Over the past year, I’ve given a lot of thought to what comes next for Trans and Caffeinated. As a person, I am both fueled and hindered by stress, and I’ve spent a lot of time being simultaneously overwhelmed and excited by thinking about what I want for this space within the next few years. This is the stress from which the TransFormations Marketplace was born.
WHY TRANSFORMATIONS? WHY ART? WHY NOW?
As I allowed myself to lean into the discomfort of my uncertainty (which, I’ll admit, feels terrifying!), I found solace in something that is as magical and beautiful as it is transformative. Artwork, specifically that which was created by trans and gender non-conforming folx, has given me comfort and guidance at times when I’ve felt quite directionless.
Art has played a central role in society since pretty much the dawn of time. By nature, artwork both influences and is heavily influenced by the culture in which it exists; but the artwork that stands out the most is that which particularly transgresses societal norms or expectations.
In a society that habitually and intentionally perpetuates harmful, invalidating messages about trans and gender non-conforming people, there is something uniquely powerful about the resilience of TGNC artists who continue to put pieces of themselves out into the world in spite of this. Their work provides comfort to so many trans and gender non-conforming folx who struggle to feel seen or represented by more mainstream representation.
Introducing the transformations marketplace.
The purpose of the TransFormations Marketplace is to highlight these artists’ work. I am not a visual artist by any stretch, but where I speak through my words, these incredible trans and gender non-conforming creators speak through their art. And although it is an age-old cliche, a picture truly does speak a thousand words.
Though the artists differ in the mediums they selected, the images they created, and the themes they tackled, there is a power in recognizing what these artists share. Reflected in each artist’s work are stories of resilience, overcoming adversity, and fighting to live one’s truth in the face of a painfully persistent cishetero patriarchal paradigm.
SUBMIT YOUR transformative ART.
I plan to continually expand this page over time and will be accepting submissions on a rolling basis. If you are a trans or gender non-conforming artist, please feel free to contact me at any time. If someone you know fits the bill, I encourage you to put them in touch!
Featuring artwork on TransFormations Marketplace is now, and will forever remain, a free service. The intention of this space is to encourage users to view and purchase the transformative work of trans and gender non-conforming artists — the purpose is not for me to generate an income by benefiting from the hard work of others.
BE A TRANS ALLY.
If you are not a trans or gender non-conforming artist – which, statistically speaking, is likely most of you – my biggest ask is that you rise to the challenge of being an ally and use this space to uplift TGNC creators.
If you are anywhere near as touched by their work as I have been, I strongly encourage you to support their work by purchasing art from their personal webshops or following their art pages. As you browse the Marketplace and click on each image, you’ll find links to their personal sites underneath each of their bios.
If you find yourself particularly touched by a certain piece, I encourage you to share a link on your social media accounts or with your personal circles. Help TGNC art to inhabit spaces that have traditionally been dominated by cisgender, heterosexual creators.
Above all, continue to pursue new information and be open to learning. TGNC folx create incredible content each and every day, and being a strong ally involves making the choice to consistently pursue this content, grow from it, and share it with others.
Together, we can create a transer future.
Though this list will surely grow in the coming months, I want to extend a special thank you to the incredible artists who agreed to participate in the launch of this project, helping to make this idea a reality!
Thank you to the transformative artist Britta Alford.
Britta (they/them)—also known as UNiTED–is a nonbinary, multidisciplinary artist, sociopolitical and animal rights activist, writer, and poet based in New York City. As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, their main goal in their artistic endeavors is liberation of the marginalized, the othered, and the strange.
We must all do our part to fight for climate justice, and listen to the young embers inside of us, before they become snuffed out. Go vegan. Vote with compassion, and always try your hardest to do what’s best for the 99 percent.
Thank you to the transformative artist Darcy Convocar.
Darcy (they/them) is a queer Filipino non-binary freelance illustrator based in the NJ/NY area. They graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in Communications Design in 2018.
Growing up as a queer trans person of color, there were not many spaces where they felt safe to be themselves, but art has always provided a refuge and a voice when they felt they had neither.
Darcy is passionate about helping to create the inclusive spaces they were denied as a child and using their art to showcase and celebrate diversity within the LGBT+ community. They are also extremely passionate about rabbits.
Thank you to the transformative artist Felix Tran.
Felix (he/they) runs a shop called softvelvetboy. They’ve dedicated a lot of love, time, and intentionality into their illustrations, and they are so excited to share it with you!
They founded a non-profit called Coffee at Large, where they are the Director of Engagement and work in coffee as a barista, social media manager, and freelancer. With the support of Coffee at Large, their friends, and their community, they’ve been given so many incredible opportunities to explore creativity, graphic design, and digital illustration.
They are so freaking excited to share their work in the form of stickers or commissioned art. They hope you find something for you!
Thank you to the transformative artist Jay Holtz.
Jay (he/him) is a Chicago-based artist with a passion for making stickers, charms, and enamel pins.
Thank you to the transformative artist Jess Snyder.
Jess Snyder (they/them) is an agender and pansexual artist born and raised in New Jersey. They graduated from Centenary University in 2016 with a degree in psychology and a minor in fine arts, though art has always been their biggest passion.
They’ve dabbled in a lot of mediums and really enjoy acrylic paint, watercolors, and digital work. Jess lucked out growing up with a mother who heavily stressed the importance of doing what they loved in life and who was always supportive of their artistic endeavors.
From November 2018 to November 2019, they took it upon themself to create a series of 21 major arcana tarot cards inspired by the art collective Everything Is Terrible!; this was their biggest project and what they’re currently proudest of.
Currently, they’re working on their “Downward Dogs” project, creating cute and macabre images involving dogs you’d find in your nightmares. Many of their current pieces are for sale on shirts, accessories, and more in their shop, though they are available to make custom pieces in acrylic or watercolor paints.
Thank you to the transformative artist Meg Garcia.
Meg (they/them) is a photographer based in NYC. They have been creating since 2016. When they take photos, they want to portray a strong feeling, they want you to feel the emotion and heart they put into their art, and they want you to feel it deep in your soul and interpret what the piece means to you.
To them, art is about feeling and perspective and it’s their goal to make people feel while looking at their pieces. You can catch them in the studio, on the streets and next to the stage. They work most with abstract photography, portraits, and concert photography.
Thank you to the transformative artist Buns.
Buns (they/them) is a native of Orlando, Florida and now currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. Preferring to go by their last name, Buns is a self-taught artist who became curious about art after becoming interested in comic books at the age of 11. Along with the help of their husband, Buns began attending anime/comic book conventions as an artist alley vendor.
Currently, Buns has put their side-business of running an online shop on hold to pursue school full-time. Enamored with the power of visual storytelling, Buns combined their love of creating art and story writing to venture into studying film theory. They hope to re-open their shop and commissions once their school load lessens.