Some would describe him as the queer community’s Jane McDonald. I would describe him as the queer community’s Bet Lynch. Dominic Evans, known under his pen name of DOM&INK (clever), is one of the LGBTQ+ community’s best known illustrators. From working on projects such as RuPaul’s Drag Race UK and Channel 4’s hit drama It’s A Sin, Dom brings to life LGBTQ+ experiences in an engaging, imaginative and unique style.
After his first book Free To Be Me took the charts by storm, his second offering Queer Power is here to showcase LGBTQ+ talent from across the world. From artists to activists, musicians, entertainers, performers and worldwide superstars, Dom’s new book allows us all to relax and remember the joy and brilliance of the LGBTQ+ community.
We caught up with the illustrator extraordinaire to find out just what Queer Power is all about, and it’s fair to say we had a camp old chat.
“I’d have to be Tanya Turner,” Dom begins, as we get distracted discussing who we would be for Snatch Game. “… all you need to do is get a biro, make it a cigarette and then hunch over here like this, and then you’ve got to stare at someone but you’ve got to look at one eye then the next eye!”
Dom’s zest for life is infectious, and our chat quickly tumbles into a rabbit hole of Drag Race, douching and the north.
But onto Queer Power. Published by Harper Collins, the book takes us through a journey of legends, stars and queer icons from across the world. From Billy Porter and Lady Phyll, to MNEK and Jonathan Van Ness, via someone called Jamie Windust (?? – never heard of them) it is a book that highlights our joy, and our spirit of togetherness – and I wanted to speak to Dom about why this was the route he took.
“I was meeting all these incredible people just like yourself and I was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do a book full of different icons who have platforms? Some could have smaller ones and we could just put it all in a book?’ I think there’s so many great books out there that do LGBTQ+ icons and community and they do them really well. They go really into depth and do a deep dive on historical figures and I love that.
“For me, this is for that generation that grew up on Instagram and TikTok, and you can pick the book up and it’s got a little bio on each person; it’s got their social media; it’s got it all so people can just go straight away to their profile and they can follow this person’s journey after they read the book. I wanted to try and platform people and different different moments of queerness.”
After we cackled about the hilarity of me being on the cover looking like a sexy egg, it was just a beautiful moment to witness someone so passionate about their work. Dom’s energy, charisma, uniqueness nerve and TALENT has catapulted him into working with some stellar clients, and I can see why. His unique illustration style combined with his northern warmth means he’s effortlessly charming.
Throughout his career, Dom has used his platform to highlight queerness and the community at large, not shying away from having difficult conversations and utilising his privilege to showcase and spotlight people from across the world. But like all creative jobs that involve heavy social media time, it can get a lot to handle.
“I’ve always applied this idea of taking breaks and being just real, even on days where I’m having a bit of a wobble,” he says. “I’ll always give myself this much time to be in this head space and then that’s it, I’m shutting the door. I’m going out for a walk. I’m gonna come back a new Dom.”
The publishing world in 2021 is another stellar year for queer literature. From Shon Faye to Tom Rasmussen, to Munroe Bergdorf and Paris Lees, 2021 is going to be a year full of queer and trans stories filling up the charts. But the publishing world is a tough industry to be in, especially as a queer person. Dom explained to me the challenges that he’s faced with his work.
“I learnt very quickly and I’ve learned it a lot through my years doing work with brand partnerships, queerness in certain spaces, some people want it to be completely commercial and it to just be used to sell. But I think with publishing, I will say my experience at Penguin and Harper Collins has been pretty much brilliant. I was like, ‘Can we do a book where 90 percent of the people inside, people may not have ever come across before?’ and they were like, ‘Let’s do it!”
As we neared the end of our 40-minute allotted Zoom limit, my love for Mr Evans just blossomed into what could only be described as a full blown friendship crush. In our community we talk about being tirelessly there for each other, and my experience talking with Dom and witnessing his hard work and portrayal of our community through his social presence and books, is that he is the definition of hard work.
From being there behind the scenes with his chosen family, to spotlighting and showcasing our brilliant community, Dom’s work continually puts joy, love and community at the forefront. Now if me being on the front cover wasn’t enough to make you want Queer Power, I hope hearing Dom’s story has made you realise that we all need to remember our Queer Power and joy whenever we possible can.
Queer Power is published by Harper Collins on the 13 May 2021 and is available to order here