A digital drawing by Lorelei Ramirez (image courtesy the artist and Abrons Arts Center)

“Who knew that 30 would feel like a better version of 15?”

While I’m guessing the jury’s out on that one for many jaded 30 and 15-year-olds alike, the calm surmising of Lorelei Ramirez inevitably invites a chuckle. Such deadpan, yet somehow earnestly odd one-liners abound in Art is Easy, the Twitch stream-cum-live-drawing-show hosted by the New York-based artist, comedian, and writer. With their monthly variety show Not Dead Yet on hiatus due to the pandemic, Ramirez’s current platform offers them a way to continue using their “comedy brain and production brain,” as they told the New York Times, all the while inviting viewers to tune in for a mix of cathartic comedy and Photoshop draw-alongs aimed at making the shit show we’re all currently waist-deep in feel just a bit more bearable.

Case in point, in a mid-August edition, Ramirez’s image sits framed on either side by a milky galaxy and a rotating array of bizarrely satisfying to behold Photoshop illustrations. A recent work-in-progress, pictured above, sports exceptionally buff renderings of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Bernie Sanders, while the revered trans activist Miss Major lounges in the foreground at the base of a waterfall. It’s unclear what relationship any of them have to each other in this tableaux, or to the weed-shirt wearing Gnome in the middle ground, but I’m honestly not mad at any of it. “Today let’s just process something together — or not, or totally escape,” Ramirez intones, inviting viewers to travel elsewhere internally as they fill in the lush tropical background of the digital drawing. Sign me up.

YouTube video

Later this month, Ramirez will invite fellow comics Karen Chee (Late Night with Seth Myers), Bowen Yang and Julio Torres (both of Saturday Night Live), and chat room host Charlie Markbreiter for a special edition of Art is Easy in honor of Citizenship Day, an annual holiday which commemorates both the 1787 signing of the US constitution and the efforts of those who have attained US citizenship. The show will be co-presented by New American Economy and Abrons Arts Center, as part of the fall 2020 season co-curated by Abrons’s Craig Peterson and Ali Rosa-Salas.

As the news cycle turns grimmer and grimmer, particularly in relation to immigration, the stated aim of collectively imagining “a future where they can live out their deepest desires while addressing current societal traumas” sounds like a tall order but at this rate, it’s safe to say I’m intrigued by the promise of some much-needed catharsis. After all, when’s the last time you laughed these days?

When: September 17, 7pm EDT
Where: Twitch

Note: ASL interpretation and closed captioning will be provided for this event. See Abrons Arts Center for more info. 

Editor’s note: a previous version of this article misstated the artist’s surname. It is Ramirez, not Rodriguez. We regret the error. 

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a New York based editor, writer, and film curator, as well as the former reviews editor at Hyperallergic. You can follow her work here.