Art can be like pouring rubbing alcohol on an open wound. It can be healing, but also painful. On Saturday night at Love City Love, Seattle artists showcased their work at the zine release party SourPuss. Among these artists were students from Seattle University and other colleges in the area.
Cornish College of the Arts student Alexis Silva debuted his zine “I can hear you listening,” which explored queer spaces and bodies through sublime, ambiguous poetry and photography. In the zine, Silva illustrates his experiences as a queer person growing up in a Hispanic and Latinx community by contrasting the sheltered, quiet, machismo expectation with flamboyance. Silva’s experiences forced him to choose flamboyance as a narrative that he had no other option but to pick. This zine is his way to rebuild that narrative from the ground up.
Tender polaroids and poems on ripped sheets of graph paper are an homage to the queer experience. Queer or not, Silva’s experience is intended to be honored, heard and respected.
Another zine at SourPuss was “A confinement zine by alana sabrina and nicole.” Seattle U student Nicole Bonfiglio debuted her writings in the zine with fellow Seattle-based artists Alana Cuturilo and Sabrina Wingate. Bonfiglio’s raw, transparent writings are centered around experiences with mental illness and trauma.
On a page with her best friend’s naked torso (photographed by Wingate) covered in glued-on gems, Bonfiglio has a piece about spending time with close friends as a way to get through mental illness.
“Even if it’s only a few hours with friends, and even if tomorrow is going to be just as bad as today,” Bonfiglio said, “those little things [spending time with people you love] have to be enough.”
Though some of her pieces could be triggering for people who have experienced similar traumas, Bonfiglio gives a content warning in the prologue of the zine. She is careful in her pieces, and is ultimately able to “write about the rabbit hole without making it an instruction manual” for self-harm.
4 a.m.. notes on Bonfiglio’s iPhone became poetry that fueled raw expression and unapologetic truths. This zine wasn’t for consumption, but rather for appreciation.
Rawness isn’t always meant to be understood, and it’s okay if people don’t “understand” the art. These artists have created these works and it’s up to people to take from it what they need.
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