When Séamus Gallagher laughs, it's a bright, jangly sound that brings to mind the eye-searing colour palette present in their photography and performance work. Heavily influenced by drag and internet culture, they're known for images like a figure drowning in a sea of red and yellow stickers blaring "UH OH"—or the perfectly made-up corpse covered in smiley faces on this issue's cover titled "all smiles."
A recent NSCAD grad and winner of the school's prestigious Starfish award in 2018, Gallagher's manicured hand is placed upon the pulse of our culture—and looking at their work on Instagram (@shameusseamus) is like witnessing a candy shop issue pop-art-y reminders about the climate crisis. "One of my professors used to say 'pay attention to what you pay attention to,' and I always thought that was really interesting. I've always been interested in digital culture and computer programs, and I've liked finding a way of threading my interests in that realm with my queer identity as well," they offer.
"There's something really pivotal about me being able to create my own spaces in my photographic practice. I don't know if I intentionally made a political statement or if it was a mode of self-preservation."
Currently Gallagher is prepping for a drag showcase on PEI. When asked if they they'll be the first non-binary person some of the crowd will ever have seen, they laugh. Either way, the showcase is bound to be as colourful as Gallagher's work always is, with their trademark air of millennial anxiety. The colour palette might change, the need for a message won't. "Art has always been a way to explore your own identity and also trump notions that society imposes on us as a whole."