Rare Birds and Wild Creatures

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Rare Birds and Wild Creatures

but money isn't everything, and living a life where I can be nocturnal if I want, make art when I am feeling it, schedule time away when city life gets too intense, and live with a lot of queer integrity—is sort of everything.

 

Patricia: Your current book is called The Queen of Hearts. What does that refer to, and what is the function of that mythology for you, at this point? 

Quito: Oh my gosh, the Queen of Hearts. The simple answer is that I had a super dramatic, mostly unrequited, crush on one person for most of the time I was photographing, we went out together a lot, and I often turned our adventures into metaphorical stories when processing later with friends or in my writings. It's 3 years later now, we are both really over it and have processed everything, and she totally consented to being cast as this mythical figure for the book.

The complicated answer is about how we project ourselves onto others, particularly those we are preternaturally drawn to. Do we want to DO them, or BE them? I was beginning to realize there was life beyond the gender binary, carefully beginning my own explorations of what it would mean to me to be trans, and here was this fully-formed, flagrantly gender non-conforming person blazing an explosive path beside me. We learned a lot from each other, though the intensity of our dynamics definitely cast a shadow over everything that year. 

So in some ways the Queen of Hearts was a person, but maybe she was always just a dream—it’s kind of hard to tell. I channeled Artemis a lot when I was photographing, the lonely androgynous hunter of the night. As I was editing the images, I found myself drawn to the pictures I took when I was lurking in dark corners, cruising for the Queen of Hearts, picking up observations along the way. Her shadow falls over many of these images, though I might be the only one who can see it. 

Patricia: In 2011, you curated a show that I just loved, Elegy for A Queendom that Never Became for Visual Aids. Was Queen of Hearts at all influenced by Elegy? What I found so moving about Elegy was how the show identified a clear desire in contemporary