Collaborations with photographers
artistic director, co-founder with Johnny Velour
Self-published art magazine
Velour: The Drag Magazine (known in early stages as "VYM") celebrates the art of drag through fine art, poetry, and interviews! each issue pairs drag innovators with visual artists and writers to create beautiful and thoughtful pieces about the power, beauty, and purpose of drag.
Published twice yearly, the 100+ page, advertisement-free book is a work of art in itself. With clean and playful design, high-quality paper, offset-printed in rich full color with tactile raised type and protective spot gloss on the cover and spine—this mag is designed to decorate coffee tables, to collect on bookshelves, to be taught in classrooms, and (most importantly) to be read, discussed, and shared.
photographs by Patrick Arias
collage/text by Sasha Velour
Posture Magazine: Issue 3
With Sasha Velour, Miss Malice, Horrorchata, Chris of Hur, Rify Royalty
Originally published in Posture Magazine: Issue 3 (The Boss Issue) these photo-illustrations showcase some superstar producer queens of Brooklyn drag nightlife, accompanied by short essays.
(Introduction by Sasha Velour)
"Drag, in general, is a space of queer reimagining—the workshop in which we try to fix (or at least fuck with) the narratives of gender and beauty that we see around us. Drag looks at gender and says “what an exciting idea, but you’ve got the rules all wrong!” For me, it can do the same thing to the boss.
Because for us queers, (especially us small-fish, down-home, drag bar queers) old-fashioned leadership with its ideas of hierarchy and control just doesn’t seem that useful. Many of us even have serious damage caused by “bosses”—leaders who controlled the way we dressed or spoke, “guidance” that silenced us. We need new kinds of leadership, ones that work for us.
A drag boss is a kind of playful re-interpretation. It’s about opening up space for new, queer bodies to take on positions of leadership. It’s about creating networks and businesses with distinctly un-hierarchal structures. It’s about being fun, and glamorous, and lovely. And because drag celebrates code-switching and repeated role-reversal, drag boss (or is it “boss-drag”?) means taking turns, alternating roles, and creating collaboratively.
This plays out on such a local scale here in Brooklyn. The drag scene here is THRIVING, and the hosts and performers that define each neighborhood/bar/show continue to build loyal and distinctive audiences. People feel like they belong at a drag show…and that, to me, is the sign of great leadership.
In the following essays, 5 performers from different Brooklyn neighborhoods talk about the parties that they produce and host—what kind of environment they create, why they love drag and queer performance, and what they value as queer-self-made leaders. In illustrating these, photographer Patrick Arias and I created wild collages—soul pictures of the space that these bad-ass drag bosses have carved out for themselves and their community.
Like a true boss queen, I saved one spot for myself. If drag teaches us one lesson…it’s to graciously and glamorously step into the spotlight at any given chance. And that, I think…is some real boss beauty."
Dynamic drag portraits cut out of colored paper, created in different sizes and styles for posters, illustrations, and gifts.
photography by Daphne Chan
direction and words by Sasha Velour
(Thanks to Iru Ba and Paula Lombardi)
For Velour: The Drag Magazine, Issue 2. Sasha Velour and photographer Daphne Chan took inspiration from surrealist and realist painters to create mood-pictures that capture the very real experience of grieving in public. The piece is dedicated to Sasha's mother Jane, who died 5 days after the release of the magazine's inaugural issue. Jane was a fierce advocate for non-violence and community activism.
Digital illustration and collage
Originally created for Awakening Magazine, edited and directed by Love Bailey. Fashion dreamscapes inspired by Savage Ranch, surrealist photography, and fashion by Maison Margiela, Saint Laurent, Christopher Kane, Delpozo.
Series of 12 colorful digital illustrations created as advertisements for the first year of Sasha Velour's monthly drag show NIGHTGOWNS. Distributed as exclusive numbered prints for guests and attendees of each show.
These images combine art references with pop culture and graphic design to illustrate the "drag imagination." Full of color and drama, suspense, glamor, and just a little bit of tackiness!
Nightgowns is a monthly drag show dedicated to smart, artistic, and queer-positive performance.
The second Thursday of every month.
10pm (Shows at 11 sharp)
10$ Suggested Donation (21+)
For a selection of performances from the show, click here.
"Beautiful and Funny and politically charged"
— The New York Times
"A highly curated, well thought-out spectacle that feels like a miniature play....NIGHTGOWNS provides a stage to communicate, to laugh, and to think through performance."
