Creating queer art with artist K8 Hardy
K8 Hardy is a feminist and lesbian radical artist, zine publisher, photographer, and filmmaker. That’s a lot to hang on to one person, but Hardy has never been an easy person to pin down.
Whether through her performance art, video art, or sculpture, Hardy has made a name for herself in making queer art.
But who is K8 Hardy and why is her name like that?
K8 Hardy: What’s in a name?
Born on October 27, 1977 in Fort Worth, Texas, Kaight Hardy changed her name to K8 as a teenager while publishing a number of zines.
She studied film in Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, as well as feminist and queer theory (which she would later apply to her videos, photographs, performances, and texts).
After studying video with Elisabeth Subrin thanks to the Five College Consortium, she got a grant to work with Miranda July and the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon.
Upon graduation, she headed to New York and in the following years, she attended the Whitney Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American.
She later got her MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College .
K8 Hardy: Her many works
She’s done a lot of artist projects, from the 2002 video TV Lip Synch, to the 2004 performance piece Beautiful Radiating Energy, to the photographs of the Position Series that she started in 2009.
In 2016, she came up with a documentary Outfitumentary wherein she documented her changing fashion styles from 2001 to 2012. This video was later shown at the Museum of Modern Art during Doc Fortnight.
Speaking to the Paper Mag website, she said: “I was shooting a lot of video at the time, and…I knew my style was interesting and time-based, and I wanted to document it. But it also came from wishing I had seen that from a past generation.”
“I wasn’t thinking it was going to be this big artwork. At the time, people weren’t interested in that, and that would’ve ruined my career if I had been making this thing,” she added.
Describing it as a way to take control of body perception and changing the narrative through selfies, Hardy said: “I don’t necessarily think it’s good or bad, but I also think that we’ve been so inundated with advertising images– and something that younger generations maybe don’t understand is that you [used to] only see one kind of body type in media and on TV– so in a way, there’s something empowering about representing yourself, you know?”
“It’s almost like you need to put your own images out there,” she declared.