán and likes to take dick (read: me) can pretty much fuck any guy that they want. A muxe person living in Juchitán, however, also suffers a disproportionate likelihood of being beaten, abused, or murdered by their partner, high rates of sexual assault, and an uncomfortably high likelihood of being infected with HIV—in other words similar threats that many women of color face in Mexico and the United States. The muxe community, like many of their rural sisters, have been forced to migrate to Mexico City, among other places, where their only option to make a living (outside of the bleak maquilas and sweat shops) continues to be sex work.

    I can’t speak for the muxe community when it comes to the subjective experience of this kind of structural violence—the most I can provide is semi-empirical observation. What interests me is the white queer community’s disparate perceptions of these subjective experiences. On the one hand we have the fantasy of muxe selfhood: the fantasy of a stable femme identity (and what’s more stable that something folkloric, something artifactual, something that supposedly plays no role in modernity?), which is tied to the ability to express sexuality publically and normatively. On the other hand we have structural violence.

    One can’t just desire the stable sexual identity; the whole package is a stable sexuality identity that comes with an equally stable structure of violence. My instinct is that whiteness has an active interest in perpetuating this violence, that fetishistic desire is an indirect mechanism through which racialized, gendered violence is reified. Let’s say it bluntly and a bit less precisely: there’s a bunch of white queer guys making media essentially about how want to be women of color but paradoxically this fantasy is implicitly tied to their desire to see women of color suffer.

    Why is that? It seems like a pretty earnest desire for a certain kind of sexual freedom—certainly not an explicit impulse towards violence. This is the kind of desire that is molded by white queer people’s own experiences of violence. Yet it seems that racialized and gendered realities go ‘behind’ earnest desire’s ‘back’. A particularly interesting project reveals itself in this line of questioning: how do we go about making a truly liberatory queer paradise?

    Photos by Ideal School

  • Bex Griffin

    Bex Griffin

    Bex is an artist who specializes in photography and video work. She is currently living in between Tulum, Mexico and Los Angeles.

    Sedate: Photographers seem to find inspiration from all over the place. Who and/or what is your muse?
    Bex: I definitely have a lot of muses but my favorite is the human body. I love the complexity of girlhood and coming of age as well. Teenagers are filled with so much rage and mystery trying to figure out the world and how they fit into it. It’s beautiful to watch them grow and figure things out.

    S: Location seems to play a big role in your work. What is your ideal set?
    B: My ideal set is anywhere not in a studio! In the street, in the jungle, anywhere that isn’t a white box. It’s more about the relationship between the subject and the environment. Light and the movement are important too. Of course a beach with sand made of diamonds and purple waves would be pretty sick.

    S: Can you discuss some challenges you have faced as a female creative, and how those have changed you for better or worse.
    B: I’m a young girl, I don’t get taken seriously most of the time when it comes to my photography. It’s like I constantly have to prove myself. I have a lot of male photographers who find out what I do and then start quizzing me about ISO and equipment. Testing me to see if I actually know how to work a camera. Because of technology now there are so many more photographers, including women. A good amount of them don’t know how to work their camera manually. I do find some of those people frustrating. However, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve studied or what you shoot with. The work should speak for itself. Lately I’ve had a lot of friends say, “You should meet my friend ________, and he’s a professional.” I respond, “And I am not?” I suppose it drives me to work harder to prove them wrong.

    S: What would you like to see change in today's youth culture?
    B: I would love to see all discrimination, sexism and racism disappear for good.
    S: Any special things we should look forward to from you?
    B: I’m working on my first short film. It’s still in the first production stages, but I have high hopes for it. I did a lot of psychedelics one night and filmed a group of friends at sunrise overlooking the ocean. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever captured!!!! Sadly one of the girls erased it all because she’s a pretty famous model/actor and didn’t want anything with her face (and drugs) in it. :’( …..Anyways it gave me the idea for this film. I don’t want to say too much about it, but the way I’m going to shoot it hasn’t been done before. It’s going to be really up close and personal.

    Check out more of Bex work!


