Jacklyn Janeksela

Kenya (Robinson): Cheeky AF

Artist Statement, No. 032714

I have been blessed with the privilege of blackness and femaleness, and sometimes, queerness on Karaoke Thursdays, or even on a regular Monday when the Rainbow is Enuf. My neighbors-in-otherness, borrowing sass and sugar from next door to spice the “T” we can all serve on the regular. I am fiscally a member of the working poor and culturally a member of the shrinking middle class. A graduate of an Ivy League University, I am also a college dropout. Go figure.

But ultimately I am an artist whose personal contradictions are not simply confusing, but fodder for my in-and-out-of-studio practice. I use social media, the comment thread cacophony of ‘the internets’, google alerts, information doppelgangers, contact microphones, contact paper, oil pastels, corduroy crotch shots, chalk, ink, combs, plastic action figures, the mythologies of identity and blonde hair as material to create experiences. Someone once told me that I was “all sparkle and no substance”. I was so shocked at it’s timing that it took nearly two hours before the tears fell, but now I think it a fitting description. You can’t hold love in your hand either. And that’s what I’m really serving. All “T”, no shade.

Apparently, chicks from Gainesville got game, serious art game and Kenya (Robinson) is proof. Although originally from Germany, she claims Florida’s swamp as home, as the place that spawned her, as though creeping and crawling, springing from beneath and above like a bayou creature, a faerie draped in handwoven glittery garb, ready to spit venom, spit knowledge. She does just that, by the way. Herself, an amalgam of characters created from moments, hours, and years, spent considering gender, race, and consumerism. For it really does take a lifetime, and more, to tackle such subjects. Her Florida roots got her unearthing that which has been planted, that which has touched soil and grown; she challenges us to think, re-think, reprogram, reboot. Here lies the re-cultivation of everything you perceive art to be. You will be changed. You will be submerged. You will find yourself wading through marshland, hand out, searching for that microphone cord that is tied to Kenya (Robinson), aka “CHEEKY” LaSHAE, as if umbilical in nature. She was born for this, she was born of this; she wants to make you aware that you, too, are the product of your surroundings, that you are a product. Did you hear her? You are a product, dear reader, dear public. Let her many personas teach you a thing or two about the society in which you find yourself.

With The Inflatable Mattress and #WHITEMANINMYPOCKET, she explores and excavates social implications that lie behind privilege and marginalization. She pulls back the curtain. But in pulling back the curtain, she not only aims to reveal the puppet-master, she also becomes one. She paradigms her own personas in response to social constructs and in doing so addresses her experience as well as those of others. The experience is not singular, she seems to be chanting; and she draws us into a universe where layered questions and solutions speak to the same room.

What is social consciousness and how much does it affect mass consumption? What is mass consumption and what does it do to our social consciousness? The answers fall upon audiences from inside a box that stands before a microphone. Enter “CHEEKY” LaSHAE. This is Kenya’s (Robinson) super and alter ego, a group of critics, a line of ancestors, a cast of satirical individuals, and a sage –”CHEEKY” LaSHAE does it all, has been it all, and tells it all. As mentioned by Creative Capital, “To date CHEEKY LaSHAE is a heavy metal performer, self-help guru, sex worker, motivational speaker, author, fashion icon, educator, KJ, financial planner and interior designer.” One wonders how the artists feels to embody real life avatar status, then approach art from that state, then face ideas as a language slanging notion slayer.

“CHEEKY” makes and breaks boundaries. That’s her thing. And she’s good at it. It seems that under the guise of “CHEEKY” Kenya (Robinson) shifts energy; not just reinventing the wheel, but taking it apart, perhaps even destroying it, and not making a wheel, but any other technology that will get the job done instead. The goal is efficiency minus capitalism, the goal riding a fine line between awareness and humanism plus product. What is it to be human and what is it to live in a capitalist world? Beyond thinking and speaking outside, and from inside, the box, there are so many solutions. “CHEEKY” utters those solutions and if audiences are quick enough, extra present and awoke, they’ll hear them.

Project 497 or the John Henry and the Patchwork Petitionary is her opus, an accidental one, but one in which she takes immense pride. It’s a piece 12 years in the making.

Her primary focus, though, seems to fall on Americanness. What is it, what it means, how it transforms, how it stagnates, how it binds, how it betrays, how it produces. There are so many narratives. Through each performance and exhibition, she intends to unravel and then sew those narratives –each time becoming a version of self and imposing other identities. Curiouser and curiouser, we draw closer to the core, but the center of Kenya (Robinson) could be just as close as it is far away. It is in her rendition of life’s players and personas that she makes us face our own.

Her works have appeared in various venues such as, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music, RECESS Activities, New York at RUSH Arts Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen, and Creative Time. They leave a lasting impression on those who are fortunate enough to encounter her energies.

Kenya (Robinson) posted on her site, a quote turned sacred text, highlighting another social construct that has indelibly influenced her artistic experimentation:

“Our entire pattern of socio-sexual interaction is non-existent here. The Gethenians do not see one another as men or women. This is almost impossible for our imaginations to accept. After all, what is the first question we ask about a newborn baby?

Yet you cannot think of a Gethenian as “it.” They are not neuters. They are potentials; during each sexual cycle they may develop in either direction for the duration of that cycle. No physiological habit is established, and the mother of several children may be the father of several more.

