Steel City Queens documents the performative lives of drag queens in Pittsburgh, PA. This project is intended to take you on a journey through the dressing rooms, performances, and intimate lives of the drag lifestyle. This is a two-part project, where the first focuses on the backstage, crowd interactions and performances. The images in black and white are inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe’s provocative portraits, while the color attempts to capture the intimate nature of Nan Goldin’s images of her family and friends. Some of these aesthetics capture bravery, identity, and celebration within the drag community.
The second half serves as transition, an eye into the mundane everyday life within highly stylized domestic spaces. Utilizing their homes, the focus is shifted from the stage to domesticity, providing a juxtaposition through public and private. Using their drag persona as a key aspect the work is intended to display the duality of these lives, giving a balance to the first half of the project.
Through this intricate web, Steel City Queens explores the queens as exhibitionists within their private and their public space. The black and white images act as pure document to this public exhibitionism, while the color turns the private, domestic spaces of the queen into the stage, revealing the hand of the artist as a participant to this drag show.