A few Sundays ago, Precious and I met at the Tom of Finland House in Echo Park, Los Angeles. Surrounded by a lovely crowd and dick pics, we had a chat about art, music, gender, and Instagram among many other hot topics. After discovering Precious Child in their videos, I had lots of questions, and the answers I got were more philanthropic than expected. This interview is the follow up to our conversation.
Pictures by Cade
Precious Child, how did that name come to you?
I will leave the origin and the intention of the name Precious Child open for my fans. As for my references and the child part: both children and adults are underestimated, under-stimulated, and underdeveloped. That leads to compromised identity. We are more than we notice.
Do you mean for your self to disappear in your work for the audience to interpret what you show them, and how does that affect you and the people around you?
I think artists are unimportant. Even the best artist won’t reveal anything to the audience that they don’t already know. The experience of living is complex and there is much that we are not attentive to. If the art is good, the audience will find themselves in the work. How does that affect me and the people around me? I have found it beneficial to embrace asceticism.
Are your fans important to you? I saw you gave a phone number on YouTube for fan communication purposes.
My fans are reflective, astute, passionate, tough, distinct. I find them stimulating and appreciate their conversation. Yes, I can be reached at +1 323-825-1884, text is best.
How do you deal with people who on the contrary criticize your art, or try to censure it, as has happened with your Instagram account for example?
I am curious about critics, individuals, or groups that want to null the impact of my art. It takes energy to be a detractor. I think that expenditure should be recognized and appreciated therefore I respect my detractors. However, @preciouschild was deleted by Instagram because of anonymous reporting. I do not appreciate centralized censorship. I also do not appreciate mob justice or censorship to please special interests. I await decentralized media platforms and artistic liberty.
And regarding your second Instagram account that has just been deleted over a topless picture?
What happened is that Instagram has gendered my body and labeled it as feminine. I identify as a biped and find gender to be personally irrelevant. However, the music video for WHOLE ruminates upon the experience of gender and innate physicality. The short of it is that the mistake they made was not gendering me. Their mistake is establishing and enforcing their inane and inhumane policies.
When you create, do you take social media censorship rules into consideration?
I appreciate the access social media provides and therefore must consider the nonsensical, puritanical, and fickle application of rules of these corporations. I believe that people do not need to be protected from information. People are capable of censoring and determining their own reality and experience.
Regarding your creative flow, tell us how you work with your collaborators for costume, video… and how you work on other artists’ projects too. And regarding touring, do you look forward to that?
I create music solitarily. Visually, I have one artistic collaborator, Cade, I work with him on all costumes and video. Our decisions are based on personal experience and the societal environment. I rarely work on other projects, but I recently completed a music video for another artist that will soon be released. I find songwriting, composition, production, video shooting, performing, editing to all be similar to writing — storytelling and exposition.
And regarding touring, I can’t wait to meet my fans in person.
Your new video WHOLE, is that a social commentary, or is it meant to open a dialogue about gender?
Cade, director for WHOLE and My Little Problem videos: I directed WHOLE at a time when I was at the cusp of reinventing my gender identity, both socially and biologically. When Precious showed me the lyrics “All my life I thought I was whole, what I thought was wrong now my world is gone.” I projected onto them my own desires of transcending my assigned gender. In the video, we allude to swapping bodies in a sci-fi scenario. We explore the controversial notion of ‘borrowing women’s struggle’ in a scene where blood travels from my vein through a tube and into Precious’ crotch, creating a simulated period. The experience itself was a ritual, as we both bled. I cannot tell you whether I expect fans to find this humorous, offensive, or absurd. I would say it is an open dialogue. I am skeptical of essentialist illusions of gender and I am interested in engaging with current conversations, for example, whether accepting transgender people perpetuates or deconstructs harmful gender binaries.
Precious: I don’t believe in gender. I think individuals should decide what they like and what they want to do with their body, accouterments, lifestyle, and persona without regard to convention. Gender accessories; the various symbols and signifiers are nonsensical gelatinous clichés.
Besides touring, what else is coming up next for Precious Child?
Next? I have a new album and three other videos ready for release. Fans: I want to play a show in your city and meet you, please contact me and tell me how this can happen.
You can buy the gender accessories used in this video by Precious Child. “I urge people who are interested in the physical experience of the other sex to buy my period kits or prosthetic male genitals and breasts.”
More about Precious Child on Facebook, @nameisprecious, and YouTube.