There is no division of humanity into strong and weak halves, protected/protective. One is respected and judged only as a human being. You cannot cast a Gethenian in the role of Man or Woman, while adopting towards “him” a corresponding role dependent on your expectations of the interactions between persons of the same or opposite sex. It is an appalling experience for a Teran…”

-from The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (or a Sacred Text of CHEEKY LaSHAE)

Find more of Kenya (Robinson)’s work here, here, and here.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

E. Jane: The Trifecta of a Triple Goddess

They come strong. But they come soft. They challenge and embrace notions about black women, femmes, art, music, feminism, protest, gender, life. They defy most social constructs because they are awake like that. E. Jane brings game to the art world. If you’re not ready for them, then you’re not ready to face life, to face truth.

E. Jane: The Trifecta of a Triple Goddess

Jane is E. Jane. They are Mhysa; they are the other half of SCRAATCH, digital art and sound project that includes lawd knows, aka Chukwumaa. E. Jane makes no real distinction between the three versions of self; as they say in NOPE: a manifesto, “I am a Black artist with multiple selves.” A genuine triple goddess, E. Jane is a gift. They float on clouds and come down like rain. One begins to wonder, what can’t E. Jane do? And then one is reminded of black girl magic.

E. Jane: The Trifecta of a Triple Goddess

E. Jane pushes themselves, pushes boundaries. They break and make molds of themselves and their alter-egos, of their divinities, of their spirits. The transformation is like witnessing a sunrise and sunset simultaneously; it’s that stunning. Should you take the time to be mindful, be still, rest, stare into the horizon –take it all in. You will be seeing art as a form as only E. Jane can does it. With a mission of softness, softer than anything you can imagine or have yet to experience, they pursue a path where black femme, queerness, and feminism intersect; at this crossing, a field of lavender so ready for QTWOC + POC to come rest, be safe, survive and persevere. They transform the image of black woman artist, they are beyond categories yet understand that society hasn’t quiet caught up with their altered consciousness.

This article isn’t about their accolades, although they are plentiful. From private shows to group events, E. Jane is no stranger to being on stage or being the stage. Voice and sound are the foundations of what they project. They use body as canvas, and their art collective brings a triad of voices. Listen closely and you can hear the voices of ancestors and the Afro-future selves that anticipate majestic birth, majesty, royal as any royal purple. Their art does manifesto, speaks against capitalism, calls out white supremacy. Their art gives voice to the millions of black bodies murdered, incarcerated, enslaved. Their art rises and rises and it’s like a balloon full of sound therapy, words, flowers, glitter, ribbons. Their art is ritual and selfie. Their art does not stop, does not quit and looks like it never will. Long live the manifestation of E. Jane.

E. Jane: The Trifecta of a Triple Goddess

From text to sound art to online installations in protest, E. Jane embodies so many energies. They are not one thing, one person, they are many and they like it that way. What captivates the viewer lies in E. Jane’s ability to tell story in multiple mediums for the artist who rejects and accepts classifications who grows into the blossoming iris. E. Jane is any and all flowers, lavender, purple. Even the sounds they produce feel purple, passionate, ripe with grape smudges.

E. Jane: The Trifecta of a Triple Goddess

Their Twitter and Instagram praise and protect black femme bodies, cover them like mothers and Mother Earth. Each selfie, each tweet, each post is a magic spell. Like from a sheer pastel purple curtain, they hide behind and come forth. She is the ghost of past and present and they will ghost into the future with the high bright intention of the seventh chakra, as violet as aubergines and amethyst impressions. They exist through empowerment and words that cut up white privilege, cut out innovative shapes, cut out beautiful paper dolls that lie down with her in lavender fields to sleep the sweet sleep of possibility.

“The avant-garde won’t save you, but the fugitives might.” – E. Jane / E. Scraaatch

Find more of E. Jane on Instagram, on their website full of visual delight and brilliance (get schooled), and Facebook.

 

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

 

Das Naiz: The Selfie God Guru

When you are the most epitomized duo in Indian history and you gotta get the selfie just right… Screw exile. #nofilter

If you think taking too many selfies is a waste of time, you might be right. If you think filling up your Instagram account with selfies is an indication of narcissism, you also might be right.  However, Das Naiz is here to remind you that the selfie is a powerful tool that should be used time and time again; and just to be sure, one more time.  All those selfies do serve a purpose, believe it or not.  So go ahead, snap away, take a few dozen selfies, feel good about self, do self-care via the selfie, live vicariously through the selfie, be the selfie.  There is no wrong or right way to do it.  The only point is this: that you should be hashtagging the selfie life to death, the selfie life is where it’s at; and when you mix selfie with art you spiritually transcend.    

Das Naiz: The Selfie God Guru

When the girls are out having fun and someone announces a selfie and everyone’s hands go up like, wait dude- let me fix my hair. #girlsjustwannafixhair

Das Naiz is here to challenge your notions of selfie and the selfie culture.  Armed with armfuls of Hindu gods and goddesses, the selfie gets put to work –transitioning meditation realms and battling against the powers that be, the selfie concept reworks itself into a state where all beings pray for happiness and teeter between bliss and dismiss.  A little tongue in cheek, but something resonates like a Tibetan bowl chiming us into a deep state of mindfulness.    

Das Naiz: The Selfie God Guru

‘The Last Cupcake’ feat women in art history (From left to right: Mughal miniature, Egyptian hieroglyphic, Mumtaz Mahal portrait, Rajasthani miniature, a Buenaventura José painting, Olympia by Manet, a Eugene Delacroix painting, persian miniature from Firdausi’s Shahnameh, persian miniature by Ostad Hosein Behzad, Japanese miniature, Artemisia Gentileschi, Leonardo DaVinchi and another mughal portrait.)

