Pride means many different things to different members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We all celebrate it differently. Mixed media artist Daniel Clurman has decided to celebrate Pride month by honoring the trailblazing, gay liberation activist and icon Marsha P. Johnson through a series of limited-edition prints to benefit the Ali Forney Center in New York City. The center is named after the late trans LGBTQIA+ youth advocate Ali Forney and a portion of proceeds of the silkscreen prints will go to the center, helping out marginalized and displaced queer teens. The Ali Forney Center is a New York City-based organization that provides healthcare services and shelter for LGBTQIA youth.
“I believe the Ali Forney Center works towards the goals of Marsha P. Johnson,” Clurman tells GRAZIA. “It was a perfect way to further Marsha’s cause.” Daniel Clurman is a self-taught Brooklyn based artist who exist within several intersections — he’s Black, Jewish and queer. These intersections often influence his work as he tends to get inspiration from people he admires from history (often queer history), pop culture and even people on Instagram, like James Baldwin, iconic drag queen and John Waters’ muse Divine, Lil Nas X, Sylvester, New York City queer nightlife icon Nashom Wooden (known as Mona Foot) and of course, Marsha P. Johnson.
Clurman says he dedicated a run of prints to Marsha P. Johnson because he’s known about her for a long time but it wasn’t until he started to draw her, that he understood her physical power. “Drawing a subject for me is an intimate moment,” Clurman continued. “When I’m drawing Marsha, I understand why her activism was so iconic and how her smile radiates acceptance.” It’s true that Johnson’s joy radiates through the various editions of prints. Her smile is seen throughout every print along with an interpretation of her iconic flower crowns and fascinators. Clurman conveys this joy through the use of materials such as crayons, oil pastel and colored pencil.
“Marsha is a black trans Saint for the LGBTQIA+ community.”
“Marsha is like a family member who has passed on, but still has a lot to teach us about pride and joy,” Clurman said. “She continues to inspire me.” Through this fundraiser, Clurman is keeping the legacy or Johnson alive while giving back to a mission modeled right after Johnson’s own heart. Using his craft to support those most in need within the LGBTQIA+ community and honor BIPOC queer history at the same time — and we’re sure Johnson is somewhere smiling down approvingly.
If interested in purchasing a print, visit Daniel Clurman’s Instagram and for more information on the work and mission of the Ali Forney Center, visit their website.