Narratives of success in the US ‘art world’ by women rarely provide an honest portrayal of the struggles and challenges of women, queer women of Color, and working class queer women of Color experience. This presentation will offer a discussion on the failures and lessons learned from a first person perspective by Erika Lopez, author, artist, and media maker. Discussing the trajectory of being offered a book deal by a major publisher to creating and developing an independent publishing company with inter/national distribution, and all of the adventures in between; Lopez will share her evolution as an artist, women artist, queer woman of Color artist, queer working class women of Color artist living in the US to Monster Girl.
Erika Lopez is a performance artist of Puerto Rican descent who has published six books.
Lopez attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and also studied at Moore College of Art and Design and the University of the Arts.
As a struggling artist, Lopez applied for and received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, each of which gave her $2500 to write. A cross-country motorcycle trip served an inspiration for her first illustrated novel, Flaming Iguanas (1997), which includes numerous images made with rubber stamps and was published by Sime & Schuster. That same year she published a book of cartoon stories called Lap Dancing for Mommy. Lopez went on to publish two additional illustrated novels with Simon & Schuster, They Call Me Mad Dog! (1998) and Hoochie Mama: The Other White Meat (2001).
After spending time on welfare, and while touing her show, Lopez decided to take her fate into her own hands and become a ‘mini-mogul.’ Along with James Swanson, Kamela Lopez, and Jeffrey Hicken, they started a book publishing company, Monster Girl Media to go along with Monster Girl Movies, as a part their coaition of Do-it-Yourself businesses in charge of their own development, production, merchandising, and promotion. Their first publication is ‘The Girl Must Die: A Monster Girl Memoir’ (2010) along with the matching, ‘The Girl Must Die: 18 Postcards.”
They work with a rotating roster of other Monster Girls Mujers and Men like Alison Penton Harper, Bianca Laureano, Kate Gottli, Suzanne Rush, and Peter Maravelis.