It’s queer creatives and allies like these (and many, many more) that uplift and radiate the foundations of our community: uniqueness, vibrancy, creativity, and boldness. From videography to tattooing to photography to illustration to ceramics, the mediums available to express your queerness are infinite and everchanging. As Pride month passes, we celebrate all of the artists who’ve spent time contributing to Pride projects and events within the LGBTQ+ community.
Here are 13 innovative queer creatives and allies you should support, not only during Pride but year round!
1. Daniel Mooney (Mundomoo)
The beloved illustrator behind Mundomoo, Daniel Mooney’s illustrative talents are not bound solely by his famous prints. His illustrative work is intertwined throughout Mundomoo’s shop, manifesting as, of course, prints, but also as clothing, totes, stickers, key rings, and even a potential jewellery line.
Mooney’s intention for creating Mundomoo was to find a way for his work, “illustrations, and products [to] be combined together in one little [online] space”. Follow the continuing work and journey of Mooney through his Instagram or check out more of his illustrations and designs on Mundomoo’s website.
2. Luis Noguera Benitez & Ciaran Gildea (PShirts)
Irish/Venezuelan couple Luis Noguera Benitez and Ciaran Gildea are the creatives behind PShirts, a vintage sustainable online fashion shop that emphasises the joy of collecting, as well as the strength and resilience of queer entrepreneurship. After battling through the COVID-19 pandemic as a small queer-owned business, PShirts has remained committed to “contributing to the LGBTQ+ community’s growth” and increasing its well-deserved visibility and respect.
PShirts is a pillar queer Irish business, in that it emulates uniqueness and individuality through both its collection of pieces and ownership, but also through its mission and message of “love, tolerance, equality, friendship, and union”. Noguera Benitez and Gildea’s passion is an homage to generations of fashion and accessibility, taking “shirts and jackets from all seasons” and relaying that they’re “beautiful and fashionable for everyone…Unique, Unisex, and Oversized”. Their mission and business reflect the beautiful nature of the LGBTQ+ community: ever-changing, resilient, and brilliant.
3. Vicky Barron & Sonya Mulligan (House of Dapper)
Dedicated to a personalised twist on conventional Pride merch, Dublin-based creatives Vicky Barron and Sonya Mulligan create their community work through House of Dapper. Featured as one of the main queer creative brands in the Dublin Pride Hub, House of Dapper includes eccentric and customisable designs for masks, jewellery (custom rings, pins, and pendants), t-shirts, and more.
4. Leanne Coffey
Based in Dublin, Leanne (‘Lenny’) Coffey is an Irish designer and contemporary jewellery artist whose work has gained lots of recognition, including a Bronze Award from the Goldsmith’s Craft and Design Council UK in 2019 and a nomination for the acclaimed NCAD Staff Prize in 2020. Her business, Leanne Coffey Jewellery, is a platform for her work that shares her “narrative style of designing where each piece tells a story”.
Coffey’s website shares more about her ties to Ireland and how its “landscape, people, and history” influence a large chunk of her work.
5. Hazel Coonagh
A Dublin-based artist and ally who is very well known to GCN, Hazel Coonagh’s multifaceted work uses a “combination of disciplines with photographic portraits at its foundation”. Alongside her photography, which has been featured on several GCN print covers (including Issues #372, #339, and #348), Coonagh also commonly features “hand embroidery, digital editing, and mixed media” in her work.
The curiosity and brilliance that makes up Coonagh’s work allow her to reinvent the traditionalism of photography, especially for portraits. To see more of her work and to see prints on sale, visit her website or Instagram.
6. Bob Johnson & Michael Emberly (Our Big Day)
Bob Johnson, the owner of Gutter Bookshop in Dublin, teamed up with Ireland-based co-author Michael Emberly on the LGBTQ+ children’s book, Our Big Day. After opening two locations to sell books, Johnson then went on to write his own with this debut picturebook; a “celebration of love, family, and weddings”. Our Big Day is a necessary way for children to see same-sex partners and marriage equality (as beautifully illustrated by Emberly). GCN’s recent feature highlighting queer children’s books in Issue #372 celebrates Our Big Day.
7. Fatti Burke & John Burke (Michael Collins, the People’s Peacemaker)
Dublin-based illustrator Fatti Burke and collaborator (and father) John team up to create the children’s book Michael Collins, the People’s Peacemaker, a wonderful look at an Irish political hero. Though this book was covered by our latest GCN print Issue for its contributions to LGBTQ+ children’s books, Burke is also well known for other works such as the Little Library or Find Tom In Time series.
Of her work, she shares, “without it, my head would genuinely be a mess of clutter; drawing and writing is my way of releasing these stories and pictures and making room for something new”. Discover more of Fatti’s illustrative mind ‘de-cluttering’ works on her website or Instagram.
8. Adiba Jaigirdar (The Henna Wars)
This Ireland-based writer focuses on reshaping the media world that she experienced growing up, one that was “harmful, specifically towards people of colour and LGBTQ+ people, or both at once”. Not only is she developing that creative space, but she’s also incredibly intentional with what she puts into it; she says, “it’s important to interrogate why you’re writing a character the way you are, and question whether they’re falling into stereotypes or not”. As mentioned in our feature article on Adiba in our latest Issue #372, her journey and work are reinventing the scene “through encapsulating her own identity, one that was never truly available for her life”.
Adiba has a couple of upcoming books, including A Million to One coming in December and Donut Fall in Love coming next year. Find out where you can pick up one of her latest works on her Instagram!
9. Pradeep Mahadeshwar
A Dublin-based gay artist and filmmaker, Pradeep is addressing issues faced by Ireland’s queer community following the COVID-19 pandemic through his documentary called Tír na mBeo – The Land of the Living. He says the film’s aesthetic expresses the “vibrant and diverse” cultural landscape of Ireland’s queer scene while addressing the pandemic’s magnification of “every existing inequality in our society; racism, gender inequality, access to sexual health services, poverty, housing crises, and immigration uncertainties”.
10. Brian Teeling
An artist/photographer based in Dublin, Brian Teeling intentionally uses his work “as a reflection of the supposed real/real world…to inspire emotion and provoke thought, to defy the limiting perspective of society on working-class people”. Often starting with an image, Brian says, his “work is then materialized in different arrangements, usually taking the form of abstract portraits and landscapes, photographic prints, installations, publications, and sculptures”. Brian previously collaborated with GCN to create the PROTEST! Pride collection.
Alongside Brian’s work, he also shares his opinion through GCN’s print publication on the discourse surrounding the National Gallery of Ireland awarding Aramark a café and services tender. As an artist himself, Brian believes the decision “to award the tender to a company like this…is baffling in the extreme” given that Aramark “profits from the racist governmental policy Direct Provision”. This feature highlights Brian’s activist mindset and the position he takes in restructuring the Irish arts scene that he performs within.
11. Jacob Lawrence (Floatyspacecat)
The queer comic artist behind the beloved @floatyspacecat comic on Instagram, Jacob Lawrence has been dedicated to creating “one comic a day…keeping that pace up for the past four years”; stripping away “negative queer tropes” and contributing to filling the void of queer representation in regular media. Jacob’s dedication to posting has grown them an incredible support system, with over 43,000 followers on Instagram and a group of friends that encourages, and influences, their working process. They describe this process as “asking my friends, ‘what do you wish you had as a child?’ and with every comic I write, I try to reach into their past a little and give them some peace.”
If you’d like to know more about Jacob and their artwork, visit their GCN magazine feature in our latest Issue #372. Further support Jacob on their queer journey and through their artwork via Instagram (above) or TikTok, as well as through their Kofi page.
12. Lily Deason
A ceramicist based in East London, Lily creates mostly functional wheel-thrown pieces that channel their love for “bright, bold, and graphic designs”. With only six years of pottery experience, their work reveals talents that go far beyond technical skill; creativity and uniqueness make their pieces one-of-a-kind.
As a gender-nonconforming lesbian, Lily shared with us their questioning as to “whether or not to share [queer identity] through ceramics”. Until this point, they’ve kept a “separation between queer identity and creating…as it feels more private at this point” in their life. Lily now considers exploring their relationship between queerness and creating at their upcoming Ceramic Design course at Central Saint Martins in September.
Be sure to go and check out Lily’s work on their Instagram.
13. @UntitledQueen (Founder of Queer Creative Community Directory)
As it’s a relatively impossible task to include all the incredible queer creatives making an impact through their work here, we’ve stumbled across a resource that’s much more equipped to do so. Continuously updated as exposure grows, @untitledqueen on Instagram has turned a simple Google form into a public Google Excel sheet called the ‘Queer Creative Community Directory’.
She describes the multifaceted and diverse resource of/for queer creatives as one that’s “easy, accessible, and free to use to organize various queer creatives, services, and artists”. Grown to its current state at over 1,400 creatives, the Directory has become a one-stop for the queer community to “discover, connect, hire, support, and uplift”.
@UntitledQueen tells us about her initial thoughts behind the creation; after her own “searches and calls from fellow community members for various creatives within the community,” she realised “how often we are looking not only to support the community financially but also to have our voices and images represented by others within it”.
The Queer Creative Community Directory manifested in the absence of “resources and built-in support systems” for queer creatives who often rely on community-driven efforts or “chosen family”. From this list, consumers and creatives alike feel more comfortable engaging and advertising themselves, with a “sensitivity and understanding that comes naturally” without having to “explain ourselves from within the community”.
Through connecting with creatives in the Directory, she’s discovered that multiple creatives have been hired for Pride campaigns and jobs from the resource, and she only hopes that it “continues to grow and more people make connections from it and can support each other”.
If you’re a queer creative and would like to be included in the Directory, the link for submissions can be found here. If you’re looking to hire a queer creative from the Queer Creative Community Directory access to view their information can be found here.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
This article was published in the print edition Issue No. 372 (June 10, 2022). Click here to read it now.
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