Just this past March, Michelle Krigsfeld and a few like-minded individuals created a website called Pink Taco 4ever. The intent was simple: to provide an open and safe space for women to display their art. Women and “femme-identifying” people needed an open environment to be free from judgement and express themselves. It was a simple idea, almost overly so. But the inspiring and freeing wildfire Pink Taco has started continues to burn through the Emerson campus and beyond.
“There is no competition. It's not about being the best—it's about the art,” said Liza Wagner, a Pink Taco mama, which is what the women warriors who lead this group are called. The site will post anything, from a good selfie you took, a poem you wrote, to a painting you created. The collective serves as a virtual gallery dedicated to the intent behind creation.
Three of these mamas—Wagner, Krigsfeld, and Leyla Kornota—chatted with me about the purpose behind their social project over FaceTime, huddled together in a laptop screen relaxing on a bed together. It made sense that the gang would speak to me from a bedroom, freeing their words into actions as we did. Coincidentally, Pink Taco is currently focused on the idea of ‘bedroom art.’ “It’s art that is personal and intimate, the things that you would create that don’t leave your bedroom,” said Krigsfeld.
Kornota continued the thought for her, “I like to paint, but I’m not a painter. But if the paintings I do are good enough for me to see every day, they should be good enough for everyone.”
The group found it critical for there to be an free environment for women to express themselves. “It is so necessary, especially when sexism is so rampant throughout the art industries,” said Kortona. Most of these industries are ones that Emerson students are setting themselves to go into: publishing, film, and journalism just to name a few.
“As an artist and as a person, we create alone,” said Wagner. “We don’t speak. Before I came to Emerson, I didn’t have a strong community of female artists. Now that I have one there is nothing like it. It’s a way to become a better you,” she said of the empowerment that Pink Taco and the connection of female expressionists fosters.
The group has taken this idea to the next level, bringing creators together at events they call Sensitive Soirees. These freestyle nights are for people to come together outside of the internet and appreciate the work these ladies have accomplished. The first soiree featured a film screening, art gallery, and open mic for poetry. Though submissions are only for the female-identifying, anyone is allowed to come show their support at these gatherings. “We have a lot of male allies,” said Wagner. “It’s important for them to come celebrate and be quiet and listen.”
Pink Taco will be launching a magazine focused on bedroom art this semester to showcase the work they receive in print. They recently held a second Sensitive Soiree, directed as a “talk back” to workshop drafts of art. But the ladies are not ready to stop there. With such a casual start, the mamas were so surprised at the response. With submissions coming everywhere from Miami to Boston to Atlanta, women from all over are freeing their work online through the Pink Taco medium. “Wherever I go, there will always be a growing female collective,” said Krigsfeld, on her plan to continue Pink Taco after graduation. “We want to extend the network and intersectionality.”
“We want to keep it rolling and make it as diverse as possible, said Kortona. “When you’re representing a community, you must include all for it to truly be a collective.”
Text by Marisa Dellatto
Photography by Darren Samuels