December 2018 Featured Visual Artist: Raven John

This Two-spirit Trickster resides in the traditional, ancestral, unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, forcibly occupied by the City of Vancouver. Raven is a graduate from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, with a major in visual art and minor in social practice and community engagement, as well as the North West Coast Jewelry Arts program at the Native Education College.
Raven is a visual artist, cultural consultant, mediator, photographer and sculptor. A jack-of-all trades, their practice covers a wide array of mediums from stop motion animation, dressmaking, interactive electronics and indigenous technologies.

Raven John: Yoyo

Raven John: Yoyo

Guerrilla: Hooray, are we ready!? Yes, I’m glad we are here, finally! Sorry it’s taken a lot of back and forth. Hows your day been?

Raven John: No problem, it happens.
I'm ok, had a fun day at work. Though this evening I will be making photo buttons for my family. A cousin of mines remains were finally found, she had been missing for months, so that's been a bit sad and frustrating.

Guerrilla: Oh fuck… I am so sorry to hear that sounds intense as fuck.

Raven John: It's frustrating, I don't know cause yet. But indigenous women in the area, since I was a kid, have been warned to be wary of police. They were known to pick up indiginous women, rape them and leave them on the highway to find their own way home.

Guerrilla: I’ve heard a lot about indigenous women who go missing and it not being talked about at all in the media or news...its fucking tragic. I’m interested in what you have to say but I also want to respect you, your family and your time.

Raven John: I don't feel comfortable talking about her personally, especially with her services being only two days away. It is however something that has deep connections to my practice and presentation. I've been inspecting my own relationship to Visibility and how it relates to survival as an intersectional person.

Guerrilla: I totally understand. I’m so sorry to hear. My condolences to you and your family.

Raven John: I just found out on friday, and have been a bit too upset to talk about it deeper with my family. Part of being visible has always been to take up space for others. But lately I have been investigating myself and where else those feelings could be coming from. Part of me thinks it comes from Survival. I was watching "The Josephine Baker Story " because a friend of mine, Sparkle Plenty, did a burlesque performance to honour her recently. A quote from the movie really stuck out. " By the time I was 14 I realized no one hates a black girl who is cute and funny."

Guerrilla: Taking up space for others, so you mean, taking up space with and in honor of those, who can’t.

Raven John: I think subconsciously that has been a driving factor in my development. In being gregarious my presence is more likely to be missed, maybe it makes me less of a target?

“A lot if my practice revolves around identity. In my youth I struggled to find someone in media who was like me. There were no queer, femme, loud people of colour that I could relate to in what media I could access. I grew up in British Columbia's (insert colonial laugh here) Bible belt constantly bombarded with Christian and Catholic values, pro-life billboards and no "out" queer mentors.”
- Raven John


Action Figure - A closer look at the ongoing narratives of my self portrait project. My piece is an exploration of the self-portrait. The work I make holds its roots in the narcissistic artistic practice of exploring and representing self. I explore self through the visibility of my intersections, what it means to represent people of my class; fat people, ambiguously coloured people, queer people, people who identify as female. I understand my visibility is important, and as a queer native woman I don't see myself in many places. The spaces I do see myself in media are problematic or worse, unmentionable. In the making, I fashioned myself to have the qualities of an action hero figure, posable and active next to the societal images mirrored in Marvel and Detective Comics characters. This exploration of my image is a narrative of class and esteem in found objects. Second hand and thrift stores are spaces where we find pieces of ourselves and the mystery of found objects. The strength of objects found in thrift stores does not rest in their context, but in the contexts of the viewer. Objects held in esteem by people from all sects of life are marked to sell, and the meaningfulness of an object varies widely from one shopper to another.

Guerrilla: I see. Subconscious driving factors - those can be hard and super intense but almost full circle experiences when you realize them. Your art and practice, has literally become a way of survival but not in the ways that we are used to seeing or hearing right now, like commissions and interviews and shows, but literally, your visibility is your survival. that sounds really tragic, but also sickening in a way. I hope that didn’t come off as rude.

Raven John: Yeah. I know being "out" and not hiding my queerness makes space for others. Especially in the normalizing of it for future generations. But I also know as a kid I hated being mistaken for other indigenous girls. I knew their racist/othering gaze made me look like any other brown girl and I hated it. It's one of the reasons I loved dying my hair as a teen. Now, I just love to change up my looks, it's a way of connecting to my identity, of being a Transformer like my namesake. I am also an advocate for the natural hair movement, which I definitely have a chuckle about every time I do it. My hair now is dyed to look like the creeks my family swims in traditionally. Not having a vehicle means I don't get to go there and take part in my peoples spiritual and traditional practices, so I carry that water around with me in my hair.

