Interviewed by Rosalyn Spencer
Rosalyn Spencer: How long have you been pursuing a career in the art field?
Edge Slayer: I am a classically trained artist. My mother valued creativity, so she paid for private art lessons. I have always seen the world through an artist's lens. I began pursuing art in 2014. When I began making steps into my transition I become more serious. I’ve been doing installation art on and off for almost eight years. Digital art has only recently become respected in the ‘art world’ so I’ve been pursuing a career since there has been newfound respect for digital visual manipulation."
RS: How would you describe your aesthetic? What is your method in choosing your vision for your pieces?
ES: My aesthetic is powerful goddess witchy cunt, but vulnerable. I am an artist who works off inspiration. I feel called to my work. So each time it’s different because it’s all about what iconography I am creating or symbolizing. Mainly staying rooted in my black womanhood is what keeps me grounded in my vision.
RS: What defining moments helped shaped your outlook on your aesthetic?
ES: I would say number one would be my transition. A lot of trans women shy away from telling their story but it very much shapes mine. Accepting my truth that I am a spiritual manifestation of a woman, I was born with these truths. Exploring deeper variations of black femininity and not just reclamation and power.
The moment I discovered who Lady Chablis was, watching Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil gave me fleeting images of something close to what I wanted to be.
My call to practice ritualistic African-based spiritualism. I always identified with the spiritual aspect of femininity. I worshipped the female gods, read books written from a woman's perspective. When I saw myself in my minds eye it always looked like a woman.
RS: What are your views on the political and social landscape reflected in your work? Which work do you believe highlights this juxtaposition the most?
ES: My work is very radical. The idea of seeing yourself as a goddess when you are a fat, black, darker-skinnned trans woman is inherently radical. The media's idea of trans femininity has the boundaries of passing as cis. It’s smooth, thin, modelesque; it’s light skinned and mixed race. I feel like all of my work highlights this. I do not police myself into shaving, or photoshop my curves and imperfections. I use software to manipulate the environment or background to create a sexual setting. Too often women like me are thrust into motherly roles because of my size, especially trans women who dont fit into the slim femme queen aesthetic. I break these barriers by baring it all or most.
RS: I love the way that you defined what your norm in your work. How did you reach that plateau?
ES: I got to this place by removing doubt for the forefront of my mind. I have always been a space case, so now i just live in that world.
RS: What are some of the major influences that helped shaped your artwork?
ES: My major influences are iconography from african based religions, iwa, and orisha. Images of women from less-patriarchal pasts that were strong! powerful! I try to bring that to my work digitally, the images are full of symbolism and magical references.
RS: What do you believe are some milestones and moments that helped change the art scene due to the contributions of artists of color that you may feel have been overlooked?
ES: Awol Erizuku is one of my favorite artists, she reworks classical arts images in her image. I got inspiration for my works from this. Seeing a black woman in classical pieces changed the game for me.
RS: What do you want most for those who see your work to understand?
ES: That gender is a constructed myth. Feminity is powerful and black women are more than wrath and anger. We are sad, vulnerable and soft.
Edge Slayer is a visual artist, musician, performance artist, music producer, singer, video production artist, trans woman and party girl living in New Orleans, Louisiana. Originally from rural Louisiana, she grew up in St. Louis, where she threw parties and booked shows on an occasional basis. Since moving to New Orleans, she began actively creating shows that offer a legitimately safe party space for queer and trans people of color.