Hilary Reed/Cedre Csillagi
tattooist Cedre Csillagi I want to use flowers to change my life.
Their new project, One Thousand Pansiesaims to raise money to support the transgender community by tattooing 1,000 pansies.
Csillagi, who was acting weird while in high school in Texas, was upset because law targeting transgender and non-binary people and their families. In September, they decided to take action by turning to their specialty: giving people botanical tattoos.
To receive the tattoo, people must register, be selected by Csillagi, then give 500 USD to each person. designated charity. Any additional money raised will help raise funds for tattoos for those who want them but can’t afford them.
Csillagi told NPR by phone: “I landed on the flower because of its reclamation – its reclamation is strange. “It was a flower that was originally used as a derogatory term.”
Pansy has a deep meaning
The word “pansy” has historically been used as an insult to someone’s masculinity, but the LGBTQ community began withdrawing the word decades ago. Pansy Craze in the early 20th century was a homosexual movement in which drag queens (known as “pansy performers”) became popular in underground clubs. Pansies have also been used by visual artist Paul Harfleet, who has grown them in areas where homophobic and anaerobic abuse occurs.
To get started, they reached out to some of their notable contacts to get tattoos and share messages. So far, authors Piper Kerman, Mia Birdsong and Kate Schatz are among 11 people who have received tattoos done by Csillagi at their Diving Swallow Tattoo store in the Bay Area.
Csillagi didn’t think it would be instantly popular. Their latest email sent to their mailing list includes pansy flower tattoos in December.
“Within three minutes, I got about 40 emails,” said Csillagi, who is booked for tattoos until 2024.
Chef Preeti Mistry has a tattoo of curry leaves from Csillagi in the past. When Csillagi contacted them about the project, they knew they would be involved.
Mistry told NPR in an email: “Just Sunday morning, we had a reminder of the importance of fighting hate speech and the laws that lead to the kind of violence we experienced. recently. “There are organizers against us and we have to support all of our communities.”
Birdsong wrote in an email to NPR: “We are living in a time of unprecedented violence against and efforts to eradicate and dehumanize transgender people. “Right-wing propaganda machines are trying to convince us that transgender people claiming their identities are somehow harmful to others.”
She added, “The money I donate to the Knights and Orchid Society is an immediate, short-term act of solidarity. But the tattoo is a permanent reminder of my commitment – a kind of partnership. with my own integrity.”
Ultimately, Csillagi’s dream is to tattoo some famous transgender and non-binary people who are “putting their bodies first so people know that trans people exist,” they explained. They depict Elliot Page, Jonathan Van Ness and Alok Vaid-Menon doing groundbreaking work on their own.
So far, Csillagi has enjoyed tattooing all the people involved in the project. “I feel energized and inspired by everyone I tattoo,” says Csillagi. “People really want to help and they want to be part of something bigger.”
Knights and Orchid Association was the first charity to benefit from A Thousand Pansies. Based in Selma, Ala., this organization provides health and wellness services to transgender, lesbian, bisexual, and black gay men throughout the South.
“I just feel like they’re doing lifesaving work there. And I feel really honored to be able to scream about them and get more help from the world,” Csillagi said.
The artist hopes to expand the project to other tattooists and tattooists
As more people get tattooed, Csillagi wants to do photo sessions to mark the development of the project. When 20 and 50 people have pansies, they want to have everyone in the same photo to show how the project is growing. There is no timeline for reaching 1,000 pansies yet.
“I’d love to get there within the next few years, but I don’t know,” they said. “It will depend on how many people scream about it and can make pictures with me.
Csillagi is still looking to get other artists involved. They can find tattooists all over the country who are willing to dedicate their time to pansies tattoos, or they can let people find their own artists.
They also want to get other types of manufacturers involved, but they’re not sure how that will work. But so far, they’re happy people want to contribute.
“We’re all trying to make a big difference, but we don’t really know how much of a difference we make,” says Csillagi. “So this is like base operations, on tangible ground.”
The Knights and Orchid Association did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.