An Interview with Wednesday Holmes
Obviously, we're huge fans of you & your inclusive, bright illustrations. Can you tell us a bit about your artistic process?
Wednesday Holmes: That's so sweet, thank you. So when I think about creating art and resources for my space online, I usually channel any anger, fear, or anxiety into producing something that can speak to people. I've always used art as a tool to express myself. I think that using it to turn bad feelings into something beautiful is the most powerful thing I've ever done. Existing as a queer person can be really challenging and it's easy to feel silenced. But art helps me to raise my voice; it gives me the strength to talk about issues that aren't usually given gravity in real life. So in this way, I create my own world through art - a safe space that we can retreat to when we don't feel seen. I'm obsessed with colour, and I really believe in the power colour has to affect mood - my living space is full of colour and my clothes are too. My art is me, and what I want to see in the world. So when I think about making art, I think about channeling my frustrations into making something beautiful.
Was there a moment you can pinpoint where it felt imperative to display your advocacy through your work, or has it always been inherent?
Wednesday Holmes: I think advocacy has always been inside of my art. Firstly, I was just figuring out how to advocate for myself. I wanted to express adversity I've experienced and to make sense of that. I realised that queerness is a huge part of who I am and therefore there was no way I could make art without queerness in it. And unfortunately, it makes some people uncomfortable to have someone address queerness in such a way. But I realised that [because] queerness makes people uncomfortable, that doesn't mean I should shut up. And I realised that if I needed to talk about being queer then there must be thousands of others who need to talk about it too. So I went ahead and started making [art] and posting online. I think that when queer people do get platforms we feel more compelled to advocate, for a variety of reasons. We feel censored, shut out, and were harassed and silenced in our daily lives - but on Instagram, there is that space to talk and to be ourselves. And I think that's what happened to me. Making art can be about taking back power that is frequently taken from us in the real world.
We're SO excited about your Feel My Power wand! Can you talk a bit about what interested you about collaborating on a vibrator?
Wednesday Holmes: I'm so absolutely thrilled with my collaboration with COTR, Inc. and Le Wand. I'm so passionate about sex positivity within the TNGC community. I've previously worked with Unbound Babes to create them a resource about degendering sex talk and that was amazing to see that brands are really getting invested in advocating for TGNC inclusion in their work. So when I was approached for this project, I was over the moon. Firstly because Le Wand is genuinely the best toy I've ever had!! And I really want more people to experience how wonderful it is. But also the chance to make my very own box filled with trans joy and happiness is overwhelming. I truly think that this project is the most beautiful thing I've ever designed.
What's been the biggest challenge when showcasing your work?
Wednesday Holmes: The biggest challenge for me is other people. I see so much support from my community online and it has changed my life. Teachers, youth workers, healthcare workers, and parents are frequently pointing out to me that they have been able to communicate more efficiently through the support of my artwork. Hearing that my art is making a real world difference means everything to me. Also knowing that other people in my community have felt seen and heard through my work is what I work for. Unfortunately, being so open and vulnerable online has had its challenges. Any TGNC person who dares to speak in public is met with harassment. I've dealt with death threats, stalkers, and bullying online. And it's been quite traumatic at times. But I've developed boundaries to protect myself from people who are abusing their presence online and I've realised that they really can't stop me from making art no matter what.
What's been the most rewarding?
Wednesday Holmes: The most rewarding thing about all of this is that I get to have the most wonderful people in the world in my life. I've met so many queer siblings through Instagram who continue to inspire me every single day. Being on Instagram has shown me that I am never alone. In fact I am surrounded by passionate, loving queers who are filled to the brim with promise. And seeing queer people thriving inspires me to keep thriving too. The reward is friendship and community.
Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring artists that might look up to you & your platform?
1. There is no such thing as "bad" art. There is no single way to make the "right" art. Queer people making art is the most magical thing. Whatever "stage" you are at, keep going, keep making.
2. Don't ever let someone tell you you are not "good" enough to make art. If anyone can do this why not you?
3. You are unique. Your art reflects you as a person. So what is special about you? What makes you different? Celebrate that!
4. (You're going to think this is SO cliché, but it's true) Follow your heart. If you feel something in your heart and you express it through your - there will be nothing more empowering.
5. Have boundaries online:
- Block and report harassment
- Don't feel pressured to post every day - you do what is right for you and keep it at your own pace.
- Surround yourself with accounts that are good for your mental health.
- Remember that social media doesn't very often represent real life.