Craft & Creativity: Drag & Performance Art
Our newest blog on the subject of Craft, Skill & Creativity comes from Masc Peach (@mascpeach on instagram)
A note on content: this piece contains descriptions of fetish events and erotic-themed performances, it may not be for everyone.
My name is Peach, I’m a queer, nonbinary drag/performance artist of Romany Gypsy heritage - my grandma was Romany and my grandad worked on the fairgrounds. While I’m not directly connected to modern travellers, the spirit of Romany culture runs within my blood, and the traditions have played a huge role in my upbringing and shaped who I am today.
My craft is drag and performance art, which I explore through the performer name Masc Peach (@mascpeach on Instagram). I use costume, make-up, styling and performance to explore themes of gender, mental health, identity and society. I create strange little characters that blur the boundaries of humanity, placing them in comical, colourful and sometimes disturbing situations to see how they interact and unravel. This can take the form of photoshoots, videos and sometimes live performances.
This all began in a pretty leftfield way. I grew up believing art was never viable to me, sensible money-making careers only! I only tapped into the possibility through London’s queer electronic scene and the fetish scene - I loved raving, getting off my face and I was a total exhibitionist. Most weekends I used to take half my clothes off and dance on podiums for everyone to see. After trawling the clubs for 3 years, I ended up meeting a bunch of artists and DJs and performers and thought, you know what I could do this. Soon after we met, they started offering me opportunities - want to film a music video? Totally. Maybe we could do a photoshoot? Let's do it. But then the C-word hit (Covid, not the other one) and we were banished to our bedrooms. I went from going out every weekend, working full-time and playing sports twice a week to being cooped up in a tiny 3-bed flat in south London. It was a recipe for a nervous breakdown. After many evenings getting drunk on my own, and some evenings tattooing myself (badly), I figured there must have been a better outlet for all this energy. That’s when I started experimenting with make-up and all the clothes I had bought for going out (latex, leather, chains, colourful costume bits and bobs etc.)
This coincided with my friend's party, Crossbreed, starting to host online raves. With an audience of 100+ house-bound ravers, I took the chance to set up strange little erotic performances from my loft. During the first, I made a character that combined a pink and frilly ballerina aesthetic with a black latex gimp mask. This character proceeded to slowly fuck a watermelon that I had carved a face into (the face was like this :o). The second was a racy latex housewife. I turned my kitchen into a slip-and-slide, complete with a bubble-filled paddling pool, a rubber duck in a brightly lit fish tank, lots of bubbles and a dildo taped to a scrubbing brush. During these performances, I staged mini photoshoots that I shot on self-timer and uploaded them to Instagram (with a lot of censoring).
My drag and performance career has kind of snowballed from there really. Although I have slowly moved away from erotic-themed work. Every few months, I make different characters and place them in unique settings. To date, I have created a slightly terrifying bunny costume for a bunny sex tape video, a humanoid alien and abstract monster for a photo shoot, and a colourful non-binary drag queen, a Mark Zuckerberg drag king and a paper-mache suit for live performances. (Fun fact, during the paper suit performance, I was sat at a desk pretending to work on an old-school computer. I moved from typing away and working to slowly beating it up and destroying it. When I smashed the screen with a baseball bat, it sparked and I almost set my paper, varnished suit on fire. Ha ha).
Right now, I’m plugging away at my art. Working on new videos, new photoshoots and trying to get more live performance gigs. It’s a highly competitive world and there are more drag queens than there are working opportunities. This demands that you’re either the best, the boldest or you have something completely unique to say. So i’ve gotta work hard - I’m learning to dance, practicing make-up, making Tik Tok’s, starting a sewing course and working toward a music video. The pursuit of art (and especially drag) is super challenging but entirely rewarding. If I didn’t pull out the inside of my mind and create the things I’m daydreaming and wondering about, I think I would go mad.
Find me on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/mascpeach/