This week’s Persephone Pioneer is multimedia artist and activist Lynn Casper.
Lynn is a multimedia artist, strategist, and activist. Her two active projects consist of feminist playing cards and a music podcast show, Homoground. I’m fascinated by her work on so many different levels, but above all, I am inspired by her willingness to share parts of herself in her work.
Hi Lynn! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions today. I found about your work on Twitter and on various blogs and became intrigued with the different projects under your belt. Can you talk about how you came to be a multimedia artist, activist, and strategist?
The words multimedia artist, activist, and strategist are just words for different things that I am interested in.
I spend a lot of time thinking. I’m a pretty quiet person who likes to mull over concepts, ideas, strategies, and processes for a bit before offering up my perspective. Sometimes I just don’t know what I think until I think about it for awhile. I’ve always been interested in many forms of creative expression. I had an active imagination and was always coming up with different ideas. Life is stale when I’m not creatively expressing my thoughts, beliefs and ideas.
I like to give people different ways to engage with social justice issues; connect with people based on common interest first and then educate them through that medium. Like with Pink Sheep Film Festival: connecting with people who enjoy watching movies by introducing them to characters who are struggling with their identity, sexuality, and giving a face to problems many of us encounter to encourage discussions and awareness; Homoground: connecting with people who love music and expose them to musicians that they might otherwise would never know about (that little garage band in Columbia, SC that soon becomes your favorite band) or discovering a rapper with wicked fast rhymes and once you figure out the lyrics realize you’ve been humming a tune about trans-equality when the word “trans” has never entered your vocabulary prior to that; Feminist Playing Cards: connecting with people through art, music and a hand of poker while enlightening them about female musicians they’ve never heard of.
You have four different projects that are featured on your site. Can you briefly talk about each one and where the ideas behind it came from?
Homoground and the Feminist Playing Cards are my most active projects right now. Homoground puts out podcasts featuring music by LGBTQ and allied bands, organizes and promotes queer events, and curates music videos from LGBTQ musicians through our online video portal, Queermusic.tv and our public access TV show, HomogroundTV.
The Feminist Playing Card project was launched in 2012 via Kickstarter. It’s a collaboratively created deck of cards that features 56 feminist musicians illustrated by 14 artists who were involved in the project. You can view the cards here and you can purchase a deck here.
Unfortunate Umbrella: This is a photo project where I take photos of broken umbrellas. The project is currently inactive, but I still do take photos of umbrellas when I come across them and post them to my Instagram. People still send me pictures of umbrellas that they find or they hashtag them with #unfortunateumbrella. I would definitely love to do more with this project, but I just don’t have time right now. You can view photos and read more about the project here.
The Pink Sheep Film Festival is a queer film festival that was held from 2011-2013 in Wilmington, North Carolina. I started doing that festival because I was doing a lot with my local film community (I worked for a nonprofit called Working Films at the time and was also on the programming team for the Cucalorus Film Festival) and there was a need for more LGBTQ focused events. You can read more about this project here.
When you’re not busy running a podcast radio show, working on photo projects, managing film festivals, or making feminist playing cards, what are you doing? I hope you sleep, because that’s quite a lot on your plate!
Riding my bicycle. Lounging around my apartment. Going to see live music. Exploring NYC. Working various jobs so I can afford to live in NYC.
Do you have any new projects on the horizon? If so, what are you working on?
The next edition of the Feminist Playing Card deck. A completely new deck. Featuring a new round of artists and musicians. We’re currently seeking artists for the project: Deadline to apply is October 15th.
Homoground also just started doing monthly open mic nights in Durham, North Carolina at a bar called The Bar. We are also resurrecting a queer 90s themed party in Brooklyn, NY called Wretched. We are also collaborating on a really big project that will provide free/low-cost recording sessions for queer bands. More info will be revealed on that over the next few weeks, but if you’re interested in getting updates on our podcasts, mixtapes, events, and projects sign up to our email list here.
What advice can you give to those who are aspiring to do what you’re doing?
Spend a lot of time with your ideas and write them down. I have stacks of notebooks that have the same ideas/concepts written in them over and over and over again. But each time I write them down, the ideas are more fleshed out or tweaked in different ways. If you keep having the same ideas/thoughts, that probably means you’re onto something good and eventually your idea will be refined so well that its execution into reality will happen organically.
How do you define feminism?
Feminism is not allowing people to tell you that you can’t do something because of your gender, your age, your appearance, your ethnicity, your sexuality, your class, etc. I’m sure we’ve all been discouraged from doing something that we really wanted to do. I know I have. Feminism is not listening to those voices. It’s carving out your own path and working towards creating the life you want to have. It’s about feeling confident no matter how unconfident you might convince yourself to feel.
Who is/are your feminist role model(s)?
Having strong, confident female role models is SO important. I’ve been lucky to encounter many positive female role models over the past decade who really had an impact in shaping who I am today. Growing up, I always had a feeling in my gut that I wanted to run my own business, but never had the opportunity to meet women who had done that, so it seemed like a very out of reach thing that I could never do. I strongly admire women entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses and providing jobs and mentoring to other women. I think that is HUGELY important.