Zavisha Chromicz

Zavisha Chromicz (b. 1972, Poland) self-identifies as a queer fat trans mixed Roma self-taught artist who has been making community-based mixed media and fibre art for over 20 years. They have consistently made art as a medicine for survival. Their work explores disability in throwaway culture and the joy of queer debauchery, and honours the survivors of childhood and ancestral trauma. Early collaborators includes Will Munro.

In the current exhibition, The calming beauty of the body's molecular landscape, developed in the snippets of time available to the parent of young kids during a pandemic lockdown, Chromicz addresses the fear and chaos around COVID-19. While indulging in late-night doomscrolling to research the biology of the coronavirus, they came upon a breathtaking NASA image of a human cell. That single image became a transformative portal into: the calming beauty of the body’s molecular landscape.

COVID has had a deadly effect on millions around the world. But for queers facing isolation, the lockdowns also echo the feeling of being abandoned by the world during the AIDS pandemic. This has caused many a bright queer warrior to snuff their own light out.

For Chromicz, an artist with complex PTSD, waking up before their kids and creating art in the hours before dawn reaffirmed the power of creation. It was like using a microscope to zoom in, look inside and find the sacred blueprint to life.



Solo projects and exhibitions

2021
The calming beauty of the body’s molecular landscape, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto

2017- present
Opulent Debauchery
Large scale mixed media sculpture project (porcelin, clay, metal) exploring trauma healing through pleasure, decadence and queer family making.

2013-2014
Jellyfish Recycled Sculptures
Sculptures made recycled plastics, spoons, bottles documenting mental health struggles.

2013
Colonialism In A Nutshell
Exploration of colonialism and sexual violence through embroidery and fabric art

2012
The Fungi
soft sculpture, textile arts, embroidery
exploration of queer/ trans family formation and trauma healing

2011
Pierogi Ring
Hamburger Ring
Brass Knuckle Ring Against Fat Hate

Silver, silversmithing, jewelry

2007-2011
Heart Attack, Graphic and costume art, clothing line exploring fat queer identity

2010
Fancyland Plates, Arcata, CA.
I made 100 fired and hand painted ceramic plates for 10th year anniversary of Fancyland radical queer rural community

Baba Yaga, Mixed media sculpture in leatherwork and textile using story of Baba Yaga to explore healing sexual abuse trauma

1998-2005
Chubbalicious, Visual art, costuming, public/street art, stickering exploring fat queer bodies and biopolitics

2000
Chubbalicious, solo show, The Horseshoe, Toronto ON


Collaborative and Group Projects and Exhibitions

2015-2016
Freedom Fighters collaboration with Leroi Newbold, Toronto, ON.
Puppetry series for Black Lives Matter Toronto. Ten puppets and soft sculpture of Black activists, artists and historical figures, including Nanny of the Maroons, Marie Angelique, Leroy Moore, and more. Collaboration with visual artist Leroi Newbold.

2012
Will Munro: HISTORY, GLAMOUR, MAGIC, Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, ON
I contributed a piece to the posthumous survey exhibition

2008-2011
Sins Invalid sculpture and costumes, San Francisco,CA.
In collaboration with Nomy Lamm. Large scale sculptures including nest of leg protheses and costuming for disability justice performance art pieces Belly Up, Ring of Fire and Nobody Knows.

2003-2004
Virginia Puff Paint, in collaboration with Will Munro and Jeremy Lang, Zsa Zsa Gallery, Toronto ON.

2000-2009
Vazaleen, collaboration with Will Munro, Toronto, ON.
I was Will Munro's personal costumer for performance art pieces at Vazaleen, queer punk performance space in Toronto. Costuming, textile arts, soft sculpture, installation art.


Community Based Arts

2003-2006
West Side Stitches
Collective member and co-facillitator of this fabric art queer punk makers collective by Will and Jeremy Lang. Participants used and taught stitching, embroidery, applique, faggoting and many other fabric art and costuming techniques to make street art, costumes, installations and public art.

1997-2005
Complex Stitches, 2490 St Clair West Supportive Housing.
I created and funded out of pocket this fabric and costume art project in my social housing building, housing poor and/or psychiatric consumer/survivors. I taught kids ages 5-10 how to sew, applique, make art and did an annual fashion show.


Artist Talks

2009
Street Involved Kids and Art, Sherbourne Health Center, Supporting Our Youth, Toronto, ON.

2006
Buddies in Bad Times Theater, Toronto ON, with Andrea Ridegely.


Education

I am a self-taught artist who has taught myself from books, observation and experimentation.

2018
Pottery, Alex Yeung Studio, Toronto ON

2011
Silversmithing class, Toronto ON

2000
OCAD, Toronto ON


Bibliography

Hudson, Audrey. (2019). "Integrating Black Lives in Education: Black Lives Matter Freedom School". (Chapter 7). The Spaces and Places of Canadian Popular Culture. Edited by Victoria Kannen, Neil Shyminsky. Published by Canadian Scholars.

E.B., Mike. (2004). "Westside Stitchers' Couture Club: Guerrilla fashion collective founded by Will Munro and Jeremy Laing". hive , (3), pg. 16–19. Published by Pol Williams, Edited by Nick McCabe-Lokos.

Whittall, Zoe. (2001). "Be Big". Go Big: Life & Style, (3), pg. 18. Published by Pink Triangle Press.