Pride Month Spotlight: Keraclay
Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community means having a space to fully navigate the different parts of my identity without judgement. As a queer ceramic artist and a person of color, my identity is often divided into multiple facets while in different social groups when dealing with the reality of homophobia. The LGBTQIA+ community allows me to connect with others who likewise have their own spectrum of identities, creating a safe space to exist comfortably.
It also means being eternally grateful for the people who came before us, those who sacrificed and protested for our rights in society in order for our community to be out and proud. Over time, I’ve learned how to live boldly and loudly as a queer person. As an openly queer artist, I can see the influences of the LGBTQIA+ community showing up in my creative projects. I’m able to exist as one person with an all-encompassing identity, allowing me to tap into a higher flow of energy and ideas, and I’m able to practice awareness and authenticity when I share my work. Being aware that I am a representative of the queer community in other spaces inspires me to be brave and unapologetically myself in the hopes that I can distribute that energy to others.
I try my best to push boundaries in my work, either in a particular piece or overall in my practice. There’s a lot of marginalization based on race, gender, and sexuality outside of the community that sometimes hinders my ability to fully express myself. But within our loving community, I'm reminded to be mindfully free, with full acceptance of my identity, letting the ritual of self-love ground me to the present version of myself. This inspires new ideas in my work which give me the confidence to remain curious and daring in my craft. There's an overall essence of belonging in the LGBTQIA+ community that empowers me to practice several forms of self-expression and share myself and my art publicly.
To celebrate Pride Month, I’ve committed to learning more about the history and the icons who’ve transformed the queer community. I think it’s extremely important to continuously educate myself on the major turning points in queer history. I also hope to participate in plentiful queer events this month since the pandemic didn’t allow for us to celebrate last year.
There are so many artists that I admire and look up to. From writers like Susan Sontag, Maggie Nelson and Virginia Woolf to painter Frida Kahlo, all who have taught me to challenge boundaries while being fully expressive. Some elements of their style inspire my process and how I execute a piece. Letting those who have come before me guide me today is essential in my practice and in reminding me to be explorative.