  • Operation Nemesis

    Operation Nemesis

    Operation Nemesis: A Story of Genocide and Revenge 

    Based on the true story of a man who avenged a nation. Before Adolf Hitler, there was Talaat Pasha, leader of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1915 Talaat ordered the mass execution of every Armenian within his nations borders, resulting in the death of over 1,500,000 victims. This is the story of Tehliria, the Armenian survivor who killed him on the streets of Berlin... and walked away from the court a free man. Honoring the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

    Over three millions Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Coptics and other Christian minorities were killed by the Ottoman Turkish Government from 1915 to 1923 in what was a diabolical plan of mass extermination by the Ottoman state against its largely defenseless minority civilian population. Women and children were not spared by the Turks in their murderous campaign of annihilation. Newspaper accounts of the atrocities committed by the Turkish government against the Armenians were a daily occurrence. The New York Times alone ran several dozen stories of these mass murders. The United States Ambassador to Ottoman Turkey, Henry Morgenthau Sr. wrote in his memoirs: "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were merely giving the death warrant to the whole race: they understood this well and in their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal the fact."

    Why does it matter today? 

    While the Armenian Genocide began 100 years ago in April of 1915 it continues to this day as the Republic of Turkey has never acknowledged its crimes against humanity. Even worse, the Republic of Turkey openly denies the Armenian Genocide. In 2004 the Turkish Government passed a law criminalizing discussion of the Armenian Genocide because it would insult Turkishness. Unlike Germany who openly laments her history of Nazism and the Holocaust, the Republic of Turkey remains childishly defiant in denying its crimes against humanity. The Turkish Government exerts substantial diplomatic pressure on foreign governments to its revisionist history propaganda. The term Genocide which literally translates to People-Race-Killing was coined by Polish Jewish attorney Raphael Lemkin in 1943 specifically citing what happened to the Armenians as the very definition of the word. Surprisingly the Turkish Government has Argued that since the word has not been invented, you can no call what happened "genocide". In 1948 the United Nations adopted the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide with major contribution from Lemkin. 

    Today over twenty nations including Canada, Argentina, France and Russia officially recognize the Armenian Genocide as do over 40 US states. Recently, Pope Francis called it the first genocide of the 20th century adding "The gravest crime of Ottoman Turkey against the Armenian people and the entire humanity." The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said "The expressions of Pope Francis are absolutely unacceptable." Unlike the Holocaust there were no Nuremberg Trials to hold the Turkish state and those responsible and to make restitution for crimes against humanity. Instead of reparations and seeking forgiveness, the Turkish Government has maintained an economic and military blockade on its border with Armenia for the past 25 years. Dr. Gregory Stanton, Research Professor in Genocide Studies at George Mason University, has defined Denial as the final stage of Genocide. In this way, modern Turkey is perpetuating its crime of genocide today.

    The Creators: 

    Josh Blaylock (Author):

    Josh Blaylock is the author of many comics including Mercy Sparx, G.I. Joe Voltron, G.I. Joe vs. Transformers, Kore, Misplaced, Penguin Bros, WarStone and the quintessential How to Self-Publish Comics: Not just Create Them. He's the founder of Devil's Due, which shook up the comic book publishing landscape in the early 2000's and brought licensing of retro pop culture properties to the forefront. Today Josh embrace the evolution of publishing by nurturing and consulting new talent through a combination of crowdfunding, traditional publishing and navigating the landscape of comic-cons. He can be found signing books, sketching for fans, speaking on self publishing at comic shops and conventions across the country. Josh currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Mayra, and his four legged furry white step-son, Kobe the Luck Dragon.

    Hoyt Silva (Artist):

    Hoyt Silva was born in 1987 in New York City. Astoria, Queens to be exact. Since then Hoyt's life and career path have taken him all over the United States from Pennsylvania, Florida, California, and to his current residence in Atlanta, Georgia.

    After meeting his mentor, teacher, and close friend Brian Stelfreeze, in 2011 at a convention in San Francisco, Hoyt has continued to grow and evolve bringing new innovation and dramatic storytelling to the comics medium. Using a unique style influenced by the likes of Stelfreeze, Rob Hanes, and Mike Mignola to name a few, Hoyt has crafted something very much his own and he's always looking forward to whatever sprouts up next.

    Greg and Fake Studio (Colorist):

    Greg + Fake are comic book artists and colorists currently based in Chicago. They have colored projects for Devils Due, Image, IDW, and Bogus Books. You can also check out their own comic book property American Nature that is published via Bogus Books.