Guerrilla: What’s your namesake?

Raven John: I was given the name Raven when I was born. Our traditional practice of name giving means that person takes on either the guidance or influence of that name. In my culture the Raven is a trickster, teacher, transformer and creator. My mischievous nature led my mother to giving me my middle name (Teresa) as a nickname when I was around 10 for a short time, in an attempt to mellow me out, hahaha, it was only mildly successful.

Guerrilla: So you have a major in Visual Art, and your minor in social practice and community engagement. What was the motive behind your major/minor choices?

Raven John: I am most interested in sculpture, I think because it covers a multitude in mediums, I've done my best to take as wide a variety of medium courses as I could. From a young age I was fascinated with making the intangible tangible, and that to me means pulling from as many medium skill sets and languages as I want. I took electronics courses, metalwork, ceramics, printmaking. Now the only thing that stops me from making what I want is time and money. My social practice and community engagement minor came out of trying to find a way to communicate in colonial+academic terms. Indigenous,queer,,disabled, and femme folk have been trying to make change in the world, make it more survivable for centuries. Using academia and colonial power structures to communicate creates space where you are more difficult to dispute. Though I still get folks trying to question my lived experiences of and the ongoing acts of racism, genocide and homophobia.

Guerrilla: That’s sickening!! When I was looking into school when I was a teen it was so hard to find a school with the "community-based arts" majors that are all over the place now. And at the end of the day, even until now i'm realizing, what i think i wanted to do was take / utilize resources and give them back to the people in anyway that I can. It’ss really cool to see that coming from someone else even tho its in a totally different way.

Raven John: Thanks, I really enjoyed my theory classes at ECU. Their sessional teachers were really great.

Raven John - Chugg(ing) - sculpture instillation 4.png

Chugg(ing) was a four day solo show at the Media Gallery at Emily Carr.  This instillation was a mash up of traditional sculpture, booze and museological archives of native culture. The floor was sticky with Pilsner and Budwieser, and the air was heavy with the smells associated with the setting.

Guerrilla: So what does a typical day in the life of Raven John look like?

Raven John: Going between my seasonal jobs and freelancing at the moment. I work hospitality at The Cultch, a theatre and playhouse, also as an assistant Chocolatier at Daniels Chocolates. I just finished a contract to make 5 hand painted and airbrushed silk dresses for the Med'Cine production for Olivia Davies. Before that I took some days off to go to Winona Minnesota to do a artists presentation for an exhibition I took part in called "They Will Show You: Two Spirit Artists" through the Winona State University.

Guerrilla: How was that show for you?

Raven John: I sent in "Two Spirit Transformation Blessing". It was my first time traveling alone, and to the states, so I was a bit nervous leading up to it. But everything went so well, and the school and students were very welcoming. It was great to connect with other two-spirit artists and wax academia and cultural theory with the professors who were visiting.


Guerrilla: I see there was a panel, and you also did an interview with KQAL 89.5FM about the show too. Visibility is a recurring theme in your practice, and you are really doing it.

Raven John: A really affirming moment was finally meeting Skeena Reece and her knowing who I was. Shes performance and interdisciplinary artist I looked up to as I studied at Emily Carr. Her work headlined the Beat Nation exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Her wide variety work and sense of humor have always been something I admired and aspired to.

Guerrilla: "Two Spirit Transformation Blessing" is a really beautiful work. Can you tell our readers more about it? What was your inspiration behind it? What does it mean to you?

Raven John: Thank you, it was made for the Unsettled exhibition. I wanted to make a representation of the intersectionalities of two spirit identity, and how they don't exist separately. The Masculine, Feminine and Variations are all intertwined.

“I grew up with both internalized racism and shame about my identity, as many indigenous cultural values and practices have suffered from colonial patriarchal values. I do my best to counter this through my costuming, fashion and portraiture in parts of my practice.“ - Raven John

Guerrilla: Tell me about the dresses you airbrushed for Med’Cine - its so unique and different in comparison to your other work that I’ve seen.

