Femme Friday – Liz Nania is a Femme Artist!

Way back in the day, some of us femmes did a thread called “Femme Pussy” on butchfemme.com – whee, that was fun! As a wordy and nerdy femme, I love thinking about and discussing language, meaning, and of course, pussy, what’s not to enjoy? I think a lot about how my identity – so long in the making and discovering and building – influences my writing, and have enjoyed discussions about femme and art with other femme artists. I am so thrilled to welcome my sweet femme sis, Liz Nania, back to The Total Femme, to showcase her sexy, gorgeous art, and to hear from her about being a femme artist.

Deep gratitude to Liz for her so-fucking-femme art!

Femme Art by Liz Nania

Does femme art exist? I’m a painter and a textile artist, and a femme lesbian. So, is my art “femme art?” Definitely. It’s also feminist art, lesbian and queer art, and art by a woman artist.  I’ve never been one to shy away from labels; representation is important! I wish more artists from marginalized groups would share their identities as they share their art and music and writing and performing, and I’m still surprised that so few do. I know it’s risky. But so is being an artist!

Much of my painting is abstract, but I do create some representational work, too. My art explores love, time, celebration, being a woman and a lesbian, social commentary, and other things dear to my heart. And my textile art is unapologetically feminine; it’s even more girly than I am!

The most flaming femme piece I ever made is “Femme Flag”, a rainbow flag sewn from printed fabric, lace, my lingerie, remnants of my clothing, a piece of embroidery from The Total Femme’s aunt, and the waistband of my husbutch’s jeans painted gold. “Femme Flag” is an unabashed celebration and symbol of femme lesbian pride and identity. Then there’s “Blue is for Butch”, a piece created primarily from my butch’s clothing. The focal point is a metallic gold sun, one of the primary symbols I use for her in my imagery. Under the sun I stitched a dangling fringe of keys. (For the record, I made this piece before the wonderful Ring of Keys song was written. For decades, many a femme has salivated like Pavlov’s dog at the sound of butch keys jingling from a belt loop, and I’m no different!) So, art made by a femme in tribute to her butch? Definitely femme art!

“Fun In The Closet” is a tongue-in-cheek textile exploration of lesbian desire in the 1950s. Among the winding vines and flowers embroidered on a vintage bureau scarf, lurid lesbian pulp fiction novels are hidden; an embroidered swirling current of energy roils up the floral smokescreen. I imagine some well-worn lezzie pulp novels hidden in many a closeted women’s bureau drawer, perhaps under the “unmentionables”.

I also created a series of paintings meant to be shown together, the Butch Series. It consists of 12 drawings on encaustic wax on birch panels, with added gold leaf and a little pigment, describing and worshipping the beauty of female masculinity, as modeled by my wife through her butchly body language. The world hasn’t caught on to the magnificence, and often even the existence, of butch women, so I thought I would help it along.

I’m proud to call these works femme art, feminist art, lesbian art, and women’s work. Any artists care to join me? Come out, come out, wherever you are! Why not be the change you wish to see?

See more of Liz Nania’s work: www.liznania.com, and on Instagram at liz_nania_art.   

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! New Femme Friday feature for fall 2018: Books from which queer femmes can draw inspiration. What are your trusted sources of light and love? Please share!

At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”)