 

The selfie is not much different than a commissioned painting of yesteryear.  Das Naiz hints at the obvious self-proclaimations made by both –the need to self-gaze, to navel-gaze, to self-worship, to document self, to leave self behind as legacy.  Selfies will be, for future generations, a type of Baroque painting, highly stylized and coveted; except now, according to today’s technological artifice, the selfie is much more accessible and easy to do than an artistically contracted painting on canvas.  Yet, one needs to consider the proper equipment.  Just as funds prevented people from hiring an artist for portrait, certain people don’t have access to the means to take a selfie, they don’t have the capital to buy the phone or camera with which to selfie out into nirvana.  The selfie is the modern day response to a portrait; albeit both equally as expensive and exclusive in their own rights.  One must consider the status symbol that both paintings and selfies imply.  

Das Naiz: The Selfie God Guru

When you at a crazy house party and shit gets real: Must. Document. Everythinggg.

A selfie can be used to conjure.  Whether you’re looking to combat patriarchy or parody any pop culture reference, the selfie is here to enlighten us all.  It comes for the Tinder account scroller, the selfie pole tricks at social events, and Snapchat bae.  What can glorify the selfie more than putting the selfie in the hands of Krishna and Radha?  What can open our third eye better than seeing the Instagram logo beam from the heart chakra of Buddha?  Das Naiz captivates us with the selfies that speak to our selfie souls.  With modern day technological jargon and cultural references, these pieces of art are a product of our times.  We feel at peace looking at them because they break us into pieces that can be seen as a reflection of our previous lives should you believe in reincarnation; they allude to future versions of selves that will evolve far beyond the selfie –god and goddess forbid.  

Das Naiz: The Selfie God Guru

A “Casualie”, (noun):The act of taking a selfie as though by accident, with no intention of looking pretty.  #casualie

So while you’ve over there pondering whether or not another selfie is one too many, one too much, Das Naiz encourages your behavior; Das Naiz pressures the selfie into existence and persistence.  Das Naiz, aka Adrita Das, is an “illustration and visuals laced with dark humour intended mostly to make people feel better about their lives.”  Therefore, if the selfie brings you happiness, then by all means, take a few more, make entire folders for selfies, turn all social media accounts into a shrine for the selfie.  There are no limits; let the selfie make you limitless.  Just as the elite were painting themselves time and again, reinventing poses, changing costumes, we, too, can model our current actions after those who came before us and in that way become mirror images of previous selves in order to replicate onto future selves.  Selfie away, selfie until the future has swalows the selfie whole and we are nothing but a floating nebula of selfie ecstasy.

Find Das Naiz here and here.  

 

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

hustle*: Hardcore Boxed-In

Being a stripper is hardcore.

It’s not about the acrobatics or the art of stripping that makes it hardcore, that stuff comes later; this is if you want those tricks of the trade to be part of your repertoire. Some settle for their own version of stage work, I being one of them. It makes no difference, anyways. Guys are in it for the t&a; ready to scheme on set of lap dances or underpay by accident. They might want company, sure, fine, whatever; but the majority blabber away with their pricks all stiff and sticky with pre-cum.

It’s not about the drugs or drinking, the binges, the tirades, the blackouts. It’s not about the underground full-penetration work that happens in the backrooms; it’s not even about the sleazy hand jobs that can’t be detected by most.

What makes stripping hardcore is that it’s a chosen life of both recklessness and control, of objectification and empowerment. I know you can understand those words and see what I’m getting at. But until you spin on a greasy pole in platform stilettos with a g-string just big enough to cover your vagina slit and get 1) just stares, no tips 2) a couple of bucks, torn or 3) rained on, you can’t know the ups and downs of the game and how they can directly and indirectly affect your self-worth. You cannot know the lengths of stripping if you don’t let it insert itself into you, that’s just how it goes. No one here is asking for your sympathy. We not even talking feelings here, that’s how hardcore we be. We don’t talk feelings, not real ones, at least.

I never thought of myself as hardcore. Sure, I might have wanted to be hardcore or even acted the part, but deep down I was sensitive, one might even say a poet by nature. I rebelled, but nothing memorable or worth mentioning in this piece. However, I did feel boxed-in. The feeling stemmed from home and trickled into any romantic relationship I would try to entertain. There was this feeling of me being a girl I couldn’t be or didn’t want to be in the first place. A me that was never pretty enough; perhaps I was worried about my feminine measure, my coolness, my feminine-coolness in the game of life and stripping.

I was the girl who put on a good show, talked the talk, but was terrified of walking the walk. No one would dare call me afraid because I had fearless written all over me– right down to my combat boots. But deep down, I shook in those boots like a baby deer taking first steps. And walking in platform heels for the first time having never even worn regular heels looks even worse than it sounds. I dreaded those wobbly first steps, yet the call of the wild, the call to be wild, was so strong in me that ignoring it would have been going against nature, against self. Even at a young age, I knew I had to stay true to some semblance of self I had been given upon birth. No, I wasn’t born to be a stripper, but I was born to be my version of hardcore. The girl was becoming a woman; and the process was one I couldn’t turn away from.

There was no stopping me. No convincing me otherwise. No telling me it couldn’t be done. I was fresh from the box, store bought and paid for; and I was debuting myself before the world –the sex worker world. It might have been easier to walk on stilts and join the circus had I not been so focused on capitalism.