Raven John: I started making my own clothes around 5 years ago, and my own dresses caught Olivias attention. I was very excited to make some work for an intersectional group of dancers who were enacting ceremony into their performance, both maori and turtle island based movements and practices. I had dyed/printed on sill before and thought an ethereal galaxy design would suit their lighting and movement well. It was great to make something that they would put into motion and activate. I used silk paints to pattern the fabric before constructing them, and added sequins to the underskirts to play in the light as stars.

Raven John-Med'Cine Dresses-costume group photo (1).jpg

Guerrilla: Sick!!! And so cool that you are working with other indigenous folx from far away. I asked because for some reason this work stands out to me the most.

Raven John: There has been a lot of cultural and artistic exchange to New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii, I really hope I get to do more with their communities in the future. I would love to do more sculptural and instillation work, but space is so hard to come by in Vancouver.

Guerrilla: Do you have a favorite piece of art or work that you have created? I also see on your website that you offer different kinds of consultation, which i see in its own way, is its own art.

Raven John: It definitely is, I have given a lot of my time and energy freely to educating and helping others improve.  On Native Land is a favorite of mine, and I am exploring making it a more portable piece. I recently did a spoken work performance where I go the audience to either step on or touch the tiles I brought with me before I spoke of them and their significance.

Guerrilla: That’s interesting, tell me more.

Raven John: I was able to get linoleum tiles from the residential school my family attended. I ended up doing an instillation where you stood on them while watching a projected video of myself talking about what residential school are and my family's relationship to them. There was an interactive element in the first exhibition at Emily Carr, where you could print your own copy of images and phrases I had carved into the tiles in the first two rows.

Raven John - On Native Land-instillation%2Fprint.jpg
Raven John - On Native Land-instillation%2Fmultimedia .jpg

Guerrilla: For our readers who don’t know, can you talk about what Residential Schools are?

Raven John: Residential schools ran in Canada from 1880 to 1996 (they ended the year the spice girls became popular). They were church and government run institutions whose aim was to assimilate the indigenous population. The nazis studied residential schools in their research on how to deal with what the considered "undesirables". Native children were forcibly removed from reservations and put into schools far from their homes. They received a minimal education, some never learning to read or write, it was against the rules to speak your language and almost none were allowed to visit their family. The teachers, priests, nuns and those invited to the school were welcome to sexually abuse, torture and kill these children. It was illegal to keep children from residential schools, and parents were jailed for attempting to stop it or rescue them. Residential schools had a higher death rate than WW2 soldiers. There are first hand accounts of priests burning babies to death after forcing children younger than 12 to go through with the pregnancy. There were withheld accounts of priests building DIY electrocution chairs to torture the children for fun, and medical tests were done on the children as well as tests in relation to starvation of whole schools of children.

Guerrilla: There is so much realness that you bring to your work, and in that realness a lot of pain, emotions and experience - and I really respect that you are able to be so vulnerable, open and vocal about it all. It takes a certain kind of strength and courage for that.

Raven John: Thank you, survivors like my grandmother, and even mentors of mine who never attended find it too difficult to speak about it, which is completely understandable. But there has been so much willful ignorance, propaganda, and covering up of what has been done to indigenous folk, what IS being done to indigenous folk, there's no way I wont talk about it.

Guerrilla: Yessss… Where do you see yourself and your work going in the future? In 5, 10 years from now?

Raven John: I hope to do more larger scale instillation and performance work, as well as a continuation of my collaborations and contract work. My peers and mentors really inspire me and my practice and that work really opens me up to doing my own work.

Raven John - Seal Drum- painted drum (1).jpg

“Self love, queering and indigenizing spaces I occupy, and being visible are decolonial tactics of survival, not only for myself but others. Part of my practice is aiming to be famous, as even now there are few two-spirit femme folks for younger generations to look up to. Taking up space in people's hearts and minds is a way of making room for future generations, be they indigenous, femme, queer or just silly goofs like myself.”
- Raven John

Guerrilla: Who are some of your favorites artists? They can be peers and mentors too.

Raven John: James Luna, Adrian Stimpson, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Skeena Reece, Lawrence Paul, just to name a few.

Guerrilla: Ok…  I have to ask this question. I ask this in all my interviews… What is your favorite color and why?

Raven John: Teal, it's variations in tone and opacity, as well as its relationship to water give me such good feels.

Guerrilla: If you could give advice to your younger self, what would that be.

