The Classics But Make It Gay Kickstarter Is My Kind of Art History

"You want to see the Birth of Venus but trans? We got you."

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Kickstarter can be a somewhat dangerous rabbit hole to fall down if you’re someone who loves cool, indie projects that cater to marginalized audiences. It’s especially dangerous if you’re trying to limit the number of art books you add to your collection.

But danger, as they say, is my middle name, and Classics … But Make It Gay is the latest in my “your wife will understand this purchase” Kickstarter campaign backing.

Set to launch today (April 6th at 12 PM EST), the artbook is being created by Nova and their wife Mali, and the Kickstarter campaign asking a simple question, “What if we took art history and made it gay?”

“My wife and I ran a Kickstarter last year—Lady Tarot Cards—and loved the process so much we wanted to do another one this year,” Nova said when I reached out to them about the project. “The idea was born when I was looking at a photomanip of Mona Lisa holding a possum (I know, right?)—I wanted to re-do art history, making the LGBT and POC inclusive content we deserved.”

Y’all know I’m always here for more representation. The chance to see myself in world-renowned pieces of art that have been deemed as classics is a feeling I didn’t know I needed until I saw this reimagining of Fragonard’s The Swing beautifully done by Shouty—one of the artists involved in the project.

Book cover image from "Classics But Make It Gay"

What if the works I would look at during my adolescent art museum field trips were depicted in my likeness? What if all of the discussions and fondness of these classics that are held in such high regard featured marginalized people? This Kickstarter project is creating that for us.

The most impressive part about this project is the number of artists who have come together to bring this book to life. “We’ve gathered over 60 artists from around the world and each is creating a new piece of art for us,” says Nova. “Our goal is to create a book that has over 60 full-page art pieces and our merch includes a metal bookmark, postcards, a sticker, and a holographic art print. We’ve got stretch goals for a hardcover, several acrylic charms, a patch, numerous extra holographic prints, and a surprise one if we reach all of those!”

This means that we’re going to get different art styles throughout the entirety of the book, showcasing a range of art styles for all of the featured pieces.

I got the chance to check out the project before launch and am happy to report that the artbook will come in both digital and softcover format. You can also get just the merch if you’d like, but after seeing some of the art included in the book I know that this is something I’m gonna have to hold in my hands and flip through in awe.

Mock up Design of some of the art featured in the book

The initial goal is set at $30K to cover the costs of production, shipping, taxes, fees, and, most importantly, paying all of the artists involved. After the initial goal is met, there are several stretch goals ranging from upgrading the physical book to a soft-touch matte hardcover to offering holographic prints. Nova also teased at another surprise if all the stretch goals are surpassed.

No. They didn’t tell me what it was. We’re all just gonna have to wait.


Be sure to check out the Kickstarter campaign right over here! The campaign ends on May 5th.

(image: Nova and Mali)

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Image of Briana Lawrence
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)