Community Supported Art Writing

Directly support the writing you want to read.

The challenge:

1. You want to fill your brain with endless beautiful, brilliant thoughts about West Coast art

2. We need to pay writers and our bills but our budget covers only $150/month in writers fees

3. Instead of waiting for our editorial schedule, you want to support content by funding it directly

The solution:

Community Supported Art Writing (CSAW)

How it works:

1. We accept a pitch from one of our genius writers

2. We post the pitch and associated cost on this page (see below)

3. Art lovers can directly fund the content they want to read

4. Once we reach our minimum budget, the content will move to production and be taken off this page

5. Supporters will be thanked on the published page, because you’re our heroes

How it doesn’t work:

If you directly benefit from coverage of an artist or exhibition (e.g. a gallery, museum, press person, etc.) you may not give more than $100 to any one topic.

If that’s you, and you want to give more than $100, great! We’d love to have you subscribe or donate to Variable West broadly or learn more about advertising with us.

Click the button below to select the topic you want to support.

CSAW content you can support:

Exhibition review

E. Safronia Downing
Triangle Projects
Los Angeles, CA

Cost: $300
Writer: $150
Editor/Admin: $150

Writer: Graham Feyl

I am a writer, curator, and art historian currently doing my doctorate at UC Santa Barbara with a research focus on queer and transgender craft practices and materials. I had the immense pleasure of visiting a new artist-run gallery space in Los Angeles called Triangle Projects  (official site is here) to see the solo exhibition of ceramicist E. Saffronia Downing.

Downing works with wild clay to look at material residues across time and space. For her exhibition at Triangle Projects, Downing produced a large-scale work that combined various pieces of clay that were foraged throughout the country. While the review highlights Downing’s work, it will emphasize both the concept of temporality and the idea of “the network” that both her work evokes and that Triangle Projects embodies. The gallery, located right underneath a staircase in what was once a storage closet, was created as a space for creative experimentation, community, and rethinking what an art system based on care can look like. 

Playing off one another, Downing and Triangle Projects create a blueprint of an endless system of interconnectedness that is meant to queer both concepts of time and space. Triangle Projects asks artists to come and dream together, and Downing presents this through clays that span across time and space. 

Exhibition review

Marcel Alcalá
The Performance of Being
Night Gallery
Los Angeles, CA

Cost: $300
Writer: $150
Editor/Admin: $150

Writer: Angella d’Avignon

The Performance of Being, Marcel Alcalá’s new series of oil paintings on view at Night Gallery in Los Angeles features symbols and references from the artist’s own Mexican-American heritage and queer community and centers these experiences as art historical. From a sequined drag queen to a lone coyote, Alcalá’s subjects or “main characters”  scenes of both quotidian and mythical proportions, taking psychedelic hero’s journeys through the sparkling grid of east Los Angeles and across the wilds of Baja California. Time collapses between Alcalá’s religious childhood, their recent experiences, and speculative futures. Pulling compositional cues from Matisse and El Greco, bright saturated color builds drama with subtlety (a corner in a bedroom becomes an altar appointed with pink tulips, for example), combining the aesthetics of Santería, Catholicism, and drag, Alcalá plucks the strange and beautiful details from their life and uses painting as a practice of transcendence. 

In this review, I’ll compare Alcalá’s work with the specific aesthetic tradition of drag, flash, and ritual, with the broader context of diasporic cultures, performance as storytelling, and the semiotics of living in Los Angeles.

Artist interview

Se Young Au

Cost: $300
Writer: $150
Editor/Admin: $150

Writer: Monica Uszerowicz

Los Angeles-based artist Se Young Au, who has a background in photography, works at an unusual intersection of that medium, collage, and scent/olfaction—often utilizing the space she’s carved between all three to address issues around loss, whether through death, the disappearing of bodies via the prison industrial complex, or the loss of place through the adoption industrial complex (Se Young is a Korean adoptee herself). Consider the works on view at a recent exhibition, A Clearing, at the Institute for Art and Olfaction Gallery in Los Angeles: a draped, cadmium-green textile featuring digitally altered photographs Se Young had taken of various flora, arranged into a landscape—a reference to photographic backdrops typical in prison visiting areas; a convex mirror referencing the surveillance systems of these institutions; hunks of brick carrying the scent of soft, wet earth.

While the show spotlighted some of the harsher realities of the prison industrial complex, it was also transportive. At Varyer, she writes and shares visual work in her Transmissions columns, in which she reflects on scent and color as portals—ways to tap into memory, contend with grief, find entry points to transcendence. I’ve been following her work for a long time (one of my notes about her poppier collages—flowers, fruit—reads, “delicious juicy explosive fruit, digital fantasies, love”) and have been wanting to discuss these topics in-depth.

Want to submit a pitch to be considered for CSAW? Check out our Call for Pitches page to learn all about our formats and rates.