June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, and at Catalyst Ranch we celebrate all our staff, colleagues, neighbors and clients who identify with any of the vibrant communities represented (including, but not limited to Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual individuals).
On Saturday, June 17, our creative space will be graced with the artful expression of a number of drag performers during a Drag Variety Show hosted by one of our own Ranch Hand staffers, Koda Calma.
We’re especially excited because we already know what beautiful visual art he’s capable of: Earlier this year Koda with another talented Ranch Hand Niko, enhanced a number of our walls with painted decoration, deepening the extent of the art in our environment. You’ll love the bubbly koi by the 5E kitchen partition, for example.
We chatted with Koda about bringing ones creativity to work, the origins of his drag, and why the June 17 Drag Variety Show is special.
Koda, please introduce yourself to our Creative Juice Blog readers! And what are your pronouns?
My name is Koda Calma, and pronouns are he/they. My drag name is Koda Pendants with pronouns if they/he/she.
Koda painting Pogo (left) and Niko painting koi fish
This spring, you and Niko went to work adding your artful touch to the Ranch environment by painting art and signage on the walls in our space.
What does it mean to be able to contribute the artistic part of yourself to where you work?
I am first and foremost a creative, so it feels great to be able to contribute that part of myself to the workplace. And it’s amazing to be trusted enough to create colorful murals to be enjoyed by the staff and our clients.
Can you tell us a little about the process behind the designs?
Most of the artwork Niko and I created was inspired by the Ranch’s existing décor. The art hanging on the walls gave us a starting point.
Personally, my favorite part was Niko’s hallway of koi fish. He put a lot of effort into that scene and I think it really paid off. The detail of each fish provides a whole other level of creativity and wonder.
Koda Calma (left) and two looks as drag persona Koda Pendants
Your creativity encompasses more than your painting talents. Tell us about the other aspects of your artistry. And what is your relationship with drag?
I am currently in school for Interdisciplinary Documentary, with concentrations in film and radio. It was through these practices that I discovered the local drag scene. I’ve made a couple short docs on fellow drag artists who encouraged me to explore the art form for myself. I have only been in the drag scene for about a year now. But drag has allowed me to not only play with and explore gender, but also be celebrated for the gender nonconformity of it all.
We’re very grateful for your work and your art at the Ranch, and we’re proud to count you among our staff whom we celebrate during Pride Month.
Tell us about the Drag Variety Show you’re hosting here on Saturday, June 17.
The Drag Variety show is going to be a beautiful showcase of queer talent. We have over 15 different acts lined up from the classic lip syncing to burlesque to live singing. The purpose of this show is to cultivate a safe space for performers to show off and experiment with pride.
Many of the local drag shows are highly competitive, which can be intimidating for new kings and queens. This show will allow amateur performers a space to explore without the pressure of competition. At the end of the show, we will be having a runway finale. The category is The Future is Queer. And I am very excited to see what all of these very talented artists bring to the stage.