Drag Crafts

What are Drag Crafts?

Physical making skills that contribute to drag performance. Things like costume making, wig making and make up artistry.

Is Drag Folk Art and why?

Wikipedia defines folk art as “…reflect(ing) the cultural life of a community… can include such forms as music, dance and narrative structures… (folk) art forms, both tangible and intangible, typically are developed to address a practical purpose… These artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation, and practice.”

We like what researcher and socially engaged artist Dr Lucy Wright says about Folk Art:

“Folk is the art we already make, irrespective of funding or endorsement.
Folk (art) is the stuff we make, do and think for ourselves and the radical potential of these things.
Stuff isn’t better if middle class people do it.
If your folk (art) only includes white men, then you’re part of the problem”

Source: ‘Folk is a feminist issue’, Dr Lucy Wright, 2021

Contemporary drag (particularly in the USA and Northern Europe) is usually created by members of LGBTQIA+ communities, frequently for cabaret, night club or pride celebration settings. This work is often developed by groups of performers and crafts people who identify as part of local drag “houses” or families. These “houses” frequently provide a practically, emotionally and creatively supportive environment for members to make work. Drag houses can also be part of developing safe or brave spaces in which members can explore their gender or sexuality. Often specific regional “house styles” develop amongst groups in terms of the form performances take and the design of costumes or make up etc. Though artists are sometimes paid to make drag (and some people make a living from the art form), drag largely exists outside of financial art making models, functioning as forms of activism, community building, self-expression and folk entertainment.

Colour photograph, exterior. A group of 9 Drag performers all posing in the doorway to a theater. There are lots of wonderful wigs and costumes and fabulous poses.

Images: DGA Collective.

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