    "Greg + Fake not only color comics, but make art that says a lot about the fast paced social media society we live in and almost use their art to make a mockery out of the new millennial obsession with the talentless celebrities and bullshit trends that are being fed to us through the internet while making money off these millennials via art sales. From a fine art and semiotics perspective, their work has so much information in it and records so much about societies attitueds" - Kit Caoagas

    Published by: Devils Due Entertainment

    Purchase Operation Nemesis here.

  • Cae Monãe

    Cae Monãe

    she is everything.

    Sedate:  You have so many incredible looks!! Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration you like to find/have before going into full makeup?
    Cae Monae: It usually starts with an initial desire to paint my face. After that, it comes down to seeing a color that catches my eye, something around the house, or patterns in a book. Sometimes it's an aspect of culture or event in history. (Sex and passion can be large motivators as well.) A desired reaction can also be a source— whether that reactions comes from a specific person or myself.
    S: A lot of your looks tend to stray away from "traditional" beauty ideals which we really admire, how do you feel about the standards of beauty set by society?
    CM: I feel as though beauty standards are extremely important in today's society. Mainly because they blatantly let you know what to avoid. They truly divide the real & the gimmicks. A person cannot be defined or standardized. Women are not slaves to (white) cock. We are the Goddess Divine. A Queen does not follow a standard of beauty— she elevates it.

    S: What do you want to see change in today's youth culture?
    CM: I want to see people kiss more & grab life by its fat cock.
    S: Aside from Make Up you're also a writer, can you tell us more about your writing and what inspires it?
    CM: I am an anxiety driven writer. It's very personal and comes from my most vulnerable places of thought. There's nothing like putting thought and emotion down in words, letters, and lines. I like scribbles and sounds more than poetic storytelling and rhythm. I like things that make no logical sense on paper but when you see/hear it you feel numb.

    S: As a transgender woman living in Chicago, what do you find to be the most rewarding, and the most difficult?
    CM: It has given me a front row seat to learning about myself and the world. I can read people like books and I have an extraordinary grip on my emotions. I've felt the truest love that exists and have given it. With that, of course, comes loss. I've lost love and friends. I've lost family. I've been on edges of rooftops and have had a gun put to my head. However, through every experience I take another step closer to my divine destination— my paradise.

    Look out for Cae Monãe editorial feature in issue 002 of Sedate out May 15th!


  • Crystal Zapata

    Crystal Zapata

    Crystal Zapata is a designer and image-maker based in Chicago currently pursuing her BFA at Columbia College. Her work ranges from illustration to photography, and is mainly concerned with color, form, texture, and translating three dimensionality to a two-dimensional surface. She also explores ideas of feminism and stigma attached to female sexuality through her photographic works. Her favorite color is hyperlink blue and likes making bad jokes that she oftentimes laughs at, while nobody else does :)

    Sedate: You seem to have a very clean, and clear aesthetic, can you tell us a bit about where you draw your inspiration from?
    Crystal Zapata: I'm inspired by a lot of things. Elad Lassry and Maurizio Cattelan are really amazing artists and photographers whom I greatly admire; their attention to color and form combined with their humorous approach to subject matter is unmatched. I've also been looking at Jean (Hans) Arp, Artie Vierkant, Brian Kokoska, Specht Studio, Johanna Berg, EyeBodega, and Sara Andreasson. That's a pretty wide variety but I like a lot of things. Also PC Music, plastic bags, signage in Chinatown, the sky, Vivre se Vie, Django Reindhart, and maybe Clement Greenburg's essay on Modern painting. I've been told that I suck the three-dimensionality out of everything, so he and I would probably get along haha.

    S: Feminism also tends to be a consistent theme in your work. Can you discuss why this topic is so important to you?
    CZ: I think that my personal experience in this world has called a lot of attention to the difficulties in my life attributed to having a vagina. There's an enormous disconnect in our expectations of women versus the way that we're told to look at a woman. 
    I think that my wake up call was a hot day during the summer when I wore what most girls wear on a hot day -- I couldn't believe how inappropriately men were reacting to me! It makes my heart race just thinking about it. I can't leave my apartment showing skin without being cat-called within 30 seconds of being outside. I feel unsafe and vulnerable the majority of the time while I'm in public alone. That's absolutely disgusting.
    The worst part of it is that most people accept notions of rape myths and social stigma attached to female sexuality because these ideas have been so deeply institutionalized. Instead of blaming men for acting a certain way, we blame women for provoking that behavior, which is so backwards. 20th Century philosopher Luce Irigary said, “Sexual difference is probably the issue in our time which could be our 'salvation' if we thought it through.” It's important to me to help people make the realization that this is a problem that we should actively attempt to fix, or at least "make better" within ourselves. Women are so important.
    S: Your piece "You're such and ass" seemed to make its rounds (and still is) on Tumblr, did you expect this kind of reaction when you made this piece?
    CZ: Definitely not. I remember watching Californication and thinking, "Hm, I haven't illustrated anything in a while. I'm going to make this ass." So I did. David Duchovny's womanizing character was probably getting to me. Regardless,  it's a pretty accessible image, and we are living in the age of the ass... Illustrating an ass might seem contradictory to my ideas regarding feminism, but I'm a woman who made that ass. If anything it's like, look at this chick who's proud to have a booty!  I don't think I'm perpetuating anything negative. 

