Happy Pride Month, Kyle! We are here to talk about your Boys With Bags zine. Tell me how this project came about.
Thank you! This project basically came out of pure curiosity. I think traveling to different places and seeing queer men of all ages and backgrounds carrying bags sparked my interest to just start questioning what other queer men like me are carrying with them, and what a quick glimpse on something like the contents of a persons bag can tell about them and their queer experience. I really dislike the heteronormative idea that carrying a bag is for woman; as if wanting to carry more than what can fit in your pockets is a gender specific need, so I wanted to challenge the toxic masculinity that comes with gender norms in our society through the creation of this zine.
With Boys With Bags, how did you go about picking who to feature and why did you feature the people you chose?
I began with an overall call for participants via instagram, hoping that I would get dozens of queer men interested in participating. When that didn’t exactly work out the way I planned, it became a process of me messaging any and all queer men who I know personally, have connected with in the past, and even people I had never met in real life on instagram. I wanted to be the person who photographed them, so I kept it exclusive to boys in and outside of Providence, Boston, and New York. In the end, I was absolutely drawn to passionate people who loved the idea and wanted to be a part of creating something special.
As an illustrator, what style did you employ for this zine and why?
Because I’m an illustrator as well as a designer, I have an absolute love for color. I wanted this zine to feel clean, but also playful. After meeting with each boy and getting to know them, i found it much easier to design their spread in the zine. While I was keeping to a grid to maintain a consistent design, I found the personality of each boy directly influencing the design decisions, and as the designer, I just became a vehicle for bringing the personality of each boy into the hands of every person who would pick up the zine.
In the spirit of Pride, what do you think the contents of a person's bag signifies about their identity and space?
I think the contents of a person’s bag has the ability to tell things about a person that you may not be able to determine by just looking and talking to them. What one carries is an extension of who they are and what they consider important, and that can be entirely different for everyone.
What do you tend to put in your own bag?
The contents of my bag change pretty often, but I always have a sketchbook and a pouch of pencils, pens, and markers. Sometimes I’ll have my camera, and sometimes I’ll have an extra pair of socks and my tamagotchi. The contents are always unpredictable.
Lastly, what does Pride month mean to you?
Pride month to me has always been about inclusion and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in its entirety. I think it is also about recognizing progress and celebrating progress while being able to see where more progress needs to be made and acting on that in order to make sure all of our queer brothers, sisters, and non binary siblings are all feeling accounted for, and feeling as though they have a home and family within the community.