I came to “Sinister Wisdom” as a college student starving for community and any lesbian voice other than my own. What I found fed me: over one hundred back issues, Sapphic Classics — Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989 and Para las duras / For the Hard Ones by tatiana de la tierra — and the opportunity to edit, write, and curate in conversation with others very similar and refreshingly different from myself. In 2019, I curated the first “Sinister Wisdom” calendar celebrating the most gorgeous art and poetry published in the journal. For 2020, I put out a call for bold, sexy, & queer art by contemporary visual artists, painters, and designers. I was not disappointed.
“Sinister Wisdom” was founded in 1976 by Harriet Desmoines and Catherine Nicholson. The two chose the name “Sinister Wisdom” to mark the journal’s sensibilities as “of the left:” off-kilter, queered, and corporal. Desmoines and Nicholson were lovers, publishers, and feminists united by a shared vision: a multi-class, multicultural, feminist community where lesbians could question, criticize, and conspire. Since then, “Sinister Wisdom” has passed through the hands of women who shape the world, who build the future that is our present: Michelle Cliff, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Chrystos, Cheryl Clarke, Elana Dykewomon, Fran Day, tatiana de la tierra, Juanita Ramos, and many others.
As lesbians, queers, gender deviants, and radicals, we live in the margins. This is especially true for queer women, and even more so for queer women of color, the gender non-conforming, and trans women. The “Sinister Wisdom” calendars speak back to this exclusion. It brims with visions of queer love, trans bodies, women at rest, and dykes taking to the streets — think lush colors, woman-loving-woman sex appeal, and gorgeous art of all mediums. For me, “Sinister Wisdom” amplified my voice, sharpened my teeth, and guided me home. I hope the 2020 “Sinister Wisdom” calendar does the same for you.
Below you’ll find five (of seventeen!) artists featured in the 2020 calendar. This is a very sneaky peak of what the “Sinister Wisdom” 2020 calendar has to offer.
Amalia Russiello is the illustrator and the creative mind behind Madame Dabi, the Instagram account with over 50,000 followers. After studying art and graduating as an art historian, Russiello decided to dedicate herself fully to her art, which explores femininity, sexuality, and desire. Russiello’s inspiration comes mainly from the ’20s, ’30s, and Baroque eras, mixed to create a delicate, feminine, and boudoir style.
Art Twink is a queer and trans LA-based artist whose work ranges from snapshots of lovers, to gorgeous affirmations of self, to NSFW portraits. They use art to imagine and create a world “where we can live queerly, colorfully, & safely.”
Gabriella ggggrimes is a Black queer artist from New York City. Their bold work represents queer people of color existing happily and beautifully. Inspired by queer predecessors and current activists, ggggrimes wants their viewers to question society’s rigid views of the gender binary. gggrimes’ use of vivid color, queer subjectivity, and a distinct tenderness between subjects (who are often fat and/or disabled) is stunning and an absolute joy to see.
Vivian is a Colombian illustrator, digital, and collage artist. Vivian often portrays women in nature and includes short, collaged poems with her pieces revealing meditations on love, the passage of time, and self-image.
roman pace is a southern-based non-binary lesbian artist and zinester. They explore madness, queerness, femininity, and climate change through collage, poetry, and photography. For every piece, roman hand rips each layer of a collage from an ever-growing collection of magazines, reclaimed vintage porn, and out of print books.
The calendar is an important part of “Sinister Wisdom’s” end of year fundraiser. To order the “Sinister Wisdom” 2020 calendar, click here!