So there I was, all bloody from the amniotic sac –wet, dripping, animated. I learned that tightening the ankle strap too much would prevent mobility, thus falling. It is such a sad thing to see a pretty girl stumble and crash after recently gyrating a pole or another human body. It’s that embarrassed-for-others feeling and the fact that it could, and probably would, eventually happen to you, to me.

All the non-thought and the moving, forever moving, and being semi-human is pretty hardcore; it’s like spending half the day with zombie, robot, vampires who all play the part of human and get three stars out of five. Which isn’t bad –not bad at all– not for some amateur, b-movie scene. Most of these bodies were born to be that type of hardcore anyways; the full of heart and not much brain kind –the kind of hardcore that makes us all question existence and energy and sucking the exhaust pipes with hopes of laying down forever, the deepest sleep ever.

When you have just flattened the box to which you were born and don’t realize your jumping head first into another box, life feels liberating. It almost feels like flying. I spread my arms out. I am mid-air; I recognize birds, I greet them, they greet me, then I think I see clouds. The moment is in both slow motion and sped all the way up until I feel nauseous. So I open my eyes. It’s dark, like pitch black almost. I have just enough time to grab the slippery pole before I fall. The stars are holes poked into a black sheet that line a florescent painted wall; the black light makes everything feel trippy and almost happy.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

Art Baby Gallery, Where Digital Art Comes to Kick It

When you go to Art Baby Gallery, you realize you should’ve been here a long time ago. When you arrive, you feel a big yes building up in your throat and you get kind of obsessed at first click. When you witness Art Baby Gallery, you know you’re seeing something that must continue to be in this world for as long as man and machine co-exist–– which is like forever, we suspect. Art Baby Gallery is sure to spawn babies and siblings, fetuses, floral and fauna, and more; she is on the brink of birthing a whole future generation of Internet art and artists.

Art Baby Gallery

Rebecca Storm

 

Digital art is nothing new. Nor is the idea of producing or displaying art online. We’ve been making digital art as early as the 1970s; since humans have formed relationships with machines, we’ve created some pretty amazing, radical, and sometimes strange things –there’s no stopping the unstoppable duo. And it’s obvious that computers and humans go hand in hand; the chemistry is tangible, so thick you can cut it not only with a knife, but with a digital knife or a pixelated tongue or computer-drawn switchblade.

Art Baby Gallery

Gabby Bess + Samantha Conlon

Founded and run by Grace Miceli, who is an internet artist herself, Art Baby Gallery expands notions of what a gallery should and could be. The challenge lies in the traditional space that an art gallery normally evokes. Miceli deconstructs that. She’s built an online platform where viewing can be done in private, at one’s own pace, at the complete pleasure and leisure of the viewer, and without any pressure from the outside world. Just going into the world can be hard these days; and entering art galleries can sometimes feel intimidating. Art Baby Gallery lets you browse and admire from your cozy bed, messy desk, and/or bathroom. You can literally see several exhibits in one day and all in your underwear. How dope is that? Miceli’s approach might not be novel, however, she is exclusive in the art she includes on the site; which seems to be selected from digitally-based artists, artists who make art for art’s sake, marginalized and anti-establishment artist. Not to mention that fact that she’s opened a space for artists who might not have had the opportunity or a place to display their work. Miceli is an internet art faerie with her own brand of glittery magic dust.

Art Baby Gallery

Ayqa Khan

Shattering standard notions about what an art gallery experience should look and feel like, Art Baby proves to the art world that ideas are meant to be messed with and challenged. Giving the viewer an in-home art gallery experience where one doesn’t have to even leave the couch demonstrates the power of art and empowers artists to reach beyond the walls of a typical gallery setting. Now, the possibilities are endless. Now art not only breaks boundaries, but breaks the forth wall. It’s not just up close and personal, it’s all up in your private space, in your face. Art like this is intimate and raw. And this is the future of art, thanks to Art Baby Gallery.

Art Baby Gallery

Jazmine Weber

The goal is to empower artists in every which way. Whether that means supporting work that might be less mainstream, granting space to art that might not be otherwise chosen by a gallery, or praising work for its genuine content and not its ability to commodify the industry –Art Baby Gallery indulges art for the sake of art. And in doing so is building a community which is what art is all about in the first place.

Art Baby Gallery

India K

India K

More so today than ever before, online sectors for art and artistic endeavors is growing. Art Baby is one step ahead of the game and is already doing IRL exhibitions and teaming up with other galleries to throw functions and hangouts that promote art and not dollars. In a world where money fuels the majority of projects, Art Baby seems to be giggling, blowing bubbles, and creating despite the capitalist monster. Art Baby seems to be saying, Take that art world. She can do that because she’s got her own mission and vision; she’s already got her own scene. So go ahead and jump into the waters, surf the inter-waves and webs of Art Baby, and chill out for a minute; there’s always time to kick it with art when Art Baby Gallery is around. And she’s around, she’s but a few clicks away.

Art Baby Gallery

Mariana Pacho López

Art Baby Gallery can be found here & here.

Grace Miceli can be found here & here; her shop Art Baby Girl here.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

Decolonize This Place: Truth behind Museum Walls

The world is for the taking. It can be bought and sold like any slave because we are slaves; this is about color, yes, but the issue being highlighted is the socio-economic infrastructure of this country and others. These systems have been put into motion to keep the rich in place, to keep the elite prospering in the process of world domination. They pit the colonizer against the non-colonizer. The non-colonizer is black and brown, but today, more so than ever, the non-colonizer can be other colors, too, because the haves keep taking from, humiliating, subjugating, denigrating, and killing the havenots.

