Harry’s Design with Pride

rainbow animationPortrait of Matthew Placek

Matthew Placek


Preferred Pronouns - He / Him

What does Pride mean to you?

Visibility and accountability.

Describe a moment when being both an artist and a part of this community has helped you through a difficult time / helped you find a way forward. 

Every single step of my entire life. Being “other” and a creative person forces you to be aware at all times. I do not take anything for granted, nor do I overlook the world around me.

Are there any LGBTQ artists/designers that you’re currently a fan of?

There are not enough pages, but I’ll give you a few examples of those still with us that immediately come to mind and have personally elevated me and my work: Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Apparatus, Zsela, Moses Sumney, Serpent with Feet, Perfume Genius, Miguel Gutierrez, Lady Fag, Desi Santiago, James Ivory, Anthony Roth Costanzo, John Cameron Mitchell, Io Tillett Wright, Savannah Knoop…. The list goes on and ON!

What is your motto (or words you live by)?

Be kind and compassionate.

What advice do you have for young people in the LGBTQ community who want to pursue a creative path or career in photography?

Practice, practice, practice...and follow your gut.

You have been very successful at working across commercial photography and contemporary art. How do you bridge these two worlds in your work, and what does each side give you?

Honestly, I approach both in the same manner. I’m not interested in compartmentalizing the two. It took me 20 years to figure that out. Basically, I make shit with passion and sincerity. Everything else is secondary.

How did you begin your Wet Noise community, and how has cultivating these events contributed to your creative mindset?

If I’m not making things, I’m dancing. In 2014, I didn’t have a party that played my music, so I made one. I do not separate my dance party from my art practice. When I make things, it is with the intention to encourage others to feel what I feel. Just the right combination of light, atmosphere, sound and expression can translate everything I want to say about the world, whether that be setting the stage for a dance party or the set for a portrait. Most importantly, all of these things require collaboration and community to be successful.

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