Raven John: Value yourself more. Internalized racism, sexism and homophobia wreaked havoc on my self worth for so long, and they still do, it's a daily battle to undo that work. Realizing it's all bullshit and that I hold value, beauty, and strength at a younger age would've made a world of difference.

Guerrilla: are there any upcoming projects with Raven John that we should be on the lookout for?

Raven John: I have been in the process of rehashing my On Native Land piece for public performance work, and I am always making anit-nazi buttons, patches and posters to put around the city.


Guerrilla: Id love to get my hands on some, and spread the word here in the Bay.

Raven John: I'll pull up my poster image files, as well as my button sheets. In Vancouver we have a great company, Six Cent Press that can make custom buttons very cheap, all you need is an image and you can order a bunch.

Guerrilla: Before we conclude is there anything you want the world and our readers to know ?

Raven John: Just a call to action to fight White supremacy, colonization and pipelines any way you know how, and support your local indigenous, queer and disabled community.

To see more of Raven John’s work, visit them on Instagram @twospirittrickster and on their website,

EFNIKS will continue to support queer & trans visual artists of color through monthly features and stipends to help these artists continue their works. To be considered, browse the guidelines on our Submissions Page, and reach out to our Visual Arts Editor at To donate to our volunteer-run platform that pays its contributors, please head to our support page.

October 2018 Featured Visual Artist: 3rdeyechakra

“I love the idea of black people, women especially, shown as divine beings. We don’t see a lot of both of these concepts in any art form and I mean if I personally want to see it more why not contribute and make my own?” - 3rdeyechakra

3rdeyechakra is a North Carolina based artist with a passion for all forms of art and creative expression. Their art pieces are bold, new and representative of their black queer community. Self taught in digital art programs they have explored different ways of artistic expression to push the boundaries of black and brown women in art. Through fantasy beings and sci-fi settings, their goal is to fully realize what it means to be a young black queer femme today.

3rdeyechakra-Staceys Portrait-2018.jpg

Guerrilla Davis, Visual Arts Editor:  Happy Monday! How's your day going? Whats up?

3rdeyechakra: I'm doing okay, I’ve been trying to finish all of my commissions and my personal work. im slowly spiraling but in a good way.

Guerrilla: Good Stress can be really motivating sometimes, especially on a monday haha

3rdeyechakra: Yea i just wish i had more relaxation time lol

Guerrilla: Your work is really amazing. Where do you find inspiration? Are there any values or specific experiences that inform your presentation?

3rdeyechakra: I get inspiration from everywhere really, I try not to saturate my art with like overbearing political views and such but the foundation to all of it is representation and inclusivity. Representation for the black community, more specifically dark skinned women.

Guerrilla: Your art name, 3rd_eyechakra, can you tell about that? what does it mean and how did it become ur handle?

3rdeyechakra: im super into spirituality and different religions and Ive heard the crown chakra referred to as your "third eye chakra" which sounded so amazing to me so eventually i started using that term as my handle for all my social medias.

3rdeyechakra-Iate all of my boyfriends-2018.jpg

Guerrilla: One thing i really like about your work is the representation you give to so many different shades of black and brown, different body types and sizes. artists like you are pushing the envelope, giving visibility to, and celebrating bodies that are generally ignored or negatively depicted by the media. Mad props to u!

3rdeyechakra: thank you so much! im a fat femme so i have to represent my community right

Guerrilla: You have close to 1K posts on your IG. Thats is a lot of work, I can see you are busy! Every artist works differently. Whats does your artistic process look like?

3rdeyechakra: i have i guess a vague idea for something i want to do and i search through my blog archive to solidify it  a bit more and that's when the actual work begins and i go from there

Guerrilla: What is one of your favorite pieces of work?

3rdeyechakra: Oh that list is way too long lol but i think my favorite piece I've done is "the birth and death of an angel" it something i dreamed about doing as a kid

3rdeyechakra-the birth and death of an angel-2018.jpg

Guerrilla: OMG thats sick!

3rdeyechakra: Thank you! i absolutely love renaissance art and murals i mean who doesn't? but i really love the flow it has and the drama of it all but ive never seen myself in them if that makes sense. so i guess the desire to do it built up over time to actually make my own so  tried my hand at what i think a renaissance painting would look like if it had black women in it

Guerrilla: I don't think i've ever seen a black renaissance painting. That's really dope A.F.

3rdeyechakra: thank you so much!