And if we thought that safe zones might be places like museums and art galleries, where the other 99% of the population can support each other’s projects made against the backdrop of illusions and lies created by the 1%, we were and are wrong. Even in the face of police brutality, the increasing 1% take-over, the alt+right, the comeback of so many hate groups that have been in hiding, the hate groups that refuse to hide, and the sheer refusal to recognize human rights –some artistic spaces seem to align with a subversive stance. The truth rests behind the curtain; museums are puppets that propagate peace, yet demonstrate one-side collections of art. That’s against total fairness, against humanity. A museum stands for freedom and justice, right?

Decolonize This Place: Truth behind Museum Walls

But what does a museum really stand for? That’s the purpose of a museum? Is a museum’s objective to speak to the wound or make it bigger? Is the museum’s goal to support artistic voice or the dollar? How does a museum grant space for artists who are fighting against the powers that be? Is the museum just a wolf in sheep’s clothing? These are the type of questions Decolonize This Place pose to the public.

Decolonize This Place rejects the borrowing of artistic spaces for 1% summits and holds museums accountable for housing exhibitions that foster inequality. If Occupy Museum sounds familiar, then consider Decolonize This Place their cousin. Decolonize This Place recognizes the illegal activities in Israel, against Palestinians, and they are calling for action.

Decolonize This Place: Truth behind Museum Walls

Decolonize This Place is attacking Brooklyn Museum. Decolonize This place is protesting against an exhibition titled This Place that highlights Israeli artists from the West Bank, yet carelessly left out the Palestinian existence altogether, not just lives, but the taking and disregard for human life. Decolonize This Place created Agitprop! in response, and it continues to grow as protestors demand answers. What is happening to our museums and how can we preserve integrity? What is a museum anymore, anyways?

Decolonize This Place: Truth behind Museum Walls

As it says on their about tab, “Decolonize This Place is a movement space, action-oriented around indigenous struggle, black liberation, Free Palestine workers and de-gentrification.” And they are not alone, they have some heavy hitters among their collaborators:

Aida Youth Center—Palestine, AKA Exit, Al-Awda NY, Black Poets Speak Out, Bronx Not For Sale, Chinatown Arts Brigade, Common Practice New York, Direct Action Front for Palestine, El Salón, Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.), Hyperallergic, Insurgent Poets Society, Jive Poetic, Mahina Movement.

They come strong and they are not backing down.

Decolonize This Place offers workshops, gives benefit concerts, and educates the public. They are behind #NODAPL, #BlackLivesMatter, and #FreePalestine.

Should you be called to action or be moved by the fearless audacity behind Decolonize This Place, have a look at their site where you can learn about upcoming events.

Find them on here and here. Find them and support them in a neighborhood near you.

If you’re in New York City, Insurgent Poets Society will have an even on December 7th and two open houses on Saturday, December 10th and Saturday, December 17th. Link up, stand up, raise up.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

hustle*: Clients Oh Clients

hustle* Clients Oh Clients

Most of my clients were of the seasoned variety; retired, or very close to it –grey or greying, at the very least salt and peppered. With their working life behind them and not much left ahead, they wandered in bubbles of pre-existing youth and unrequited dreams. They stumbled between death and dying. Some were even fulfilling fantasies of yesteryear, going for the really hot chick that, as young males, they didn’t dare attempt to approach.

Some, I could be almost certain, had a granddaughter fetish, mesmerized by supple skin that has long left them, the grip on decade old photos. Perhaps they hoped to verify their masculinity through the purchase of female flesh because real men can buy things like flesh. Hello colonizer. My clients didn’t mean to be misogynists, at least that’s what I told myself. Such perceptions are so tangled with and an integral part of their generation. It’s hard to take the dominator from his pedestal –it comes with their whiteness. Almost all of my regulars were old, white men.

Since retiring they returned to fishing, a pastime of tradition and boyish wonder, virility, splendor in the grass. This time around, no fancy lures or hooks. What attracts a fish most? Valuables, something shiny and gold, and money, of course, lots of it. Jewelry in fistfuls can be got from these guys; wear the pieces for a while until they lose their initial luster, then pawn them later. Money flows like a river teeming with excited and excitable salmon; hungry for the hunt, money just another commodity. They are generous which makes the guilt a little strange, but backstage counting those stacks wipes away any semblance of negativity and whoosh. You’re off paying your bills and buying bottles of pills, groceries, new thongs.

Ain’t no stripper happier than when she scores herself the timeworn client.   No stripper will turn away the old man customer, no matter how old, no matter how perverted. Okay, there are limits, I guess, but old man winter’s company is always welcomed and met with a smile or a coquettish glance. At times, these clients are even fought over; tooth and nail type stuff. With gifts like villas in Italy, furnished apartments, the latest in electronics. The sugar daddy is a highly prized perk of the sex worker business. Not every stripper will have the pleasure, though. Some watch from the sidelines, gawk, covet, hate.

Why is this type of client so desired? He’s simple, that’s why. He tells you what he wants and sometimes he hands over money just for talking. This client-stripper relationship is hand in glove: less pretentious because no one has to fake anything, less stressful because he’s not looking for a $20 hand job, less work because sometimes all he wants is to sit next to a pretty girl and feel youth shine from within. And he’s forgetful which makes getting an extra few bucks easy. He doesn’t like to argue because he spent a lifetime arguing with his wife.

Not all are so ideal. But most are, hence the battles between bitches.

