If you’re in the market for ghoulish ceramic heads or colorful collages of gay sex among off-duty soldiers, a new digital art platform has you covered.
Its goal: to uplift contemporary queer art in all its forms — and make it easier than ever to market it. “QAP.digital believes queer art needs to be kept alive not only in the name of much needed diversity, but also in the name of perpetual creativity,” the website reads. “QAP.digital is a space to celebrate queer art, and to help it live, flourish, thrive.”
Erdem and Ergul say they keep an eye out for art that goes beyond just addressing queerness in terms of gender and sexuality. They are interested in all the ways queerness serves as a force of creativity in life — in form, style, production and presentation.
A powerful platform
“This is the moment when we first thought a commercial platform might create an alternative source of income to queer artists,” Erdem and Ergul, who both identify as queer, told CNN in an email.
“When the straight cis white artist is free to roam as they please, only dwell on aesthetic considerations, come up with pure abstractions, why does the queer artist have to be limited to speaking about queer issues in a recognizable way to tick some boxes?”
With hyper-realistic silicone models of tongues, ears, and breasts jutting out of brass wires like bouquets, Radage’s work, she explains, is about dismembering things to unpack what it means to be human, and dissect the intersection of neurodiversity and queerness. Credit: Alicia Radage
“I love my work being in the flesh and people being in the same space and time,” Radage told CNN. “And also that is incredibly draining on resources, time, energy, money… What I can do though, is spend loads of time in my studio making a piece of work, photograph it and put it in (an) online gallery. More people are going to be able to see it and engage with it,” she said.
Radage’s experiences with QAP.digital, and with Erdem and Ergul, have been a welcome change of pace from the wider art market — they are emotionally invested, she told CNN, but always professional. Their support allows her to create freely, while still allowing her to profit from her work, she explained. (Radage has yet to see any of her work sold through QAP.digital, however.)
A piece on QAP.digital by the artist Nicky Broekhuysen, whose work focuses on the binary code. Credit: Nicky Broekhuysen
“It’s fantastic having a safe space for queer people,” Rolls-Bentley, who identifies as queer, said. “But a space where people who don’t identify as queer can come and celebrate and learn and share experiences with queer people is a really powerful thing that we need.”
But while Rolls-Bentley argues there is still merit in carving out space for queer artists in bigger museums, auction houses, and galleries,” Erdem and Ergul have different priorities.
“Most galleries do not understand queer artists’ specific needs. To most artists, feeling that you genuinely value their work, not just by assigning a price to it, but by understanding exactly where they are coming from with their work, is much more important than how much they sell.”
Top image: The landing page at QAP.Digital, which rotates regularly through artwork and pieces within the platform’s collections.