Samantha L. Taylor, Columnist, PQ Monthly
This is the first installment in a new series I’ve created called “Community Spotlight” where LGBTQ people will be featured for the rad work they do in our community.
This post puts the spotlight on Cristy C. Road, a queer Cuban visual artist, and writer, based in New York City. In this feature, Road shares the forthcoming NEXT WORLD TAROT project. Road gets real witchy with and grace, in this post.
If you missed out on the Collective Tarot when it was available, this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to own a deck that’s affirming of various ethnicities, sexualities, and gender expressions.
Road’s astrological info: Sun and Rising are both in Gemini, with a Cancer Moon. Mercury, also Gemini; and Venus in Aries. When pressed for more info, Road said, “Does the rest even matter?”
Samantha L. Taylor, PQ Monthly: Do you identify as an activist or an artist? Why?
Cristy C. Road: I identify as both. I think expressing myself through making crisp lines and experimenting with fun color schemes makes me an artist, but my message and my goals in life are always related to awareness and justice. I don’t always think that my personal choices (like self-publishing my work, or selling stuff on sliding scale) don’t necessarily make me an “activist.” I want my art to exist in a very specific, accessible, affordable way; but I see that as a way of exercising political values. I think activism involves action – creating an educational or informative piece of art and displaying it or sharing it is activism for sure.
PQ: What inspires you?
CCR: Magic. Punk. Cuban food and people and music. Cuban power that gets dismissed by Republican energy. Amazing performances by queer people of color like Merrie Cherry and Kirya Traber. Sunsets. The park. My roof. Yellow lights at night on streets that are mostly empty. Hanging out with people and crying together and eating together and playing punk music together. My cat, Miss chippy. Anger, Retaliation, and the drive to overthrow all the fucked up things that we have to swallow every day when we turn on the internet or the TV. More cats.
CCR: I’m a visual artist and writer, and also a pop-punk musician. I’ve been publishing my art and writing since 1997 when I started a zine. My band is called The Homewreckers and I sing and play guitar. I basically am occupied with feelings and expressing them, as you can see via my astrological landscape.
I have a few books published, about gender, race, culture, sexuality, coping with trauma, and generally coming of age punk rock love stories. My hobbies include home decorating, making flan, walking around really late at night and going on “adventures” through many of NYC’s lovely parks. I also like dancing to reggaeton. I guess that’s a hobby even though I take it so seriously. I was going to bring up reading Tarot and being a full-time Bruja Cubana by way of Miami – but that’s a lifestyle.
PQ: What projects are you currently working on?
CCR: I’m currently working on the NEXT WORLD TAROT, a tarot deck that primarily focuses on fighting systematic oppression in everyday life. The characters are mostly queer, mostly people of color, mostly expressing some kind of dissent towards the world we know, that gauges success and worth on financial wealth, assimilation, whiteness, heteronormativity, and authority. I think that society as a whole really values competition as oppose to the community, and I think it values conformity over loving your truest self. I want this deck to feature a constant embrace of our most authentic selves. I want to show bodies and minds that art either ignored or fetishized, which isn’t new to the queer experience; or the act of creating queer characters in art. Next World has been in the works for a long time, but as the collaborators have parted ways, this has become my primary project. As my personal relationship to magic and ancestry strengthened, this project increased.
PQ: How can the community support you and this work?
CCR: So far, just having a response is all I have ever needed. I think my goal is to share ideas and exchange art and create communities, even if temporary, like an event. For now, however, sharing or donating to the Kickstarter fundraiser is incredibly important. People who have shared the news, or emailed their people, have severely affected the outcome. It [has] been a surprise, and also a delight because I had NO IDEA all the backers would be PRE-ORDERS! It actually allowed me to realize what kind of an art community I have created through my work. I don’t usually sell original work, at all. Let alone for thousands of dollars (even though I added a big reward for original work just to see what happens TBH). However, the predominant pre-order donations have actually shown me how my community supports me or identifies with me; and its clearly through the stuff I mentioned before – understanding, appreciating it, exchanging it.
Queers everywhere are abuzz about this tarot deck. I highly suggest you preorder super soon as there are only about 8 days left on the Kickstarter! Also, my birthday is coming up…I’m just sayin’.
If you would like to nominate someone or yourself for a feature, please contact me here.
Samantha L. Taylor is an undergraduate student at Portland State University. She is a McNair scholar, a writer, and an artist. Samantha drinks copious amounts of black tea to get through the days and consumes a fair amount of sci-fi to get through the nights.