Eli Sachseis creating fierce, queer justice
You support at as little as $1 per month means so much. You are adding your voice to those that help me keep going. You are a vital support to all the work I do each day, and I thank you. Pledging $1 or more gains you access to members only blog posts, giving you an inside view of my studio and my internal processes. Thank you.
About Eli Sachse
Justice informs my work and my life. I spent most of 2019 working locally to create equity for LGBTQ+ folks. I've spent the last 10 years of my life in relatively rural areas, where the need for queer justice is palpable, real. This past year, I helped 5 people legally change their name and gender. I sewed together a 16 x 24 foot long pride flag, that took up the entire street, for Merced's first downtown pride celebration. That took days. I held an art making event, where over 40 queer people or all ages and their allies stopped by to create art for the next day's parade.
I advocated for kids who asked for help talking to school administration. I started and ran a support for gender nonconforming people, and another one for LGBTQ+ youth. We've formed a core group of incredible people dedicated to creating healing and inclusive spaces for trans and queer folks. I've spent a lot more energy and emotion trying to work for systemic change within the school district than might show at this point. The work continues.
In January 2019, I went up north to help victims of the Camp Fire recover through volunteering with the Red Cross. I remain available to deploy to disasters nationally. I take continuing education courses through the Red Cross as well, including how to respond to an active shooter situation. I did an intensive, 2 day suicide intervention training with the county of Merced, and put the skills to use immediately that same night. Being a figurehead of queer activism locally, and a mental health professional, people come to me for help and I want them to. Though it also means my work is kind of never finished. I suppose that's because it isn't
In 2017 and 2018 I focused on medium to large format portraits of trans, queer and people of color exclusively, with the aim of normalizing representation of these historically under-represented groups. In the past I have done portraits by commission, but stepped away from that the past several years in favor of balancing representation of historically underfunded people.
2019 was the culmination of this work, when I was able to bring together a group of 10 trans and nonbinary identified artists together for the biggest such exhibition in California's history. Curating a group show was a huge endeavor, a wonderful challenge and a humbling opportunity. The show brought together photographers, painters, performance art and the first video installation that the Merced Multicultural Arts Center had yet installed. If there is one thing I do, it is push boundaries, and challenge people and institutions to do new things.
I am dedicated to the idea of creating more safe spaces, more opportunity for art, more queer justice and representation of queer lives.
YOUR monthly contribution sustains this lifelong practice. The personal stories that I share on a daily basis take time to unpack and unfold, and your support gives me the time to do that.
My upcoming big ideas for 2020 include curating another group show. Putting together a catalog of the 2019 group show, Identity. Making the time to paint. And writing a book (I've already got a publisher interested, I just need the time) about trans and nonbinary dating and relationships. Writing more zines and continuing to advocate at the local level. Because I can't not do these things.
Over this past year, YOUR Patreon support has allowed me to buy framing supplies without worry. To buy paints. To buy various hardware and things like blackout curtains to create a space in the arts center in Merced to install a video piece. Patreon means that I didn't have to do this alone.
Your ongoing support of even a dollar or two per month is so meaningful to me. And not just because of the dollars, but you adding your voice to the group that tells me that I can and should go on, is CRUCIAL. The support I've felt from this platform for the past year is incredibly sustaining to me, I could not have gotten as far as I did without it. Thank you so much for your time and attention.