Melissa

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“Cyborg, voodoo queen, sedentary, programed to operate like an earthquake.”

That's how Alma Negrot defines herself.

Drag queer, Alma is a mix of everything – but without being worried about being “something”. She dilutes old certainties and concepts and brings it all together in a hybrid puzzle of dye, color, and makeup.

“Not a man, not a woman, just a being.”

Persona aside, beneath the mask lives performer Raphael Jacques, who transforms everything he can into art. From the tangible – like paint – to the intangible – like social issues. A mashup of everything that surrounds him. 

Our next S/S collection is all about that – connecting different worlds to create something new. And we'll soon tell you more about it. It hits stores February 2017.

Till then, read about how Raphael creates and relates as Alma.

“I try to bring out the maximum of the references I'm made up of while being queer, latino, poor, and a dream, situating myself politically in the scene and causing tension around me. Each time s/he dresses up, it's a story intuitively sewn together over the skin and is never the same since it reflects unique and intransferable moments.”

1. What does it mean to be a drag queer?

Drag queer is a denomination for transformation that doesn't have the pretention of being gender-related. Not a man, not a woman, just a being. I don't usually give a name to what Alma Negrot means because she exists through the tensions of each individual circumstance: I'll be a drag queen at a college where they find my presence submissive, I'll be just na experiential artist using drag- where identity is already fixed new air and artistic perspectives are needed.

2. Melissa's next collection reflects our liquid world – the possibility of being everything, of coexisting. What does that universe have to do with you?

My work is all about patching together multiple references that surround us and make us alive and that make multiplicity evident.  Multiculturalism, the resignification of cultural symbols that flow, really represents our modernity.  Our job as artists is no longer to create but to change the value of things, arrange new forms to make others feel.

3. Who and what are your inspirations?

Friends who make up my relational network are the people who most inspire me. I also like performers and visual artists like Sara Panamby, Olivier de Sagazan and Ryan Burke. Sounds and music, because they tell stories and transmit sensations, also inspire me a lot and I really feel Mercedes Sosa, Björk, Sigur Rós and M.I.A.

4. What do you strive to express in your performances? How does your creation process happen with each new look your create?

Mixing daring materials and creating fantastic beings, the intention is to create confrontation with the current norm. Breaking down gender barriers or those of what it means to be human, the performances move others to question the ludic self with its environment or recreate some creative spiritual connection. The images carry messages that are perceived in different ways by onlookers. What matters is that it forces people to ask questions.

5. How did this idea of artistic and body expression come about?  How did Alma Negrot come about?

I've been enchanted by the construction of images since very early on. I liked to receive guests at home with bouquets of flowers and hand-drawn cards. I grew up painting and became a visual artist. I worked at a sauna that had daily gogoboy and drag queen shows – and these shows provoked me with their esthetic care and the desire they aroused in me. I identified with those who transformed themselves into something so different but was shocked by the idea that something so beautiful and carefully put together only existed in a private sphere. That's when I decided to start to do performances joining my yearning to transform with painting.

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