Ket Faery Interview
Ket Faery is a musician and performance artist based in Atlanta, GA, and they sat down with me to talk about their artistic vision, history, and the censorship of trans people on the internet. We started out our conversation at a health food store in downtown Atlanta. Ket started peeling off layers of clothing and we sat in the corner of the store. They were wearing an outfit that looked like a mix of a hobbit and a catgirl. As they pulled out their laptop, I started recording our conversation.
“I was tired of wanting a platform where I could post my art without it being deleted because they don’t like what I’m expressing. When Instagram gave me an access code to the Oversight Board, I got excited.”
In short, Ket Faery’s social media platforms have been getting deleted due to nudity. They explained to me that Instagram and Facebook’s filters automatically detect and delete anything which can be interpreted as sexual. There’s a myriad of reasons why people would want to delete Ket’s videos. They’re transgressive, messy, and loud. Anyone who has seen them live knows that it can be an unsettling or even triggering experience. That being said, Ket the performer and Ket the person are very different.
Just as Ket pulled out their computer to show me their appeal to the Oversight Board appeal, a young girl walked up to us asking for money for her dance team. We didn’t have any cash, but thankfully the little girl took Cash App. Ket’s one condition for donating was that the girl had to show us a dance. She broke out into hip hop ballet in the restaurant, and then we sent the Cash App money.
I asked Ket one out of the five or six questions I prepared, and it was,
“When we first met, you showed me pictures of European corpse paint techno raves you used to go to before moving to Atlanta. How has that culture influenced your art?”
Ket worked as a makeup artist instead of college initially. They wanted to go to design school, but their parents thought it was too liberal. They told their parents, “Well then I’m just gonna get a shitty apartment and work a shitty job and live a shitty life.” They got a job at the local rescue zoo, but Ket was horrified at the exploitation and treatment of the animals. They said they “don’t believe in shitting on conservation stuff because most people are in it because they care.” However, they could avoid working with people and be around animals, so they kept working at the zoo. At the time, they were cutting and dyeing their hair different colors, and one day Ket was outside the zoo smoking, when someone noticed their “avante-garde” hot pink hair.
“This punk kid walked up to me and was like come work with me at this hair salon. They’ll pay for your cosmetology license and pay you while you get it.”
The job was hell. They were all a bunch of Buckhead Betties who all wanted the same thing and were so mean. But Ket’s mentor encouraged them to study makeup in London where there were more creative jobs. They found a school, a cheap place to live, and told their parents they were going to London for school. Ket went to the London School of Beauty and Makeup and took the longest class they could, so they could figure out the next move.
“I used to go to school, and I would hear everyone say all these horrible things about me because I was wearing some outfit that didn’t look like theirs. I didn’t care enough to change who I was, but I am like why do they care so much.”
Ket found refreshing kinship in London; they worked nights on projects with like minded creatives looking to experiment with makeup and hair. They found niche communities of artists, and through Facebook found work in London as a makeup artist for photoshoots. They lived in a convent at the time, and the nuns had a rule that residents couldn’t come home after 7 pm. So there were some nights when Ket slept on the train, going back and forth, after a late night photoshoot. They would be either in school, on the train, or at a shoot for the next few months.
Everyone they were working with went to the London College of Fashion, and their collaborators encouraged them to apply. Notable alumni of the University of the Arts London are Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, and Peggy Gou. They are specialized schools based on the technical skills needed for the arts, and Ket was planning on attending and living in London.
Suddenly Covid hit. They were accepted into the UAL program, and then the nuns kicked Ket out of the convent. They had to come home, and couldn’t pay $40k to attend online classes.
The nature of Place is so important to Ket’s performances in the states. They perform at underground rap shows, and these are high energy sets. The initial inspiration for Ket’s performance style was shocking the crowd. They put on a performance which demands attention. As they said best, “With Fiendland, we were bringing the LGBT community in with the rap community, and putting it all into one show.”
Ket is one of the most mesmerizing performers and artists in the underground Atlanta music scene, and it is a shame they are being deplatformed for the transgression of their art. They explained that they need community support to be able to overturn this decision, and ideally by using our platform to spread their art, we can help contribute to their creative career and support trans artists in the underground.
Follow Ket Faery: twitter.com/FaeryKet
Written By Rei Low: twitter.com/_rocktimist