Not all are so old, some are outright elderly. One ends up being more of a nurse than a companion; there are the unexpected bodily fluids and the cane to deal with. Some girls cozy right up to this and feel at home being maternal than fetishized.

Not all are so innocent. Some are freaks while others use their age as an excuse for being handsy.

The seasoned client wants a reminder that he is still living. He stumbles into the black box, fumbles through the dark, and finally witnesses Candyland. It’s the gleaming eyes, like baby boys, that give away the repeat customers from the newbies. What the mature guys got going for them is that they never seem to get bored of the divine female figure whereas the young’uns, the hustlers and players all got something to say. Everyone’s a critic, but no one’s been asked to critique. The older gentleman loves all the shapes and sizes. He’s a real connoisseur, alright. But don’t let him fool you, he’ll tell you of his army days, he’ll tell you what a playboy he was and how he took advantage of foreign women overseas and at home. Once a colonizer, always a colonizer.

The seasoned client delays the most, out of all customers, in adjusting to the dark in so many ways. Some talk about the guilt they feel for having thought about entering, for entering. Some use that as a sympathy tactic, others are opening their hearts. He brings up a dead wife, his prostate, erectile dysfunction, eating soup alone.

All of them are tanned. They soak up the Florida sun as if winter were nipping at their heels. They smell of outside, sunscreen, and singed hair. They often talk about the sun, how it brightens their day just a bit, how it gives them a reason to get out of bed, how it reminds them of their childhood. If they talk about their younger days, you can be sure they will convince you they were something of a stud. And while that may be true, until you have proof, it’s all speculation. If they bring in photos of their army days, make a copy so you can prove that he once existed. If they gift you a military metal, politely decline because it’s his only legacy. If he tries to touch you, let him, these are his last moments in life and we all deserve a little feel.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

The House of ia: Peek into a Pineal Gland

Jillayne Hunter and kb Thomason are a duo, like the duo of all duos. They are a duo of unseen proportions, you can’t even dream this stuff up, not like they do. Well, maybe you have dreamt them if you’ve broken that third-dimensional wall. If you’ve even been in an altered state or dabbled in ceremonies of magical of colossal proportions, remnants of their ruminants suspend there.  They are in the in between of the art world, betwixt all living things.    

Like a set of twins, a set of eyes, a set of breasts or thighs; emerging as The House of ia, the duo mirrors itself into oblivion and a future where art is something altogether strange, unusual, yet fetally familiar. Hunter and Thomason set the stage for other duos to follow. It’s as though they’ve come from the same pod yet are not of the same planet. Or are they? One wonders from which planet or plane their ideas emerge after browsing then obsessing over their videos. It’s obvious that pods and planets matter none when it relates to transitioning art into another form.

Hunter and Thomason are filling themselves up with seed to birth a new planet, to birth a new them; even to become the seed, they tickle the sapling. They cycle and recycle our predecessor’s work to offer us their blessings via their amebic-like body of work; all about the progenitor, they are apparitions of the past calling us to look at how all time and space collide. The House of ia challenges us to reconsider our very existence from birth to perception and even death. Notions of stardust and galaxy travel are interspersed in word and image as they relate to our human experience on planet Earth.   

Like a set of twins, a set of eyes, a set of breasts or thighs; emerging as The House of ia, the duo mirrors itself into oblivion and a future where art is something altogether strange, unusual, yet fetally familiar. Hunter and Thomason set the stage for other duos to follow. It’s as though they’ve come from the same pod yet are not of the same planet. Or are they? One wonders from which planet or plane their ideas emerge after browsing then obsessing over their videos. It’s obvious that pods and planets matter none when it relates to transitioning art into another form.  Hunter and Thomason are filling themselves up with seed to birth a new planet, to birth a new them; even to become the seed, they tickle the sapling. They cycle and recycle our predecessor’s work to offer us their blessings via their amebic-like body of work; all about the progenitor, they are apparitions of the past calling us to look at how all time and space collide. The House of ia challenges us to reconsider our very existence from birth to perception and even death. Notions of stardust and galaxy travel are interspersed in word and image as they relate to our human experience on planet Earth.

In like men in the folds of a fallen tent, i & ii the poetics wax a moon into the roundest thing out there. In The Colonization of Mars- 15 Moons (4) it’s the return to a self we’ve long forgotten because our gaze has been more navel than galaxy-bound. In  A Site Too Wonderful For Me blatant witchy spells are cast all over the place.  

Exploring the body through film, Hunter and Thomason arrive at births, un-births, and re-births. They encounter unseen experiences of the artistic endeavors. They don’t just push boundaries, they push each other and the public’s eye; they force vision upon the viewer and in that they become both the shaman and the medicine.   

The ´Humans Project´defies what we think about art: or at least that’s the objective. Part of the Witches of Bushwick residency, Hunter and Thomason use space to explore textures and bodies. They shrink down notions in religious, political, social, and sexuality spheres only to blow them up again. Hunter and Thomason are as tricky as any witch; it’s no wonder to watch them is to watch a spell unfold right before your very eyes. And as the spectator, all you can do is believe in what you see and feel because there is nothing more. You are left with no other choice. The grotesqueness left as a taste and memory –both beloved.  

The House of ia

In Vernae, an 3.5 hour art installation, they require the viewers dedication as does most of their work. Dedication to watch, to study, to view, un-view, and digest.  It’s a process, not just an art project.  

The House of ia

Hunter and Thomason dance a dance their own as seen in the experimental corporeal study of Matryoshka Research. It is the imposing of self upon self that one can see how layered we are, and how layered the dimensions in which we live are, too. The video explores the removal of masks, organic states, and contortion.  

