The month of June is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ community and reflect on the advances of queer people to strengthen civil liberties around the world, even in a moment of great political uncertainty. It’s also a good opportunity to spotlight the richness and diversity of culture we have within the community. Hyperallergic is commemorating Pride Month by featuring one contemporary queer artist per day on the website and letting them speak for themselves. Click here to participate.

Alonzo Pantoja coexisting with his work (image courtesy the artist)

Alonzo Pantoja

Age: 26

Location: Minneapolis

Artistic Medium: Fiber, Installation

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a friend and lover. As a queer artist, I am interested in what comfort means, both in my practice and everyday life, and how to visualize it. My process tends to be malleable, fluid and open. I want to share moments and states of how I perceive comfort to be — whether that means drinking a cup of coffee, hearing the rain hit the window, or hiding under the covers. My work is an arrangement of materials that appear out of place, but in visual harmony. The objects are objects, but it is through the title of the works that I provide emotional and psychological cues.

What are the top three greatest influences on your work?

Sheila Pepe, journaling about daily experiences, and Beyoncé.

Describe your coffee order.

Iced coffee year-round with some caramel and half & half.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Moving to a new city on my own. I didn’t think I could do it, but I’m still here. I’ve been welcomed by so many people and that’s been great. Also being an artist. I never planned to be one, but it just happened. Now I’m all for it.

What constitutes a perfect day?

Getting to the studio in the morning with no errands to do. Not scheduled for work. Just me with some iced coffee working on a weaving while Beyoncé plays in the background.

What was your favorite exhibition from last year?

Material Futurity at Law Warschaw Gallery.

What would your superpower be if you had one?

The gift of love. I don’t know how that sounds out loud, but I think we could all use more love. Especially in today’s climate.

Tell us a lie about yourself.

I go to bed early.

What is one question you wish somebody would ask about your work?

Can I touch it?

What is the greatest threat to humanity?


What did you make when you first started making art?

Still-lifes. Academia is extra like that.

Do you prefer spilling the tea or throwing shade?

Spilling the tea, because I already drink too much coffee.

What is your all-time favorite work of art?

You just can’t ask that.

What are your plans for pride month?

Listen to Beyoncé. Hangout with fellow queers. Dance and drink. Probably cry? I haven’t decided on that yet.

What is the future of queerness?


Back in my day…

I use to catch bees. They died. I’m sorry.

Name one guilty pleasure.

Strawberry-blended Margaritas.

Greatest queer icon of the internet: Babadook, Momo, or a pervading sense of existential angst?

The Babadook.

Is there enough support for queer artists where you live?

There is no such thing as enough.

How do you stay cool during the summer?

Don’t go outside.

What is your favorite type of milk?

Whole milk because I can’t have any.

“Queer Artists in Their Own Words” is an ongoing feature happening every day in the month of June. For prior posts in the series, please click here.

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Zachary Small

Zachary Small was the senior writer at Hyperallergic and has written for The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Nation, The Times Literary Supplement, Artforum, and other publications. They have...