Jacks McNamara interrogates beauty as resistance to domination and prerequisite for survival in their ink paintings on raw wood. A queer, trans, neurodivergent artist, writer, healer, organizer and educator, Jacks works at the intersection of healing and social justice. Their visual art is informed by their parallel practice as a poet, and is deeply shaped by their experiences of synesthesia, their passion for plants, their astonishment at New Mexico landscapes, and their investigations of pre-Christian spirituality in ancestral European homelands. Jacks’ body of work explores themes of resilience, devotion, myth, magic, seasonal transformation, and the sheer wonder of the growing world.
Based on the Tewa land of O’ga Po’geh, known colonially as Santa Fe, NM, Jacks is a Lambda Literary Fellow with a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. They learned the foundations of painting at the Aegean School for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece. Their work has been shown across the US and Canada, in venues ranging from Vancouver’s Gallery Gachet to New York’s Fountain Gallery. You can find a full list of Jacks' exhibitions, including those in Santa Fe, San Francisco, New York, and Vancouver, on their CV here. Originals and prints of Jacks's artwork are available for sale.
Jacks is the co-founder of The Icarus Project, a participatory adventure in radical mental health and mutual aid now known as The Fireweed Collective, and co-author of Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness. They are the creator of many zines and a collection of poetry, Inbetweenland, which was released by Deviant Type Press in 2013. Jacks’ advocacy and art are the subject of the poetic documentary Crooked Beauty. Jacks also teaches The Big Queer Poetry Class, writes regular columns for the Santa Fe Reporter, and hosts the podcast So Many Wings.
Since 2004 Jacks has spoken, facilitated workshops, and performed across the US, Canada, and Europe, at venues ranging from the US Social Forum and the UK Feminist Health Gathering to numerous universities, queer art spaces, high schools, and activist centers. A dynamic presenter with the ability to capture a group's imagination and facilitate community-building conversations, Jacks travels frequently and can be booked for events in your community. They would love to talk about collaborating on art shows, coming out to perform poetry and music, facilitating workshops, doing public speaking around mental health, or otherwise being involved in events that spread art, radical honesty, and liberation. Be in touch!