Guerrilla: Of all your work, which one would you say is crowd / fan favorite?

3rdeyechakra: i think it would be my mermaids and to be honest they're some of my favorite too

Guerrilla: I already asked you what type of mediums to you practice, but more specifically, what programs or tools do you use for u work?

3rdeyechakra: the ones i use the most are Cinema 4d, Photoshop cs6, Paint tool Sai and PoserPro

Guerrilla: Oh cool. Did you teach yourself?

3rdeyechakra: yes very very slowly lol but I’m not fluent in all of them i just learn as i go

Guerrilla: That's really cool. I work in digital media too, primarily in photography and graphic design. I mostly use photoshop. I never really had the chance to go to school so I am self taught as well

3rdeyechakra: yea i sort of wished i had more formal training but iive taught myself a lot so i’m happy

Guerrilla: Thats one thing about being a true creative. We'll make use of, or find a way to do what we are driven to do, with whatever resources we have. Skills can always be learned, but real creativity can’t really be "taught," IMO

3rdeyechakra-Mermaid 2-2018.jpg

Guerrilla: You mentioned before that you identify as a fat femme and that you are motivated to represent your community. What does representation mean? And why is that important to you

3rdeyechakra: Representation means showing who you are as a human and also letting anyone who looks like you know they have license to be their true full selves. I think that's extremely import because i didn't really have that growing up and i felt really alone. I worked really hard to build up my self esteem and i want anyone who felt like i did as a teen to know that its required to be happy and content with who you are

Guerrilla: Wow. That's hella real, and empowering to hear

3rdeyechakra-Poseidon is a woman-2018.jpg

“The IG account turning POC into beautiful, otherworldly beings” -Dazed

Guerrilla: What are some of your biggest challenges as a visual artist?

3rdeyechakra: my sister has always told me you have to be your own cheerleader because people can be really flakey and its important for your mental health to be happy with who you are. so my biggest challenge is myself. I have really bad anxiety so i can be really hard on myself about what i do. i want to be the best i can be but it's sort of impossible sometimes and that's okay. we can't expect ourselves to be perfect all the time so finding that balance is key.

Guerrilla: That’s real. a lot of artist i know struggle with balancing work / life / mental health stuff too. For me, creating and producing with others is one of the healthiest practices I have. What are some things you do to push through when things gets challenging?

3rdeyechakra: i have an amazing friend who grounds me when they see me struggling with everything which is awesome and i also take time to talk with myself and do metal health checks to make sure I’m not going overboard and slip back into depression. but at the end of the day art really is my saving grace it's such a positive way to express how im feeling and what im going through.

Guerrilla: Thats dope. Art has saved my life, more than once... I can relate haha

3rdeyechakra: tea, it's really a lifeline

3rdeyechakra-Losing my grip-2018.jpg

Guerrilla: What are one of your major accomplishments or most memorable moments as a visual artist?

3rdeyechakra: I’ve connected with so many people just through my art. I’ve got recognition from Fka Twigs, Sevdaliza, and Beverly Peele which is crazy and I’ve gotten to work with Dazed magazine which i still shook about

Guerrilla: Your work is getting recognition from some really big ppl in the game

3rdeyechakra: It’s so surreal. i feel like I’m in a different realm. i used to think i wouldn't do or be anything special so im so grateful

Guerrilla: "A different realm" haha, just like your work

3rdeyechakra: lol pretty much

3rdeyechakra-Steel Lingerie-2018.jpg

Guerrilla: So i know you do a lot of commissions. what does that process usually look like?

3rdeyechakra: I just discuss with the client what they want in the photo they want edited and we go from there. i keep them in the loop along the way to get any notes or suggestions they have. i try and make everyone feel like they're apart of the process

Guerrilla: that sounds really cool, and intimate. i like that you create connection with the people you work with as part of your practice.

3rdeyechakra: i try and treat everyone like how i would treat Beyonce if i were working with her

3rdeyechakra-mermaid  4-2018.jpg

Guerrilla: im sure you are so used to people asking you to turn them into mermaids and angels... but of all of your commissioned works, which one stands out the most, or is the most memorable to you?

3rdeyechakra: Dazed Fashion commissioned me to edit some photos from fashion week after i did an interview with them because they loved my work so much, i was floored.

Guerrilla: Is there any advice you have for younger, up & coming artists?

