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20 Queer Q's with Artist Cheyne Gallarde

20 Queer Q's with Artist Cheyne Gallarde

20 Queer Q's with Artist Cheyne Gallarde

Get to know more about the artist behind those popular, comic book inspired portraits of drag queens and other queer icons! 

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The 20 Queer Q's series seeks to capture LGBTQ+ individuals (and allies) in a moment of authenticity. We get to know the subjects, what makes them who they are, and what they value.

The goal of these intimate conversations is to leave you, the reader, feeling like you just gained a new friend, a new perspective, and that you learned something new about or saw a different side of someone—maybe someone that you don’t see online, but someone that’s maybe like you.

This week get to know queer illustrator, Cheyne Gallarde! Known for his comic book inspired drawings of drag queens and queer icons, learn about what Pride means to him, his hopes for the future, his advice for queer youth, and more! 

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Name: Cheyne Gallarde

Age: 39

Preferred Pronouns: He/Him

Sexually Identifies As: Gay

What do you love about the LGBTQ+ community?

I love how diverse we are. People say, "Oh the straight community is just as diverse!" and I don’t see it. The queer community is a much broader spectrum and that’s what I love about it. You’re more likely to find someone you identify with and that’s a big part of our community is that like-mindedness, that backstory that we have. 

Do you think it’s hard to make queer friends?

I think it’s hard to make queer friends that last. You see shows like Queer as Folk and you’re like, "Oh, I want a close-knit group of friends like that." But like any TV show, that’s not the reality. Especially in Hawaii, it’s very transient. People come and go, some people are military, people move to the mainland, so it was hard to make friends. So it was hard to make friends initially, but the friends that I do have now, I’ve been friends with for over a decade. The initial get-go is hard but when you get them, you latch on to the right people, it works itself out. 

What does Pride mean to you?

Owning who you are and delivering it at all times. 

Who is someone you consider to be an LGBTQ+ icon?

Keith Haring has been a huge inspiration to me and my art. He’s one of those people where you can see in his linework how free and unapologetically queer he is. It shows in every squiggle and doodle and I think that energy resonates with the community. 

What advice you have for LGBTQ+ youth?

Take your time and try everything. Self-discovery is a huge part of every queer person’s journey and you can’t do that by just sitting at home and reading about it. So go out when you can and explore. Research, talk to people, and try to figure out who you are, but take your time. 

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Do you believe in love?

Yes, absolutely. 

Describe what being queer is like in 3-5 words. 

Fun, challenging, colorful, loud, necessary. 

Fill in the blank: Love is _______.

The best thing that can happen to anyone.

What is something you want to change about yourself in the next 6 months?

I want to be better organized and I want to try new ideas. I would like to move somewhere, I’d love to be on the mainland and in a place where I can thrive and get easy access to printing, art supplies, and bigger, better spaces for art shows because in Hawaii, those spaces are disappearing. 

What’s your earliest memory that you felt you were different?

It was probably when I was a little kid and I was really attracted to the men in the Sears catalog. That was the closest, or just spending just a little too much time in the underwear aisle and looking at all the men on the packaging. 

What is the title of the current chapter of your life?

"Bitches Get Shit Done."

What is a quality you find sexy?

Intelligence.

Do you feel that people are as authentic online as they are in person? 

No. I think just like Instagram has filters, people's lives have filters, and people only show the good stuff. I try to be relatable and show the good and bad because I think people can learn from that. If someone sees you struggling, I think that’s so much more powerful than just seeing the good stuff. There’s a saying that what’s hard is that with the people you see online, you’re only seeing the final cut. 

How much does your LGBTQ+ identity play into your overall identity?

It’s a small fraction I think. I like to remind people that I’m a three-dimensional person with other interests and desires. Being queer is a small portion of who I am, but it definitely affects the type of work that I do because I use that skill to amplify that for other queer people that are not able to act so outwardly.

Fill in the blank: In 5 years I want to _________.

Have either an art gallery, an art school, or art scholarship for young artists. 

What’s your worst habit?

I complain a lot.

How would you like to be remembered?

For my art and what I did with it, I think it’s my legacy. As queer people, we don’t get to have biological children without a lot of effort so my art is my baby, my legacy, and it’ll outlive me. 

Would you call yourself self-assured?

Yes, but like any artist, I do have my self-doubt. I’m confident in what I do, but when it comes to public consumption, I’m unsure. 

Are you the person you thought you’d grow up to be? Do you think younger you would be proud of older you?

No, I’m better. I'm so much better than I thought I would be. My younger Cheyne would be amazed at what I’ve accomplished so far, especially being a college drop out. I’ve gone so far beyond what is possible for a college dropout

What value/quality has being queer given you? What have you gained?

It’s given me a voice. When you’re not able to be queer yourself, you’re silenced, quiet, and reserved. And by accepting and embracing my queerness, I’m able to say the things that I want, enjoy the things I want, and make the art that I want. It manifests itself in the queens I draw. When you grow up, you’re thrown into this toxic masculinity. So now, I’m able to get those things that I couldn’t before.

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Follow Cheyne on Instagram to view his work and if you want to own some of his art, subscribe to his Patreon!

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