Attention art lovers: You must be aware that one of Seattle's most massive art events of the season is happening this Saturday. It's Gage Academy of Art's annual Drawing Jam, which is not, surprisingly, an event where you literally draw jam, but rather an event where you jam out while drawing.
Hosted at Gage's Capitol Hill campus, Drawing Jam is an all-day arts festival where participants are encouraged to roam the Gage's campus and use free art supplies to draw the Jam's cast of over 50 dancers, musicians, models, and performers. Expect art nerds, comic book characters,
naked people nude models, food trucks, cool bands, and—this year—some of Seattle's best drag talent. (Oh, and parents: kids under 15 get in free.)
The Stranger chatted with John Freeman, Gage's Event and Exhibition Manager, and drag queens Harlotte O'Scara and Butylene O'Kipple about Saturday's jam. (BTW, O'Scara and O'Kipple's relationship extends beyond co-hosting Family Meal with the O'Kipples—they're also a very lovely couple.)
Why include drag queens?
John: As a member of the LGBTQ community, queer representation is of huge importance to me, especially in the arts. Our teen outreach programs, led by Gage's Youth Director Andrea Goodman, are incredibly inclusive and aim to foster safe spaces for LGBTQ and QTPOC youth (quite successfully, I think). Ninety percent of teens attending our programs identify as LGBTQ and 10 percent of that number identify as trans or non-binary.
John: We are delighted with those statistics, and hope to continue to provide all-inclusive safe spaces and programs for youth going forward. As many Seattle artists are pushing for progressive representation in the community as a whole, I took this event as an opportunity to angle towards that cause through performance.
The performers I chose this year—Cookie Couture, Betty Wetter, Harlotte O'Scara, Butylene O'Kipple, and voguing/waacking/femme POC dance group Malicious Allure—do some incredible things for the community.
Butylene and Harlotte, how did you get involved in all this?
Butylene: I was "discovered" as a model for Drawing Jam by John whilst buying durian fruit at Uwajimaya, wearing my favorite Gucci tracksuit and Snapchatting with my life partner Harlotte O'Scara. It was life-changing.
Butylene: HA! Just kidding... Actually, John asked me at Pony in between tequila shots, and I roped Harlotte into it with me.
Harlotte: I've also done a little figure modeling here in Seattle. I'm happy to contort my body for the artistic fulfillment of the up and coming legendary artistic children!
Harlotte and Butylene, both of your drag styles are colorful and visual. How does the art world overlap with your drag persona?
Harlotte: I've always been a big fan of pop-art and comics. I studied illustration in college, and that's informed a lot of my drag. I've also had the pleasure of working on costumes for the Seattle Shakespeare Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Teatro ZinZanni.
Butylene: My experience is varied! I have a background in modern dance, painting, photography, costume design and video work. These days the paint goes on my face, and all the photo editing experience really comes in handy whilst Facetuning ANY and EVERY photo of me that will be seen by the public.
What can we expect from you on Saturday?
Butylene: Let's just say I'll be "feeling" myself...
Harlotte: One part nude leotard, two parts peaches, rinse with glitter and strain through fishnet stockings into a martini glass.
Again, follow Kingmon Creative.
And there will be naked people?
John: Yes! There will be life models in three of our creative spaces. Some will be clothed, some costumed and some nude.
See our Calendar for more details on Drawing Jam.