Exploiting Self for Subscriptions
experimenting with radical autonomy so I can continue providing mutual care and aid
I’m launching a paid subscription model in January 2021 as an autonomous exploitation of self. It is radical.
I worked as a gogo dancer and a stripper in my 20s with queer and trans folx. I worked washing dishes and making coffee alongside undocumented immigrants in my 30s and 40s. Woven throughout all of this is a career working in non-profits in youth media, education, worker organizing, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. I have never felt more exploited than when I’ve worked for non-profits.
My art / be-ing in all of its forms is a critique of capitalism.
Through this particular platform, I am finding ways to create some distinctions in my art / be-ing that help me align my values to my value.
All of my memoir, educational, and political art and writing will remain free.
For five incredible years, I have had a single client that’s enabled me to volunteer for a lot of incredible art and healing projects. That client isn’t a guarantee for 2021. (Well, it was never really guaranteed.) This shift is opening up magnificent dreams and desires, even in the midst of great chaos and uncertainty.
I dream of an intimate, trusted community of anti-racists, anti-fascists, and anti-capitalists providing mutual care and aid to their comrades and neighbors in communities across all lands.
And I desire to find ways to monetize some of my art so that I can provide that mutual care and aid to the comrades and neighbors in / to / for / with my communities of Black folx, Indigenous folx, disabled folx, queer folx, trans folx, gender-nonconforming folx, displaced folx, unhoused folx, poor folx, rural folx, and migrant folx. I can only provide care if I can pay rent. Gratefully, I am in a rent-controlled unit, and I don’t need a lot.
Moving my aesthetic-focused work into a paid subscription model feels the most aligned to my anti-capitalist value(s) within the capitalist context of publishing.
As noted above, my memoir, educational, and political art and writing will always remain free. It is crucial to me that things that further our be-ing always remain free and public and shareable. I have found myself too often asked to privatize intellectual property that is not solely mine.
Memoir, education, and politics are never individual. They are collective.
While my aesthetic-focused work has a politics, it isn’t created from the political. It’s created because I find it beautiful, pleasing, discomfiting, or disorienting. It almost always includes my body in some concrete way. Photography is an extension of my eye; portraiture is literally my self.
The paid subscription model will launch at $6.12 per month.
Why that amount? Well, that’s my birthdate, and what I’ll be sharing will be weird, distorted, depressed, humorous, incite-full, anxious art portraits of all of my selves and peeks into what I see (aka photos). Basically, the more aesthetic-focused side of my work will become paid.
I want to acknowledge that I know we are all stretched beyond our capacity financially.
I do not desire to create barriers to my content. I create because I be. Art is breath. So I will also gift paid memberships to anyone who requests it. Just send me an email to subscription [at] queerlycomplex [dot] com, and I will gift you a subscription at launch.
We are a strong, connected community of comrades and neighbors supporting each other in mutual care and aid.
I am incredibly grateful to all of you readers. I know what I publish isn’t always the easiest to consume. That’s intentional. The fact that y’all are still here, reading, subscribing, be-ing amidst all of this uncertainty and unknown amazes and inspires me.
I feel privileged to call you comrade and neighbor.
In camaraderie + solidarity + artistry + love,
NYFA Immigrant Artist Virtual Art Salon - December 2, 2020 @ 1pm PT
I'm producing a Virtual Art Salon with Rupy C. Tut and the New York Foundation for the Arts on Wednesday, December 2 from 1pm to 3pm PT / 4pm to 6pm ET featuring six new works byimmigrant artists in New York, San Antonio, San Francisco, and New Jersey.
Artists will present things like an art talk on autonomy, an installation taking you to space, an interdisciplinary performance reimagining a mothers mundane tasks, multimedia meditations on nature and movement, a video reflecting water as an immigrant, and a performance on the boundaries of gender. Then, they will ask a question of their peers and get two responses. It's a unique look into the creative process even as we are called into greater distance.
You can tune in via Zoom webinar for FREE at any point during the Virtual Art Salon. All you have to do is register via Eventbrite, and we'll send you the link. I'd love to have you in the audience to see all of the incredible art!
Image description: An illustrated self portrait of me crying with my hand over my face. The background is a dark olive color. Shadow and light are in shades of lavender. This is a sample of the kind of content that will be available through the paid subscription model launching January 2021.