Our very first Featured Artist Friday of 2019! We’re starting with a bang – Rachael is a marvelous young artist whose love of drag queens has seen her art soar to new heights. Recognition coming in its highest form from Trixie Mattel to Naomi Smalls! We talk about her love of art, who influences her, along with the long art process. Be prepared to fall in love with this lady’s amazing work!
Dragadventures: How did you get started out in art, was there a particular artist that got you hooked?
Rachael: I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I started high school that I really started practising and doing it regularly. I remember Wassily Kandinsky being one of the first artists I fell in love with because of his abstract take on music, and he has a series based on dancers too which I love. However, more recently, when I started taking drawing more seriously, I fell in love with Donald Robertson’s work, and while it’s nothing like my own, it really shows that there are no limits to what you can create.
DA: From start to finish which part of the process do you find most satisfying?
Rachael: I love the sketching stage of drawing because it’s the point at which I can change things as often as I like, and try out different things. But, the moment I can physically see the drawing as I imagined it is the most satisfying as it means that I am close to finishing and that I have been able to bring my idea to life.
DA:Do you tend to play around with certain trends within the art world or that you would like to try in the future?
Rachael: I try and not pin myself down by following trends as I know I’m most happy when I create what I want. However, I do like to try new things, and recently I have been playing around with lines and trying to find a way to incorporate line work into my drawings…
DA: How did you discover drag? If you watched RPDR, what season got you hooked and why? Would you say that drag has influenced your work as an artist and if so, how?
Rachael: Pantomime is a massive part of British culture, so I think my first encounters with drag would have been via that. In terms of actually discovering drag, though, I started to explore and understand it more in my final year of high school when I was studying gender and LGBTQ characters in TV and film. I was fascinated by the ways in which the accepted binary understanding of gender could be warped and completely obliterated by the art of drag, and that’s really when I fell in love with it.
Season 7 was the one that got me hooked, the cast is so diverse in terms of age and talents, and it also features many of my favourite queens like Trixie, Katya, Violet and Jasmine. Also, SHAKESQUEER!
Drag, in the last year, has influenced my art in so far as it’s become the subject of most of my work. But also, the fact that drag performers pull the inspiration for their looks, performance and shoes from so many different aspects of the world around us, gives me so much scope to come up with ideas for what I want to produce. For example, I drew Monet X Change as a mermaid because she performed Part of Your World when I saw her.
DA: Whats the local drag scene like where you live?
Rachael: The drag scene where in my town is non-existent, but in Glasgow, the scene is fantastic and so diverse. The scene has a mix of new and seasoned queens and kings ranging from gritty/subversive, to comedic, to arty, and also political.
DA: We don’t like to be biased nor have favourites. However, the Trixie pieces you create are stunning, how do you go about choosing which images to bring to life via your art, and which is your most favourite?
Rachael: Thank you so much! I don’t really have a criteria for choosing images as references or inspiration. Quite often I’ll see something pop up on my twitter or Instagram feed and get an idea and the piece evolves from there. More often than not it’s the outfit that Trixie is wearing that will inspire what I create or the performance context of the image. In terms of a favourite, I don’t have just one. I’m super proud of the Friday the 13th inspired film poster I created a few months ago because it’s different to a lot of the other things that I’ve done and I also really love how Trixie’s hair turned out. But the autoharp drawing is also special to me because Trixie commented on it and I never expected that to happen.
DA: Your recent art piece of Naomi Smalls garnered an incredible amount of well-deserved attention, how long did the piece take to create and how did it feel for her to appreciate your work so much.
Rachael: Thank you, again! That particular drawing took around nine hours from sketch to signature, which is relatively quick in comparison to some of my other pieces.
I am always taken aback when queens interact with my work whether it be through likes, retweets or comments because I never expected that any of that would happen when I started drawing them; I do it because I love it and it’s a way to relax for me. I loved the storyline behind Naomi’s look, and I’m super happy that she liked my interpretation of it.
DA: Who is your favourite queen to draw and why?
Rachael: I think it goes without saying that Trixie is my favourite to draw. I love what she puts out into the world. Her concepts and references are always impeccable, and I have a lot of fun coming up with ideas for drawings based around them. The Oh Honey promotional images reminded me of vintage pin-up imagery and the girl scout outfit from Dragcon lead me to think of Camp Crystal Lake from the Friday the 13th films. Even when I’m just recreating an existing image, I still have a lot of fun with her makeup, wig choices and outfits.
DA: Are there any particular artists out there that we should all be keeping an eye out for?
Rachael: @fairyfernie does some beautiful pencil illustrations of queens, I love her style, and her work is so intricate. @jesscoit does the most incredible embroideries of queens, she did one of Trixie and Katya from the green screen episode of UNHhhh, and it’s everything. @jonesy.doodles has recently created some really fun drawings of the AS4 queens. His recreation of Monique’s wig getting caught in the lighting rig is fantastic!
DA: What would you love to happen in the future regarding projects?
Rachael:Not to sound cliche, but it would be a dream come true to collaborate with or design merch for a queen. I’m currently studying film and television at university and would love to work in digital media production which will allow me to combine my love for art and cinema and hopefully make a career out of it. Regardless, drawing will always remain a part of my life whether it be as a career or hobby.
DA:We are sure our readers would love to get their hands on one of your amazing creations – do you take commissions?
Rachael:Yes! My commissions are open, and I’d be delighted to take your ideas and bring them to life. You can contact me via my dms on Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep up to date with all of Rachael’s magnificent drawings on the social media below: