How do you choose the texts?
A lot of them were made with one of my best friends on Earth, a very gifted writer named Emily Bannon. We collaborated on sourcing the texts, and between the two of us we came up with 50 or 60 different bodies that both of us consider talismans, phrases that we had carried throughout our entire lives.
All of a sudden beautiful images of poppers are a thing. You’ve created your own, set amongst flowers. There’s an idea there of queer nostalgia that is both retro and incredibly of the moment.
I can’t believe I’m getting so giddy about my weird theorizing on poppers! I love it because it’s so coded. It’s this imagery that speaks to a subculture that operates the same way as labels, actually. It’s something that only makes sense if you’ve been fucked, or if you’ve been to a skeezy leather bar, or if you’ve been to any of these places that are inextricably tied to a particular subculture. My mom saw those images and called me asking, “What are those things?” And I had to explain them to her. Like, please! I literally had this conversation with her over the phone where I had to break it down for her. I was like, “This is a drug, but it’s practical.”
I’m interested in the idea of queerness as being banal nowadays, and I think that part of a larger project for you in the creation of these images and your line, it being inspired by queer relationships, is a deliberate reckoning with what it means to be gay.
I thought I had a good idea about how normalized queer relationships had become, until this huge political shitstorm made it so murky. Being gay now, or I guess as of last year, brought thoughts of dating. You think about Grindr, you think about online platforms as decentralizing this idea of being gay in public. You can be gay in all these different ways. But things are going to change. People are going to have to be radicalized and are going to have to be publicly, visibly, and intensely queer. People are going to have to be gay as shit! How else are you going to deal with Mike Pence as a vice president if you don’t have that sort of inescapable, aggressively queer imagery?