For Pride Month, Well + Good is pleased to celebrate the right to Love Out Loud with a collection of stories from the LGBTQ + community. With fierce struggles along with softness and vulnerability, these stories highlight what it is to love others as well as ourselves.
For centuries, art has been a space for self-expression, an opportunity to have a voice in times of silence and oppression and a tool for storytelling. But for far too long, the world of popular visual art – the artists themselves, the spaces showing the works and the curators, purchasers and educators involved – has been dominated by the primarily white, affluent and heteronormative. As times change, so must it, explains Sydney-based artist Marisa Mu. “I want queer artists to be highlighted, celebrated and bought in front – where we rightly belong,” she says.
If the intention of art is to lift creators and support narratives that have been brushed aside, the collective goal should be to support future artists of all backgrounds, identities and media who pave the way. Saatchi Art, an online art gallery and artist network owned by the Well + Good parent company Leaf Group, embraces this goal and puts it into action.
Saatchi Arts’ new collection, Towards Utopia, features more than 50 works of art by LGBTQ + artists, “suggesting liberation, empowerment, and the potential for queer futures – even utopia.” The collection represents artists from around the world, from different backgrounds and walks of life, who use a wealth of materials and media to express the universality of emotions, the diversity of experiences and the importance of strength, resilience and pride (in every sense of the word).
“Seeing art made by a queer artist as a youngster was the first time I could see myself reflected back to me,” says Lauren Denitzio, another of the artists in Saatchi’s proud collection of its significance. “When I think about creating more visibility for queer artists, I think about how our work can present a wider range of identities and opportunities to the public.”
“I feel it’s important to highlight queer artists because we have not had the space and platform to share our stories and voices, let alone get our art recognized or celebrated,” Mu adds. “Allow us to be who we are because we are here and we are queer,”
Keep scrolling to see a preview of selected works from Saatchi Art’s Towards Utopia, and click here to view the rest of the collection.
Into clouds by Nicole Melnicky – $ 1,500.00
Inspired by the natural landscape of the artist’s home in British Columbia, Canada, this work represents “the dream of a liberated and radical queer future, a future that is fluid and free,” says Nicole Melnicky. “The body and my identity have always been a constant in my study practice. Creating work about the body allows me to talk about my strangeness, and colors allow me to regain my identity. As I found more courage to express who I am through my life, my work began to do the same. I began to celebrate my identity instead of hiding it, akin to the pride flag; color became a way of talking about my identity in a positive light. Art has given me space to explore, experiment and discover and always allow me to express my colorful identity without limitations, and that’s what art has the potential to be. “
Untitled (harmony) by Lauren Denitzio – $ 395.00
“I have always been attracted to portraits as well as abstraction, especially when it comes to the way queer and feminist people construct their domestic spaces. I wanted to show them each in their own home while leaving room for the imaginary and perhaps presented a more emphatic or vivid interpretation of the space around them, “says Denitzio. This bright acrylic work is part of a larger series that does the same.
Love bombs by Marisa Mu – $ 540.00
According to the artist, the inspiration for this work is “the feel-good feeling of being enveloped in color and love; celebrating individualism with rigor and joy.” This unique watercolor is “about celebrating our daily moments, the epitome of what makes us the wonderfully colorful woman we are – and if it’s about dancing in our underwear or swinging our bras off, then “It’s like that. I’m love and I stand for love,” says Mu.
Ready 6 by David Dyett – $ 470.00
This mixed media work uses acrylic, collage and pencil on canvas to explore queer culture and express passion using a mix of colorful abstracts and portrait techniques. The large, unique work is 9 feet wide and 12 feet high.
I was born like this by Imanuel Scheiko – $ 430.00
Created by queer German artist Imanuel Scheiko, this original painting with acrylic paint and fine liner ink pen on wood paneling is inspired by living a life that others do not understand. “That way I may lose some of you, but I will find myself, and that is a victory!” says Scheiko. The word drawn in the painting is a Persian word, which is pronounced “man”, and it means “I”, he explains.
The Cardsharps by Suzanne Shifflett – $ 4,850.00
Inspired by ancient Renaissance and classical paintings, this wooden painting represents more than three characters playing cards. In contrast to the initial depictions, which usually represent men, the sexual identities of these characters are ambiguous. While “the money in the pool is minimal and the stakes do not seem to be too high, as there is also a candy necklace up for grabs. They all seem to be light and have fun,” says artist Suzanne Shifflett.
Hey man by Kim Leutwyler – $ 5,150.00
“Michelle Heyman is an overtly gay athlete who proudly represented Australia at the 2016 Olympics in Rio,” explains artist Kim Leutwyler. This colorful portrait of the athlete depicts her passion, desire to be a role model for children, and how she “openly speaks out against bullying and encourages young people to be their authentic selves.”
Join Well + Good TALK: Love Out Loud, which celebrates pride as the fight for equality continues, June 23, 2021.
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