Questioning this flesh and this rat race, questioning the lines that trace back to an ancestor you may or may not have yet met. The House of ia returns us to the spaces we don’t remember or haven’t been to yet.  They give us freedom to visit places we aren’t sure exist, but ones that we create. It is the study of biology as seen through the eyes of magic –they dissolve our notions and fortify new rituals.

The House of ia is its own breed, a breed not yet named or identified, but one hundred percent embodied by Hunter and Thomason. They embody ethereal elements and esoteric energies, they are bubbling with an art that might not be associated with anything you’ve ever experienced before, but once you see it, you crave more.  In the flesh, The House of ia is a creature to be feared and to be stroked. Won’t you come behold the horrific glory?

For more information on The House of ia, visit their Instagram @thehouseofia. Watch their videos here.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

Hustle* Box Cut

When I first started stripping, I had short hair –it was a boy-cut, really. I wouldn’t even say it was an attractive haircut, not like some of these avant-garde, cool cuts that other girls get. And definitely not a haircut a stripper would or even should have. Mine was the result of an end of the semester breakdown. With the female dorm empting out, much like my college funds, I slipped into the bathroom, tied my long hair into a ponytail and chopped it all off. The scissors were my roommate’s who was studying fashion design; they were big and chunky and not for cutting hair. What I was left with was something that looked and felt like my reality; chaotic and unfinished. I was in a panic. How would I pay for college? And how would I fix this hair of mine?

No one tells you that there are actual try-outs for a stripping position. I thought that it went something like this: you just go in and if you’re a girl or girlish, then you’re hired. But no, it doesn’t work like that. And I was as surprised as you. They want to see your body, first. And they want to see how you move your body, how comfortable you are with others looking at your body. I cannot recall feeling unready –as cliché as it sounds– I was born ready. I might have been more ready than most because something told me to do this. Plus, I had the pressure of education weighting down on me like the Codex Seraphinianus.

Without any clue what stripping involved, I brought in a bag with some gowns saved from my high school proms, I had attended three, and one pair of thongs, wine colored and lacey. Once I scanned the room and studied the girl’s outfits, I realized that what I had brought was the stuff I thought stripping was. Stripping was none of those things. It was not any item of clothing that fit into regular life –not at all. Women were in bodysuits, thigh highs, short tube dresses, skinny thongs, corsets, and some strange stringy things I had never before seen in my life. Later I would try to wear all of these and would settle on the bra and panty set –a real classic look. But it was clear that all of their clothing had been cut from the same cloth, some lycra-blend that clung to the body like plastic wrap, preserving them for as long as possible. I wanted to be cut from a timeless cloth; well, maybe not I, per se, but Marlowe. It took me a few months to learn my stripper style, but experimentation was all part of it. I tried men’s shirts with ties, I tried body stockings, I tried floor length gowns. It all felt too contrived, too of them and not of me. What I was looking for was a style that glorified Marlowe. And I knew Marlowe well. I had known her all my life. We had danced together in my adolescent mirror, we had studied our bodies under blankets at night, we had committed mutual masturbation.

Marlowe was a girl of very few frills, simple even. But what carried her through a shift would be her attitude not the pieces of fabric on her body. No one would fuck with Marlowe –that’s the standard she set for herself. And it worked. She was made up of one part sass, one part frankness, and one part focus –the rest legs, milkshake thick legs. Her decision to rarely smile was part of her character, too. She was the serious stripper, the one who sat in the corner away from the other girls. She was the one who decided that drinking or drugs on the job was a no-no. She was the one who was very particular about her music and make-up. She was the one that never smoked in front of customers. Marlowe wanted to get in and get out –all the while counting stacks. I had already planned this out in my head, way before I knew the try-out existed; Marlowe and I conspiring in the all-female dorm room back at university.

My try-out was, I’m sure, like any other try-out; however, I doubt any girl felt as comfortable as I did. Or maybe they did, what did I know. It’s possible that there were hundreds of Marlowe-esque types roaming the world on a hustle for study flow. But I was ready to take it all off for strangers. And in that moment, I came to understand myself more. I understood how sure of myself I had become even at a young tender age of 19. Years in the business would rip that to shreds and I would have to rebuild myself from the ground up once the stripping stopped.

I vaguely remember the shoes I wore, but they were not the platforms of the other strippers. I think I even wore my glasses on stage. I’m sure the perverts were into that nerd-chick thing. I didn’t get to pick the music, so the DJ somehow thought that ACDC would do the trick. The guys lined up around the stage once they heard I was a newbie. I was ready to fill my thong with dirty dollar bills; I was ready to rob people in a very legal way.

Looking back, it doesn’t even seem like my story –it’s a scene from a decent B-horror film. Later, I would get chopped up in one of the private champagne rooms, but not before grinding my way to an orgasm on top of a stranger who would be my lover slash killer. Something like that.

It never occurred to me that having short hair would make for a less than desirable stripper. I was so removed from the world of standard sexiness; I was a bubble-girl who had only known sex and sexy through my own experiences and not those of the outside world. That same year I had lost my virginity. But I quickly realized that short hair would not get me the paper I needed; I was on a mission to stack. So I went to a beauty supply store and bought a wig.

My wig, in a few words, was the replica of Cleopatra’s style, less black and more chestnut, reddish even. When I put on the wig and looked at myself in the mirror I felt a history of myself looking back –I was certain I had been this person before. And as quickly as I took to my new identity, I knew it had to be true. No one could tell me otherwise. It was a face I had seen but not seen –it was a face that had remained unseen until that moment. Somehow, I was following the footsteps of my past lives. Marlowe was just another name I attributed to a spirit I had known so well.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.