3rdeyechakra: Be nothing but yourself and don't make art that you think will make money because that will be a regret later in life, trust me.

Guerrilla: ooo *warning*

3rdeyechakra: when i was in school i asked my art teacher how do you make money with your art and he told me i was in the wrong occupation if i think i can get rich from making art. ill be honest that was...blunt but he told me his friend was an artist and he had a popular style and subject matter that he found made him a lot more money than the things he really loved painting. long story short he got stuck painting seashells for a the majority of his career and he hated it and himself for a long time after that. that story stuck with me for all these years because that's the last thing i want to do to myself is just become a machine reproducing meaningless pieces for the sake of getting a dollar.

Guerrilla: Hella real

3rdeyechakra: thats a recipe for depression and i don't want anyone going through that

Guerrilla: Do you have any upcoming projects, shows or features that we should be on the look out for?

3rdeyechakra: I’ve edited a photo shoot for KingKong magazine recently that should be coming out soon and im doing an interview for Verluxe magazine too


Guerrilla: Sickkk. Please be sure to send those to me when they're out! We’ll update the feature with the links

3rdeyechakra: sure thing!

Guerrilla: Where do you see yourself and your work going in the future? In 5, 10 years from now?

3rdeyechakra:  hopefully I’ll have my own studio so i can work with models and direct my own photo shoots and i also want to do a cover for a magazine too but I’m gonna let life take where its gonna take me, don’t wanna rush anything

Guerrilla: Yesss. I can see this is and looks amazing on you.

3rdeyechakra: 😄

Guerrilla: Before we conclude is there anything you want the world and our readers to know ?

3rdeyechakra:  I will always be creating whether or not its digital or traditional but best believe i will always snatch wigs including my own lol

To see more of 3rdeyechakra’s work, visit them on Instagram @3rd_eyechakra
and on tumblr at

For commissions, email:

EFNIKS will continue to support queer & trans visual artists of color through monthly features and stipends to help these artists continue their works. To be considered, browse the guidelines on our Submissions Page, and reach out to our Visual Arts Editor at To donate to our volunteer-run platform that pays its contributors, please head to our support page.

September 2018's Featured Visual Artist: Roy Martinez


Roy Martinez was born in Chicago, IL in 1984, raised in Tejas, and currently residing in Los Angeles. First Generation Mexican Zacatecanx-American born, queer, genderfuk. Interdisciplinary artist, with disciplines ranging from ceramics, sculpture, screen printing, and on-site installations. Concentrating on cultural identity, gender identity, sexuality, femme-ness, oppression within US society via pop culture/representation, domesticity, death, ritual, and technology in relation to art production/accessibility [[to name a few]]. They also run an online store that carries different items; ranging from artist produced zines and prints, to their own lyfestyle brand: Lambe Culo. They have received their BFA from CalArts ‘16 and MFA in 2018.

EFNIKS Visual Arts Editor, Guerrilla Davis: Welcome Roy! Whats good? Hows your day going?

Roy Martinez: It’s pretty chill. Kind of busy running around, getting ready for my Pop-Up show tonight and printing tees for orders placed on my online store Casa Lambe Culo. Its pretty DIY (Do It Yourself) and made to order, as to not overproduce.

GD: Your alias, and your store name” Casa Lambe Culo,” What does it mean? How did that come to be?  

RM: It’s the name of my online store, and it has a double meaning. I’m all about duality. It means “rimming” but also could be taken as another form of “kiss my ass.”  At the time, I was doing digital work and posting it on social media. I took a mentorship with Harry Gamboa at school, and since he's a photographer and punk, I decided to show it to him. He was really into it and told me that should be my name. Because it’s also spelled wrong in spanish, which is one thing a lot of Mexicans say about Mexicans from the U.S., that we speak mocho (broken spanish), so it relates in so many levels.

GD: Tell us about you and your background. How do you identify?

RM: I'm in the 1st generation to be born on this side of the border from Mexican parents. I was born in chicago, grew up en Tejas, and moved to Califas to finish school (which I did in May).  I I.D. as Xicanx, Femme, Marica, Genderfuck, Ponx, and generally they/them - Although I would be flattered with She/Her. I’m used to He/Him.

GD: What kind of art / mediums do you practice?

When will our emotional labor b compensated
40”x40” Digital Print

RM: I’m concentrated on exploring Re-Appropriation, Cultural and Gender Identity, Sexuality, Queer Domesticity... Death, Ritual, and Technology as a way to empower people of color navigating a white supremacist state. My practice generally ranges from Ceramics, Digital, Screen Printing, and on-site Installations.

