ARTISTS’ STATEMENTS

ARTISTS’ STATEMENTS FROM THE CREATORS OF TRACY QUEEN

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Lynsey G:

The story behind Tracy Queen is a little complicated.

I wanted to write a book that would be a culmination of my thoughts on sex-positivity, pornography, feminism, and humanism. For me, all these topics are rolled up into a complicated set of passions. I have written for and about the adult entertainment industry since 2007 as a copy writer, a reviewer, a critic, an interviewer, and an interested party, and I’ve become fervently dedicated to championing the need for sex-positivity in this sector, as well as in society at large. I believe that sex can either be a powerful unifying force or a strongly divisive one, and that unification is always better than division. I think that pornography, particularly the stuff made by feminists, queers, and other revolutionaries, has the capacity to help unify us. And I was looking for a way to bring all these ideas together in a book, but I hadn’t found the right way to do it.

And then I met Tracy. Well, sort of. The character came to me as a fictionalized version of a real woman I know, whose life was the closest thing I’ve encountered to a live comic book. Her intelligence, beauty, energy, and philosophy were the perfect combination for a graphic novel heroine, and her life… well, I can’t say too much on the subject without putting her in danger, but suffice it to say that Tracy and her story are not as fictionalized as you might imagine.

Long story short, I decided to combine a comic-book version of my friend with my ideas about sex, porn, and life (and cyborgs). From the start, I knew this had to be a graphic work, and so I sat down to write a script that would combine my ideas, the outlandish experiences of my friend, some insights on primatology I’d picked up in my years of research, and the wackiness of a graphic novel. I wanted to set this new character, Tracy, up with a cast of friends and foes that would encompass a wide variety of people across body types, racial and ethnic backgrounds, genders, and even species. I wanted, very deeply, to give each of these people the backstories and humanity they deserved. I wanted to ask big questions about what it is to be human, and where sex could belong in that equation.

But Tracy took off down her own path as soon as I began to write. She refused to be labeled, even by her creator. Her restlessness and determination led me to question whether I was actually making any of this up. I think this story was never mine to create–it has always been hers. And, while there have been times that I questioned my ability to tell it, it needs to be told.

The aesthetics of the book, likewise, were not mine to dictate. When co-creator and illustrator Jayel Draco and I began to collaborate on concept art, I realized his visual style is much more literal than I’d originally imagined for this project. But when we met a model we’ll call Leah (she’s requested anonymity), who worked with us as a stand-in for Tracy, I was reminded that Tracy is much closer to flesh-and-blood than I expected her to be. When Jayel began to illustrate images based on the modeling session with Leah, we both knew that something incredible was happening: Tracy Queen was taking shape before us, speaking up for herself in the images.

And the story kept getting bigger: I drew inspiration from the adult entertainment industry professionals I knew, and telling this tale without them seemed wrong. I reached out to the brave, strong, smart, and sexy individuals I’m closest to in the industry, and many agreed to take part in the project via cameo appearances. I’m so grateful to these individuals for doing what they do, and for lending their images to this project. I hope we can do them justice!

As I mentioned before, I have sometimes questioned my fitness for this undertaking. What started out as a soapbox for me to spout my ideas from has become much more. It’s now a sprawling epic that covers many topics I set out to explore, but which also goes places I never intended, as well. It goes farther, deeper, and weirder than I thought it would. Tracy’s story is, honestly, insane. She makes choices most of us could never fathom, and she arrives somewhere we would never buy a ticket for. She comes from a place I can’t truly understand, but to be honest, just like everyone else she comes across, I have fallen in love with Tracy, and I think her story is important. I hope you find the tale inspiring, or at least entertaining, or–maybe–horrifying. Whatever your reaction, I’m glad that you’ve found it. So is Tracy.

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Jayel Draco:

Automatically, I like cool, sci-fi, stylish, crazy, off-beat, odd-world sequential narrative art. The idea of incorporating sexy images and images of sex into a story on that platform is very appealing to me, but I feel like it’s the kind of thing that you expect not to see done well because people don’t take it seriously. It’s unfortunate that sci-fi and fantasy can be taken to any degree of seriousness, but so often once sex is involved–something so basic and so human–it’s written off. I’ve set out to make artwork that represents these concepts in a manner that’s classy, tasteful, and mature, yet still fun, sexy, and stylish to show that these things are not mutually exclusive. For example, I wanted to show that it’s possible to make a tasteful, respectful, and beautiful image of a gangbang. I wanted to make a sex-positive work of art.

Through Lynsey’s writing and our interactions, I learned about the queer porn scene, and I saw how that scene fostered champions on issues of representation, including race, gender, ability, body type, and more. I realized that I also wanted to champion the cause of diverse representation, and show that it doesn’t have to only exist in a safe, PC world. That it can be racy and provocative, and still be genuine.

To add to the brilliant writing, I hope that my end of the work in this project will ultimately give the reader a sense of justice in the variety of representation. Also, I want the audience to enjoy the fun, sexy artwork accompanying this wonderful and outrageous story with some levity.