BEHIND BLACK VENUS STUDIO:
Multi-Disciplinary Artist | Curator | Lifelong Learner
Rae (they/them) is a multi-disciplinary artist and curator based in Chicago, exploring themes of identity, visibility, and belonging through a diverse array of mixed media and miniature dioramas. As a Black, transracially adopted queer, Rae uses their art to examine the intersection between stories of homelands, bloodlines, sexuality, and racial justice. Through the exploration of small details, often ignored in favor of grand gestures, each miniature diorama or collage reflects their search for identity. Through art, Rae invites the viewer to engage with difficult conversations and consider our smallest actions as part of a shared journey towards acceptance and liberation.
Beyond their individual artistic pursuits, Rae is a curator, a connector of like-minded artists, and a champion of third spaces that challenge the status quo. Their journey in curating and organizing began with a residency at Gallery Cabaret & Q4 Gallery/MultiKulti, where they curated monthly themed art showcases featuring 10 artists and 4 bands. Collectively, Rae booked over 100 unique artists and 50 bands for this series alone, fostering an artistic community that continues to thrive.
Rae's commitment to community and creativity extends beyond their studio walls. They are actively involved in various collectives, including the Black & Brown Babes Collective, where they co-created and served as the executive director. The inception of Black and Brown Babes was driven by a profound need for a safe space where people of color could come together to address the complexities of their experiences in a predominantly segregated city. These are not just gatherings; it is a revolution in fellowship, where individuals from various ethnic backgrounds, genders, and orientations can connect in a non-monetized space that prioritizes their joy, needs and self-care.
In addition to their curatorial work, Rae has been part of significant projects like 'OUR LOVE/WORK WILL PREVAIL,' a music and art show fundraiser that raised $10K for www.swingleft.org, and co-produced “For Your Consideration” FYC Zine, spotlighting the stories of womyn and POC musicians and visual artists within Chicago.
When not creating art, Rae dedicates their organizing expertise to teaching art classes to teens, learning new skills at South Side Chicago Hackerspace or working for the man as a data analyst.
I'm open to commissions and collaborations! Whether you have a unique project in mind, a vision you'd like to bring to life, or you simply want to connect and share ideas-
please reach out.