GD: What’s your favorite color and why?

RM: Magenta, haha. Iit does something to the cones in my eyes, and for me, it also radiates Love and a type of bold softness.

GD: Where do you find inspiration? What values or experiences inform your art and your presentation style?

RM: Spaces, for sure. Also the ranch that my parents are from. I was fortunate enough to be able to transgress the border every summer growing up, so I was always in this nepantla state of in-betweenness. That really fucked with me, and I feel as though my art is a product of that subjectivity and experience, which I hope other Xicanx and POC can relate to.

GD: I can see you live that real artist hustle. I’m in that same boat - doing multiple creative gigs at any given time, instead of having one main job that pays the bills.

RM: Yeah… I’d love the stable income, but this is what it is right now.

GD: What does a typical day look like for you?

RM: I start my day at 10am and see what orders I have because I don’t buy tees in bulk. I generally wait a couple days before going to buy tees. I go buy tees in the fashion district, bring ‘em home, and start printing to make post office by 5pm.  After that I usually just chill, sketch, watch movies, chill out really. I have another pop up show on Saturday for Noche De Travesuras at the Last in DTLA, and a group show on the 29th and 30th at Descontrol Punk Shop, and another at Tom of Finland in October, so for the next few weeks I’ll be preparing for those to. I try to take different merch to each pop up or event, just to keep it fresh.

Cinto Harness - Roy Martinez

Concept Look - Roy Martinez


GD: Thats hot. What’s your favorite piece of merch?

RM: I haven't released them yet..but my Cinto Harnesses are my fave. And what has sold most have been my sign tees. "DEMATERIALIZE THE POLICE" "FUCK ICE" and "ABOLISH STATE SANCTION VIOLENCE"

GD: I love those tees. They are my fave! I remember seeing someone here in Oakland at a Club Chai party at Trash Palace wearing one of your tees - I thought it was so dope seeing your work out here in the Bay. What inspired you to make those?

RM: Primarily current events, the fascism we’re living under, continue to live under white supremacy, but also the streets, ads/signs, pop culture, etc… I also think that a lot of times, QTPOC bodies are always politicized, and these tees are also a type of subserversion to that.  First, to be POC, especially black and brown within this system, carries a type of politics. You can see the prisi industrial system and who it affects. To be a Latinx / Indigenous womxn means you aren the least of all demographics. To be queer, means your life is in constant danger - primarily trans people of color. These are just SOME of the many aspects by which our bodies get politicized, whether we like it or not.

And like, I’m aware that by wearing a tee, it’s not gonna erase generational trauma, but at least it subverts the idea of using our bodies to make a very visible statement, without even uttering a word… At least a little.

GD: Damn, thats hella real. I think it takes a lot of guts to make a tee like that and then wear it in public, and have others able to wear it in public… It’s dope. A lot of artists have a lot of feelings, but I feel like your work actually have something to say, something that’s relevant and relatable, and not so specific and inaccessible that it becomes excluding or exclusive - I really appreciate that.

RM: Aw, gracias.

Mi Bida Marica, Roy Martinex, 2018

GD: What are some of your major challenges as a visual artist?

RM: Nowadays, socializing and networking is important when you are trying to expose your art, so I think that because I’m an introvert in real life and have a resting bitch face, that people usually view me as unapproachable. Don’t get me wrong, I like social gatherings and networking, but in L.A. there is always something going on which can be overwhelming in itself. That's why I also focus on using social media platforms that allow some access to my practice and a broad range of audience without having to always be materialized in real life and my energy drained. Ultimately, its self care is the most important.

GD: What is one of your major accomplishments or most memorable moments as a visual artist?

RM: I just got my Masters in Art in May, and although I’m still in this post-grad haze, I’m glad to know I came out of that mind fuck alive. My MFA was a pretty big thing, just cause it took me going to school 14 years off and on to get it. Also, im the first to attempt going to college in my immediate familiy. It was definitely a mind fuck, and a financial grace (as of 9/29... LOL).

A memorable moment was finding out Harry Gamboa Jr, Co-Founder of Asco taught at my school.  Then a couple years ago, he took my portrait for his ongoing series “Chicano Male Unbounded” which Gerardo Velazquez of Nervous Gender is a part of.