HUSTLE* Lunch Box

At the first strip joint I worked at there was a free buffet –a bonus for lunchtime patrons just cheap enough to pay the cover, but not for lunch or to tip the girls. It was not a full-buffet, mind you, but it had fried stuff and wings and shit. Also, hot dogs and sausages rotating on heated metal rods next to the whitest of white pasty buns from the discount bakery down the road. I had to pick up a dozen packages one day before work, so I know where they came from. The manager, Tom, asked me for the favor and, in return, I wouldn’t have to tip out the DJ or the house mom that day. I agreed. And the buffet guys got their precious hot dog buns.

Tom often referred to his male part as Jerry, like the cartoon character. “Jerry’s so sly, he’s a feisty one, more weasel than mouse really,” he’d say, jingling change in his pockets. Tom couldn’t catch him, couldn’t keep track of him –I think you see the point here. We were so repulsed by this thought that my friend and I had to turn it into a joke, otherwise we’d go green with nausea thinking about fat Tom’s pecker. We’d whisper to customers under our breaths, “Have yourself another Jerry, buddy!”   We snickered into cupped hands and turned into little girls. Once Tom heard us, but he just shoved his hands in his pocket and grinned from a very dark place.

Having a buffet or food of any kind near naked girls in heels equals filth, disaster and the Midwest. That is until I went to Las Vegas and saw how things were really done. Their buffets were delicate sushi and spring rolls. They had cloth napkins and wet wipes. They used real plates and not soak-through, flimsy paper ones. They had real silverware and a bathroom guy and ramekins for sauces. It was a classy set-up for sure. The customers ate with chopsticks even. It was a world I had never seen before where men wore belts and not suspenders.

The black box where I worked at was doing its best imitation. I think the name might have been Paradise for the objective was to give men a place where they could lick their fingers clean of chicken wing sauce while getting their cocks sucked. It was gluttony and sodomy, it was Sodom and Gomorrah –but for some it was simple sin without sinning.

For me it was fire and brimstone, adulterers and pedophiles –all lit with moments of greedy bliss.

There was no place he’d rather be, the common man. Rules were not really enforced and sometimes girls got broken or left broke. Women were no more than a thing to be played with like a schnitzel, like a cock. And if a man wanted to play, he’d get his way.

I did my best game by hiding in the corner, holding back gags watching greasy weenies slip into mouth after mouth.

Seeing men shove phallic foods into their mouths while ogling a pair of lady bits –well, it made a young thing like me chuckle. Those wieners must have produced envy in many a men.

Oily fingers fishing for dollar bills to tuck into g-string after g-string, with the occasional titty-grab. Hygiene was wiping down a wet couch with the bartender’s moldy dishrag that soaked in a magic water pot with Clorox. Hygiene was clean hands on week old trousers and using ties as big man bibs.

Oh, how men chopped away at those porky, beefy long links drooling over the meaty bits of nipples. Their mouths and fingers were slippery wet and slimy like slugs, dead baby bird or aborted embryos. As I watched with the eyes of a child, I felt something grow inside me. It conjured pictures of Roman orgies where gender didn’t matter. It made me think of transsexuals and transvestites –of which the club had plenty– and it brought me to Ginger the line cook.

Our titty-bar’s chef was a lovely 6-foot tall–in flats–bottle-blonde hermaphrodite named Ginger. She, she told me she preferred that pronoun, was as raunchy as they got and I loved slipping back to the closet-kitchen to hear her stories. She had the best almost-love stories.

Unfortunately, during one of her romps in the hay, she was whisked away in lust with a miniature Mexican man. She’d chuckle making hamburgers, “This is what he did to my face last night” and she’d pulverize the patty to pieces.

Lifting her frizzed hair from the left eye, I saw the bruise. Then she’d chuckle some more, “This is what I gave him after he beat me,” while she grabbed her genitals with that same meat-covered hand.

“He likes that shit,” she said. Tightening my mouth I said, “You should stop fucking with him, you deserve better.” But she knew and I knew that in this part of middle-America chances were unlikely and slim to none. She felt lucky that someone accepted her franks and beans as she called them. One day she’d go for the operation she swore to herself.

“I won’t have to tuck when I wear my cookie shorts, bitches,” she screamed towards the darkened crowd. And we laughed and munched on celery sticks.

Once she asked me if I wanted to see it, to see down there. I said sure, why not. But just as she was about to show me, Tom popped his head in. He said Jerry’d like a steak sandwich.

“I got your steak sandwich right here, big daddy,” she said as she rolled her tongue around her lips and winked that old classy porno shit of the 70s, “with a side of salchica, papi.”

Ginger was that in real life –a walking, talking blow-up doll, a big haired tramp. Tom snarled and said 20 minutes or else. When he left, she said that Tom liked butt stuff, that’s why he could never keep Jerry on a leash. Jerry had a mind of his own.

“I let him do me once, but Jerry is like the tiniest little creature, honey. I could’ve filled my mouth with a dozen Jerries,” slipping the steak onto the grill she spun around. “Wanna pickle, doll?” she passed me the jar and I gobbled down like three.

WORDS BY:  Jacklyn Janeksela

jacklyn janeksela, MFA is an artist and an energy. Find her work @ art mugre, jota cuadrada, &female filet. Her music with The Velblouds @ band camp.