Get to Know Queer Artist and PRIDE Curator, Andrea Forgacs 🏳️🌈
Brought to you by our partners at Talenthouse.
Artist, designer, illustrator, coach, and all-around badass feminist. Andrea Forgacs (@andreaforgacs) is all of those things and more. I was first drawn to her work a few years back here, on Ello; an illustration of a woman of color with curves and natural hair was something I needed to see represented more in the creative world as a woman of color myself. From then on, her work made me smile and feel strong every time I saw it. Andrea champions queer, LGBTQ+, POC people of color with her beautiful work and even has time as a freelance artist to take you under her wing and empower you to turn your passion into something that serves your life in a productive and effective way. This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and as curator for Ello's PRIDE Category, we wanted to sit down and know more about her, her pride and her work.
See more PRIDE on Ello here.
Interviewer Mayah Taylor (@mayah) is Ello’s Community Creative Manager. She loves tacos, fashion, Doctor Who, and wears too much black.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How would you describe your art?
A: I am a proud queer plus size womxn. And I represent that in my illustrations. My art is about body positivity, feminism, empowerment, diversity and queerness! It is about women who want to tell their own story. Empower their mind and their bodies and how that influences them!
What inspires your designs?
A: My Work is about empowering your Body, your Identity and your creative Business. It is about stepping into your full consciousness! Living the life you want to live by finding out what your superpower is and freeing it! This is what inspires every piece of mine. I want womxn to see that there is another way. That we don't have to punish ourselves. That we can live a life that is not focused on what society told us but around what we are telling ourselves!
What is your creative process like?
A: I usually work with images that are in my mind. Topics that I am thinking about and that I need to put onto paper. I sketch them roughly and make sure they are visualized the way that I want them to and then I create them on my iPad Pro. Yes, I am a bit of a digital girl. I love how quick and easy it is.
One thing I love about your art is that I can see myself in it. When did you start illustrating body-positive women and what led you to make this creative decision as an artist?
A: When I started my creative journey fully I needed to free myself of all the beliefs I had of myself, my style, my idea of art and step fully into my pain. In my case that was mostly about my body and my negative thoughts towards it. I was putting myself down on a daily basis which was unhealthy and occupied my mind. I finally confronted myself with these things and put them on paper into images that empowered me … and eventually others. It was a hard start because I wasn’t satisfied with the work I was doing. I had to rediscover myself and my style completely and train and practice and practice more to get to a point where I am today.
Tell us more about your decision to become a freelance artist and what that was like in terms of taking your creative career to a different place.
A: I was drawing since I was a child and I originally wanted to study art. But as it often is I was sidetracked by money and the idea that I have to have an income for the rest of my life. So I figured Graphic Design makes the most sense. It was a good experience but ultimately not what my real passion is. Because I worked in that area for a while I put art to the side until I rediscovered it around the same time I opened my own gallery. Seeing so many amazing artists and curating their shows, it simply burst out of me. That thing that said: Enough! You are an artist! Live it!
Do you have any tips for artists looking to transition to freelancing?
A: Don't hide behind your work. Show yourself and your art! At the end (sic), you have to step out of the shadows to be seen! And don't forget you are unique so are the people who love your art. You are not doing it for everybody you are only doing for them. So don't listen to the haters. Your art is not for them!
Do you have any favorite queer artists and icons that have inspired you?
A: I love artists like Sara Andreasson or Daiana Ruiz or any queer womxn artist who is true to their voice and their purpose. Where you feel the energy, the vibe, the style!
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. How do you define pride through your art and where do you want the movement to go in the future?
A: My work represents pride in a lot of aspects. In my queer as in my body positive illustrations. Because at the end pride is all about self-love and self-respect. Being loved and accepted as who we are! Being treated equally as women, as plus size, as queer! And that's also where I want pride to take us. To being treated equally and respectfully. To finally end that fight that started such a long time ago demanding equal rights and finally getting them. Not just politically but also socially!
What are some things you’re looking for this month while you curate Ello’s PRIDE Community?
A: For more LGBTQ* artists to show their work. I still feel that LGBTQ* Art is underrepresented and that has to change. Maybe thought the curation at Pride I can provide a little part of that.
If your life up to this point were a book, what would the title be?
A: Rhinos and Unicorns - I love them all!