Asco was a very conceptual Chicana/o art collective that was active from 1978-1984 I believe.  They did performance, film, photography… They were the very first time i saw people with the same backgrond as me - Mexican-American, doing similar stuff that i’m used to seeing with my friends now.  So they were definetly an inspiration to me. And Gerardo Velazquez is a Queer Chicano from LA and played in Nervous Gender, a conceptional electronic punk band.

Another memorable moment was when I got featured by Vice MX. My friend Sandra Blow was contracted by Vice to do a shoot and interview for a story. I was in Mexico City at that time, so she asked me if I’d be down to do it, and yeah we hung out it did it. It’s a highlight article in honor of Pride month in Mexico City. Sandra took the subject pictures, and asked questions about how we identify, what we do, what love is, what self love looks for us…. You can find the article here.

Squirt Bottle Pipes - Roy Martinez, 2018

GD: Tell us about the pieces you are featuring with us on

RM: So the pieces I sent are current werks done this year. My focus right has a lot to do with memory, distortions, and pop culture....

"when will our emotional labor b compensated" piece is inspired by facebook posting background edits..except here its a 40" x 40" digital print, which also pushes the large format printer by having vibrant colors without glitches.

The 2nd is a porcelain cast of a squirt bottle that I turned into a pipe.

The 3rd, Im modeling pieces of my latest collection - Cinto Harnesses that fuses workwear Dickies, with Ruffles (generally found in dresses and particularly rituals like Quinceañeras and weddings).

"Mi Bida Marica" is a tag on a brick wallpapered panel. Distorting reality was my inspiration behind this piece, along with the sculpture of roses as symbolism for alternate economies that I’m used to navigating.

The install with the clothes is my concept store featuring the custom made apparel like the Cinto Harnesses, the Squirt bottle pipes, and my FUCK ICE graphic tees.

The reclining nude is in reference to art history, but also current events, and looking into how the queer brown femme bodies often gets politicized/exoticized.

Lastly the sarape harness, references a type of bondage of layered cultures. Mexican, but also queer, and again interested in the idea of domestication, and the fetishization of domestication.

Roy Martinez - Concept Store

GD: I see from your work, you find inspiration exploring the gender binary and chicanx culture - like your work with the Dickies, a staple peice of mens work/hoodwear, paired with the ruffles.

RM: Yeah, the interesting part is I’ve seen dickies used in a few ways within my immediate family. I saw my Abuelo (grandfather) working in the land in dickies, so in that context it was workwear. But I also saw it with my siblings and cousins growing up on the Southside of Chicago - that was more related to Barrior Wear. So I’m trying to rethink them in a way that I was a gender non-conforming person would wear them. So that's kind of the inspiration for them, and in a broader sense it deals with sexuality, gender expression, and culture, which is what I navigate on the daily, just existing… Cor[oral reality is weird sometimes, and I guess i'm also exploring the different ways in which what i wear can “say” something about who i am, or potentially could be.

GD: Are there any upcoming projects or shows that we should be on the look out for?

RM: On September 22, I’ll have a pop up at Noche de Travesuras at The Lash in DTLA. On September 27th and 28th, I’ll be part of a group show at the Descontrol Punk Shop at 1725 E 7th Street in LA. And on October 6th & 7th, I’ll have work up at the Tom House: Tom of Finland (a dedicated to protect, preserve, document and educate the public about erotic art and erotic artists) at 1421 Laveta Terrace, LA.

GD: If theres anything you want the world to know, what is it?

RM: Be. Just be. Be your authentic self, or a much of your authentic self you feel comfortable sharing. I feel like Art was a good way for me to know my authentic self and express it, and it still is. How you dress can be expression, as well as performance, drawing, painting.  It's important to be our authentic selves because to me, its a form of liberation.

GD: Where can we find you? (website, social media, etc…)

RM: IG: casa_lambe_culo & mi tiendita

Guerrilla Davis: Hope you don't mind if i edit a little bit here and there, just to formalize the interview a little more.

Roy Martinez: sorryyy...I generally don't do a lot of grammar editing..just cus i id as ponx and well professionalism is kinda classist.. lol but I understand

Guerrilla: i fuck with that. u a real one.

EFNIKS will continue to support queer & trans visual artists of color through monthly features and stipends to help these artists continue their works. To be considered, browse the guidelines on our Submissions Page, and reach out to our Visual Arts Editor at