    S: What do you want to see change in today's youth?
    CZ: Considering the fact that "today's youth" will be running shit 25-30 years from now, I'd say a lot of things. The first thing is that kids shouldn't sit on the playground staring at iPads! Have you ever thought about how detrimental it might be for a 13 year old with 30k Instagram to have that many eyes on them? The disconnect and gap between reality and the false expectations that the internet creates will just continue to widen; that's a really unhealthy headspace to be in at such a formative age. Eye contact is important, and technology is slowly eliminating that kind of intimacy. 
    In an ideal world we would create institutions that rejected and counteracted previously institutionalized ideas and practices like racism, sexism, gender imbalance, racial imbalance, etc. Combating deep-seeded social issues is beyond difficult, so understanding that most of what you see is actually wrong and unfair, would help. Acceptance of difference is so important to understand as a child. Teachers should also really just be honest about Christopher Columbus, or just not say anything at all. I hate the fact that I grew up with that lie.

    S: Do we have any exciting projects to look forward to?
    CZ: I'm actually doing quite a lot! I've been working on creating a publication for a couple of months, which features about 18 different people: photographers, artists, writers, and designers from all over the world. I interviewed people from Australia, Sweden, Mexico, and the United States - I think that a lot of magazines lack diversity, so having a range of artists of different genders, cultural backgrounds, and disciplines was really important to me. It's been pretty crazy because I've been doing it ALONE! At this point I've probably sent about 500 emails -- half of them have read, "Can you actually send that .jpeg to me in 300 dpi?" Ha. It will be a 70 page printed publication, and not to ruin the surprise, but will include a 'connect the dots' game! I love my terrible sense of humor and the smell of ink!
    In addition to that I'm also in the very beginning stages of helping artist and photographer Tom Dryjanski design his photo book that he will be publishing later this year. I'm planning the social media rebrand of a rather large online publication which is pretty weird and exciting. I'm collaborating with a handmade agricultural fiber paper company based in Champaign and making some prints with their paper that will be in a show later this year. I've been making a lot of prints in general that I haven't really been showing people. I hope to have some time to make some photos as well. I feel like one of those waiters trying to balance four dishes on each arm; I'm trying to do a lot, so keep your eyes open :)

    Portrait by Richard Windslow

    More of Crystal's Work

  • Hidden Dog

    Hidden Dog

    Hidden Dog ( founded in 2014 is a collaborative gallery and event project aimed at bringing high quality, alternative content to the Chicago Arts community.

    Sedate: Hidden Dog seems like a name that has some meaning to it, how was it created?
    Hidden Dog: The name Hidden Dog came from a facebook group where we would post images with literal "hidden" dogs in them. We had been talking about the depth of information available on facebook and Hidden Dog, the group, would be a relief from such loaded content.
    S: How many of you are involved with Hidden Dog?
    HD:We started as Dave Bavaria, Daniel Brookman, Leander Capuozzo, and Chase Schoonmaker and while they still function as the core of HD they are often joined by Savy Dean, Alejandro Zera, and Bella Zarember.

