The Founders of Art Hoe Collective Are Sick of Being Muses

Art Hoe Collective is the art movement that aims to represent queer artists of color. The founders, Mars and Saga, are just 15 years old, and are wise beyond their years when it comes to overthrowing the white male patriarchy and turning the art world over on its head.

We talked to Saga about how the movement got started, where they’re going with it, and how to get your own artwork featured on Art Hoe Collective.

When did Art Hoe Collective officially start and by who?

The AHC was created by Mars and myself in the summer of 2015 along with seven of our friends.

The Art Hoe movement was started by QPOC (queer people of color) to provide a space for creatives of color. Tell us a little more about that.

Mars and I are both artists and noticed, through the Art Hoe Movement, that we didn’t see ourselves in any art circles. You have to try very hard to find young QPOC creatives and even if you do, they’re few and far between. But we knew they were out there, because we were out there. We wanted the opportunity to create a platform for young QPOC to showcase their work and to be seen by their peers.

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Tell us about the challenges of being an artist in a predominately white male space and how this collective and movement aims to create a space.

Like with anything, to be be seen with any sort of value, PoC, women and queer groups (or any intersections of those) must be extraordinarily talented in ways white men approve of in order to have access into their space. I have to say, that’s pretty boring. I think we’ve had enough coming of age stories about young white men, I wanna see what QPOC have to say.

Is Art Hoe Collective entirely submission based? Are there resident artists within the collective? What is the importance of and some reasons for having submissions?

Yes, with the exception of posts of our own work or events. Every curator in the collective is an artist specializing in a variety of genres and that’s how we organize the submissions and posts. Our writers will select and post writing submissions.

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The reason we have submissions first and foremost is because we want consent to post and promote someones work. Furthermore, every artist has pieces they’re most proud of; it’s important to give tools to be seen how they want. The collective isn’t about us, it’s about the artists and their work.

On the submissions guidelines it says no selfies. Why is this?

The Art Hoe Movement started as a goofy lil thing between Mars and I where we superimposed our selfies on famous paintings or drew all over otherwise regular selfies. It was about jokingly forcing our way into the art world on a small scale. It caught on. I think there was a lot of confusion about what the collective was going to be and people weren’t understanding our intentions. We had completely detached from the AH Movement to create a real platform for artists with the intention of disrupting the regular art world.

What do you think about non QPOC consuming your art? Do you think it’s important for them to see it?

It’s always important for QPOC art to be seen on a larger scale. We can make art for ourselves and it will be valid and great but a lot of QPOC art is inherently political and is an easier way of getting our messages to the masses in more acceptable ways.

Who is your audience?

Ourselves and everyone else.

What do you want people to know about Art Hoe Collective?

This is your space too. There’s no strict idea of what the Collective is and will be, it goes where the art goes.

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What are you aiming to do in the future with Art Hoe Collective?

We’ve been collaborating with a few brands for events like Art Basel, Afropunk, and Refinery 29, but we want to have more physical spaces. A dream would be to physically display submissions in a gallery for the masses to see. It’s funny because inherently, the fact that we are a solely digital space is basically the entire point of the Collective– subversive, almost a guerrilla, space in the art world. But at the end of the day, a lot of art isn’t seen as valid or real until it’s made physical, until you can see it or touch it or hear it in person. We want our artists to have all of that. Queer artists of color deserve to showcase their art by any means they want.

Do you see art as a way of healing? Of representing? What would you say is the power of art in this context?

Personally, I use my art as a type of mental physical therapy. Drawing and painting is a very quiet space and it slows me down enough to check in with myself and heal through creating. A lot of the submissions we receive are about very real pain, whether it be about discrimination, mental illness, or trauma, young people are pouring their hearts and souls into their work and sharing that with other people.

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The gift artists give us by allowing us into their minds and hearts through their work shouldn’t be taken lightly and I think that’s especially powerful among young creatives. To show young creatives that their pain is valid and the art they made has worth just with the simple action of showcasing it or consuming it is a wonderful thing we’re lucky to participate in and facilitate.

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