CELEBRATING PRIDE, DIVERSITY & QUEER POWER
Originally from Bolton via Narnia and now Based in London, Dominic Evans aka DOM&INK is a freelance published illustrator and author with a penchant for creating work that makes you feel empowered, confident and all warm and fuzzy inside
Themes of LGBTQ+ rights, mental health awareness, body positivity, drag and girl bands flow beautifully through his colourful creations. Taking his work to glittering camp new heights last year, Dom became the official illustrator of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season one and Little Mix : The Search. He has also created work for Little Mix, Cheryl, iWeigh,The X-Factor, Emma Watson’s ‘Our Shared Shelf’ and has now released his third book Queer Power. In the book, Dom celebrates some of the modern-day trailblazers, champions and icons who have shaped, or are shaping our world, from well-known public figures and allies to local legends and queer heroes.
Dom, where are you right now?
I'm currently sitting at my desk sipping coffee from a Jane Eyre themed mug that has a huge chip in it because I'm clumsy and drop things. I've got a stack of washing in front of me. I need to take off the clothes horse, two iPads charging and a looming deadline. However, all that has faded into existence as right next to me is a cinnamon bun that I haven't touched yet. And as soon as I have finished typing this email, I will devour it with gay glee.
Congratulations on your new book Queer Power, can you tell us how it came to be and how did choose the icons that feature?
Thank you so much! It's been such a rollercoaster putting it together. I'd been wanting to do a book that really celebrated the LGBTQ+ community and also amplified the voices of those that we may not see on magazine covers or on podcasts or TV. Choosing icons was the most difficult area I came across, as it's really hard to fit the beauty and diversity of our community into just 55 spreads. I wanted each icon to represent something, have a message or a journey. I want readers to feel seen in these icons! I really hope we get to do a follow up, as there's so many other icons out there I want to put in!
What is it about these fascinating figures that inspired you to begin drawing them?
This is such a great question! You know, I was thinking about this the other day, as some illustrators draw one thing or theme or niche and do it so well. I think for me, I find inspiration in 'queer culture moments'. Moments that unite the community, whether that's through illustrating a speech of an icon or activist, or a journey of a queen off Drag Race UK or even a moment in the latest Gaga video!
Speaking of girl bands, we know you love a cheeky Little Mix illustration every now and again, so with that in mind, if you could go back in time and work with one girl group that has since disbanded, who would it be and why?
I do LOVE Little Mix. I think if I could go back in time and work with one, I'd actually say Girls Aloud. I know everyone would say Spice Girls, but for me, Girls Aloud will always have a space in my heart. Can you imagine going back in time and getting the chance to illustrate the single cover for 'Sexy! No! No! No!'? I would GAG. At the moment though, I currently manifest daily I get to do a Little Mix single cover with my small (massive) shrine in my cupboard.
Growing up, did you have an early queer icon or influence that inspired you?
To be honest, no, not really. I think the closest I got to was Jack on Will & Grace. Jack was feminine and camp and loved. Other things I came across were Queer As Folk which I was too young for at the time but totally overwhelmed me, watching it back in my twenties, I got it, but at seventeen, little me in Bolton in my dunagrees watching a rim job scene was like WTF. Saying that, from an early age it was X-Men that inspired me. I think a lot of queer people really resonate with that team because whilst none of them at the time, were queer, they were about being different and alienated from society yet looking after and protecting each other. When I think back, I think a lot of queer youth at the time learnt about chosen family, acceptance and finding validation in yourself from that cartoon. And also probably developed a crush on Gambit.
Your illustrations have strong themes of empowerment and body positivity is evident throughout - Can you tell us more about why this is important to you?
That is such a lovely thing to say, I actively try when I'm drawing figures to represent who I can. Similar to Queer Power, it's difficult to represent everyone in one image. For me, it's important because I always want people to feel 'seen' in my work, and feel accepted. If I draw figures I want to draw the people that exist in the world around me.
What do you think makes a great icon?
I'd say passion, ambition, a huge love for community and others plus iconic hair and outfits that involve shoulderpads?
Dom & Ink’s book Queer Power is available now and you can keep up to date with their work through their Instagram