I’m Pei, I’m a 20-year-old artist/freelance moody Black girl. I’ve been coming to terms with some difficult truths about my relationship with my family and myself and my family as an extension of myself and vice-versa. I’ve been putting my own identity into perspective: what I have been told I am (straight, silent, dependent) vs. what I want to be/what I actually truly am (a lesbian, very loud, self-sustaining). I’ve been exploring this in a couple of ways: with photography, and with illustration. On my Instagram, I even sometimes post DIY editorials where I take my own image into my own hands, kind of creating myself over and over again. In these Illustrations I try and look at myself and identity as a whole through different lenses (I’m especially drawn to the depictions of monster girls for obvious monster gay coding reasons). Something that happens in toxic or not-great family dynamics is you often end up with a fractured view of yourself. I am very intrigued at this point in my life with my own little fractures. I have a friend who calls themself a Black Identity Extremist, and I’m stealing it from them: that’s my brand now (sorry E!). I think with black and brown girls/girl-aligned people, there’s this pressure to be one thing, and an idealized, mostly false version of that, and my art helps me get out of myself and think of all the different versions my black, African femme comes in–sometimes she’s a monster, sometimes she’s an elf, sometimes she’s OK, and sometimes she can’t feel a thing, and that’s ok, that’s fine, and that’s normal! ♦