Jo Sordini

Graphic designer & artist, recent RCA graduate, Freelance

Jo Sordini

Image from performance piece Come fly with me, 2020

COME CRUISE WITH ME. Is there such thing as a queer illustration practice?


Image-making is about creating fictions. It's putting on a show, even quietly. Shining a light, getting that make up on, presenting an offering. Creating a stage, an aesthetic, a story, and therefore fictionalising reality. Or better, taking an active, creative part in an already fictionalised world. We are surrounded by mediated cultural and biopolitical fictions. In this environment, images are always already political, even if not always on purpose.

Image-making is drag: A conscious construction process with endless possibilities. And queerness can take this process into the less charted territories. Queerness is about serious play. Queerness is about the utopian. Queerness is about failure.

José E. Muñoz writes about how queer aesthetics can open up a space for cruising the utopian, for catching glimpses of the forgotten, hidden or yet unspoken of, other futures, possibilities and worlds that often escape the rational logic of language, the narratives of success and linearity, the already established and easily categorizable. In that way, image-making can become a political practice that maps future and alternate social relations.

By sharing some of my own works, references and thinking, I want to offer an example of a queer-feminist practice that relies on illustration in the broader sense of using image-making as a way to fill ideas with a life that goes beyond words, beyond the limiting forces of the here and now towards a utopian there and then.


Jo Sordini is a transdisciplinary artist and graphic designer currently based in Germany. Originally from Italy, they graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2018 and have since been living and working in Berlin. Their artistic work brings together performance, installation, photography and video with a focus on playful feminist storytelling.

In their most recent work, Jo has been reflecting on queer utopias, aesthetics and politics through the use of detournement and humour. Sensual creatures, objects and images create multilayered narratives in a colourful and often surreal do-it-yourself aesthetic. Repurposed household materials and props, performance and drag become a way to express the artist's own complicity and vulnerability.

The result is an artistic language that won't take itself too seriously, while coming from a place of serious play and investigation into social constructions, identities and realities in an earnest attempt to expand our space of individual and collective possibilities.