Several months back Nayland Blake put me in contact with his friend Jarett Earnest, an art writer. Jarrett was looking to secure permission to use Jerome’s painting The Ascension of the Fruit Bowl on the cover of a new chapbook titled Hi Angels. The book is a collection of short poems written by Candystore. Each poem begins with the phrase “Hi angel” and then takes you on an unexpected journey.
It was a delight reading the elegant mock-up Jarett sent. I could easily see Jerome’s art paired with these poems. I was also intrigued by the name Candystore. Once I landed on Candystore’s website, I had a blast looking at provocative images of her in various outrageous, colorful, skimpy, flamboyant drag outfits (www.hicandy.store).
The similarity between Jerome and Candystore is uncanny. Both sexualize fruit and flowers while wearing little more than bits of lace. Candystore reminds me of Jerome in Ric Warren’s infamous San Francisco photo shoots!
I quickly learned that Candystore is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and performer from San Jose who now lives in New York City. I loved the creative use of “She-he” as a gender-fuck pronoun on Candystore’s about page. It cleverly and powerfully flips the derogatory “He-she” phrase used in the early 80’s & 90’s to dismissively describe transvestites, transexuals and crossdressers.
Eventually Candystore and I talked on the phone. Within a matter of days we worked together to get permission from SFMOMA to allow us to use their high-resolution image of The Ascension of the Fruit Bowl. Claudia La Rocco and David Rozelle at SFMOMA helped expedite this process while under a tight deadline. Once the cover design was established, Candystore surprised me at the last minute by deciding to dedicate Hi Angels to Jerome. She asked me for six or seven more images of works by Jerome to use as illustrations throughout the book. How could I say no to that!
Clearly, Candystore gets Jerome and wants to introduce him to a whole new audience!
Candystore and I then sifted through a stack of images of Jerome’s art until she picked some beautiful pieces that have never been published before. The painting Hot Coffee To Go was one of them, along with a personal favorite of mine, a marvelous untitled metal container painting with a blond, nude Venus on one side, and a blue, nude devil on the other (see images attached). If you look closely at the Venus/Devil piece you will see Venus has a phallus and is standing on her half shell while riding the waves and holding a runny egg over her head. On the flip side of the piece, a smirking devil, standing on a pile of burning human skulls, holds a heated cast-iron skillet over his head, ready to fry an egg. Both of these images are painted on the outside of a metal clam-shell business-card case. Jerome’s lovely works of art are a beautiful complement to Candystore’s writing!
I know if Jerome were around today, he would be tickled pink to see his paintings published in this beautiful art book, Hi Angels, and I have no doubt the two of them would have been drag sisters.
Thank you, Candystore, it has been an honor to collaborate with you!
ANGEL of DEATH FANTASIES
Hi angel I’m wet I’m smelly Yes it’s August and raining But you notice what I’m wearing I notice when you’re staring I think I look hot Like a wet model waist deep in the ocean The Amazon rainforest is on fire And still I think everybody loves me In this floral pink raincoat In this rising sea On this melting planet I feel hot, too My raincoat is pure plastic Cute sweaty plastic You know that I can take it To the next level, baby I want to die in this rain coat So it fuses to my skin When the world ends When we all liquify Become atmosphere Or whatever is left of it A child smiled at me They know we don’t have much longer I might feel honorable And crouch over them like at Pompeii Incinerate together Triple layer of pink goo If you feel it Let it happen
Special Thanks to the Shannon Michael Cane Memorial Fund
Candystore's book of poems, HI Angels, was made possible through the Shannon Michael Cane Memorial Fund, a grant awarded to first time exhibitors at Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair. As the previous organizer of Printed Matter’s Art Book Fair, Shannon Michael Cane (1974 - 2017) championed queer artists, DIY bookmakers, and freaks of all stripes.
All images of Candystore are subject to copyright and were taken by Jonathan Grassi. Candystore will be autographing and selling them at her booth at the 2019 NY Art Book Fair. For more info please contact either of them directly — THANK YOU!