    S: What is the aesthetic of Hidden Dog, and how does it stand out as a gallery?
    HD: The question of pinpointing a specific aesthetic can be difficult as HD has many non-visual events in addition to our gallery programming. But as far as aesthetics we are interested in bright bright colors, graphic imagery, characters and figures and fantastic environments. Hidden Dog stands out in its ability to make new connections and association out of the norm when showing work. For example in our show Fantasy Zone: K-9 Island we grouped Karolina Gnatowski, a fibers artist with Andrew Holmquist, a painter, and Sharmila Banerjee, an illustrator. Hidden Dog also stands out because of its second half- the music bookings which have included acts such as Jammin Gerald, DJ Technics, Helix, DJ Earl, Hudson Mohawke, Kelela, and Total Freedom.
    S: Tell us about your creative process. When curating a new show, how do you go about finding artists?
    HD: We often begin with long lists of names, collected from a wide variety of sources, looking for artists who can operate as the genesis for a show concept. From there we begin making associations creating an extensive network of ideas and images. From there we reduce down to small selection of artists who all contribute to the impulse that originally attracted us to the core artists. It is always important for us to find ways to involve Chicago artists in national, and international conversations.

    S: What is next for Hidden Dog?
    HD: This summer we are working on a show featuring the work of Amy Chiao, a recent RISD fibers grad who is currently at Nike in the children's apparel dept. as well as a certain Dutch electronic musician’s video work. Later in the year, the School of the Art Institute will use the gallery for some critiques under Kurt Hentschlager. Also in the works is a night of music highlighting footwork progenitors in Chicago.

    Photo From left: Chase Schoonmaker, Dave Bavaria, Leander Capuozzo, Savy Dean, Daniel Brookman, Bella Zarember, Alejandro Zera
  • Todd Diederich

    Todd Diederich

    They called me Todd Diederich and told me that I was born in my parents' bedroom in Brookfield, IL in 1982, but I'm not sure of all that. I can neither confirm nor deny those findings. What I do know is that in 2003, a wave of energy inspired me to divorce myself from the institutions that had illuminated my path since birth. With no certificate proving my knowledge to future employers, I found my biggest success on the street. The pulse I felt, the stories I heard, the parades I organized and the colors I saw of my new-fledged freedom were intoxicating. Food was shared, masses assembled and the police were always lurking. With scammed Greyhound tickets and a thumb to hitchhike as my vessel, I began to live without dead time, or "vivre sans temps mort," as the French put it.

    Earthquakes off the coasts of Japan and Sumatra in what they say is 2004 shifted the North Pole about an inch and shortened our days by microseconds. Though hard to see, the physical facade of our world has cracked open, and it is only a matter of time until our emotional and mental facades crack open as well. For so long we have been internalizing our anger and experiencing our own quiet riots, reflected in our society's high rates of obesity, depression and suicide. But, one must eventually let go of one's past, and if the timing is right, this happens collectively and the past is disposed of on the streets. Rules and laws can be creatively destroyed and abandoned.

    There seemed to be more truth to offer in a photograph when I took out the details. There was no more story line to defend. The texture and light begins to look like hope. Subjects can be seen through the eyes of change. The image can run in mass freely with others. I used to take photographs but now I let photographs take me.The camera is an ethereal compass, photography the language of spontaneity.

    In five words or less...
    1. Where are you from, where are you going? 
    Toke acid at Bulls game.
    2. Describe the message of the work your working on... 
    Am I dead? HYFR420RN4EVA.
    3. What is the first thing you see in your subjects? 
    Glitter Blossom Gasoline Rainbows auras.
    4. Define what it means to be “male” in todays society... 
    My brain is a goddess FTW&U.
    5. You seem very location based, what don’t you look for when shooting? 
    There is nothing I'll avoid.

    This interview was originally conducted for Sedate print issue 001 "The Male Gaze"

  • Liz Mputu

    Liz Mputu

    Liz Mputu is a Florida native, Chicago transplant of Congolese descent. She is currently working on her BFA in Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and prior to that at DePaul University. Her work mostly focuses on the artist's ability to grapple with sexuality, gender, the taboo and the mundane in their respective arenas filtered through the performative medium with room to explore. She hopes the findings of her investigations, as defined by the multi-dimensional and biographical pieces she creates, will be considered THOTful contributions to the archive of the human condition. 

    In five words or less...
    Sedate: Where are you from, where are you going?
    Liz Mputu: Congo, Utah, Florida, Here, Then.
    S: Describe the message of the work your working on...
    LM: Play, forgive, flex, no regrets.
    S: Define what it means to be “male” in todays society...
    LM: To be cautious and akward.
    S: How do you want people to perceive your work?
    LM: Passively, I'm like a sneeze.
    S: Who is the audience you aim to provoke?
    LM: Everyone, anyone, maybe even Kanye.

    This interview was originally conducted for Sedate print issue 001 "The Male Gaze"