— Bushwick Daily
"Brooklyn alt-drag star Sasha Velour presents a new group of arty, intelligent acts every second Thursday for this thinking-queen's drag show."
— Time Out NY
"Velour’s perfectly applied makeup and wardrobe stocked with sequined dresses, surreal headpieces, and skin-tight leotards... occupies a strange territory between glamorous and sci-fi..."
— Bedford + Bowery
"Takes a sensitive, politically charged approach to drag without compromising an ounce of sequins."
— NEXT Magazine
(January-March, 2016 — Black Box Gallery, Bizarre Bushwick)
Digital Illustration and Collage
This colorful gallery show featured 15 large-scale giclee prints. Each detailed noir illustration depicts a different night-time room, occupied by a variety of high-femme drag subjects engaged in surreal art rituals. These images invite the viewer to step into the kind of alternate reality explored by the drag imagination.
The opening reception on March 10, 2016 featured performances by Velour, Untitled Queen, Patti Spliff, Olive d'Nightlife, and Fox Squire.
Reviews and Press
"The magic of a glam performance artist extending her gifts to a new medium."
-Time Out New York
"A sensitive, politically charged approach...seems to revel in a kind of transparency between the Sasha onstage and off"
"Noir drag art...fab."
Photo of Mr. Vigor Mortis by Lucas Blair
Photo of Johnny Velour by Sasha Velour
Limited edition dye-sublimation shirt and accompanying print. Currently sold out.
Drag performance with projection
projection animated and edited by Sasha Velour
Video recorded by Johnny Velour at Austin Drag Festival, 2016.
"What Now" was originally created as a performance piece, accompanied by a performance to Shirley Bassey's "What Now My Love?"
First published in InkBRICK #4 (2015).
In performance, introduced by an essay: "What I've learned about death as a drag queen"
"I think a lot of drag queens take inspiration from fabulous women in their own lives. For years, I gave all the credit to my dad’s mom, Grandma Dina, the Chinese-born Russian Jewish actress who talked about sex all the time and spent an hour setting her hair. But while she certainly fulfilled the Auntie Mame role in my life… that’s not really the kind of drag queen that I am, or aspire to be.
“I want to be the drag queen that’s smart, and that cares about others. That asks questions. I want to be the kind of drag queen that sees herself as elegant, not over-the-top… Because I want to be my mother’s drag queen.
“Four months ago, on June 17th, a few days after turning 64, my mom Jane died of primary peritoneal cancer. She couldn’t speak when I arrived at the hospital in Illinois. She moved around a lot – whispering to herself, occasionally breaking into a smile so big she looked like the Cheshire cat – and she too was fading away.
“I learned that it can be empowering to wear your mother’s dress. Or power suit. At first I was worried that it was a little Norman Bates Psycho, but then I just embraced it and now I’m a murderer.
“I have learned that you must be honest about your pain – because you can, and must – think of it as something beautiful and yours.
“I learned that I have not lost the relationship, it’s just moved inside. It exists inside my mind, among memories and fantasies – and that space in there is just as important as the one out here.
“I learned that listening and caring and loving can be powerful – just as powerful as talking and acting, and can touch just as many lives.
“Beautify your life, beautify your pain. Remember to play and imagine – to smile, and to find strength in listening and thinking.”
Pen-and-ink drawing with digital color
Originally created for Cicada Magazine - May/June 2016. Sasha Velour interviews 8 different drag performers about their favorite "objects" and captures them both in wild portraits!
STONEWALL is a full-length graphic novel in-progress about the “Stonewall Riots” of 1969. Although the riots are regularly acknowledged as a symbolic turning-point in the history of LGBT rights, it has been difficult to trace the exact turn of events. Acknowledging this complicated past, the story is told through the eyes of multiple protagonists in a variety of historical styles.
Praise for Stonewall:
"Steinberg seemlessly melds the camp of crime pulp to a dramatization of queer resistence in the psychedelic 60s." — Quimbys Bookstore
"This is a smart, beautiful and artful take on a significant and difficult historical event." — High Low Comics
"Body Language" is a short comic that was first published in Suspect Device #4 (Birdcage Bottom Books). The comic explores the queer experience and imagination in the Russian Gulag.
Awarded Honorable Mention in Best American Comics 2014.