ABOUTGnat Rosa Madrid
Gnat Rosa Madrid (she/her) is a queer femme Latinx Chicago multimedia artist. She is a fashion designer of the erotic, performance artist in harness, and a sculptor of flesh and glitter. Her artist practice GNAT Glitter Kink is a craftswoman-driven practice exploring queer BDSM through femme-focused fetish and bondage gear. Her groundbreaking application of materials redefines fetishwear for a new generation of leatherfolk. This sapphic operation is both a creative practice and small business, and sustains itself through client-commissioned size-inclusive fashions made for people all over the world. Through her practice, Madrid generates and amplifies radically sex-positive and censorship-pushing queer femme content in virtual spaces. Her work has been displayed and activated on queer performers for over a decade, from nightlife drag shows to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
I am a Point Scholar, Junior Member of the CFDA, SAIC's The Walk Fellowship recipient, Critical Fierceness Grant Recipient, and on the Windy City Times 30 under 30 list. I live and work in Chicago, IL.
I studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and completed my BFA in 2013. During my time at SAIC, I fully engaged in multiple artistic practices that enabled me to infuse my collections with a variety of techniques and theoretical content. My studies included: printmaking on paper, laser cutting and digital fabrication, screen printing on fabric, accessory design, painting, sculpture and clothing construction. They all now culminate in the GNAT Universe. My exuberant pursuits at SAIC made me the artist I am today. I thrived in the notoriously rigorous Fashion Design Department, and eventually won the graduating fellowship while excelling at the top of my class. My student work was off-beat, glaringly colorful, very gay, unisex... and sometimes misunderstood by my peers. However, my instructors loved my vision, gumption and dedication. During my final year at SAIC, I was able to spend the summer in Paris, interning for Bernhard Willhelm. I also had the pleasure of working briefly with Walter Van Bierendonck in the Spring of 2013 when he was a visiting artist, alongside some members of the iconic Antwerp 6. Through this contact with kindred queer designers, I was further encouraged to continue to expand upon my accessory and print collections. Through it all, I was an avid club kid and queer party girl, and learned just as much about myself under the disco ball as I did in class.
When I graduated in 2013, I officially launched my brand GNAT Glitter Kink. My harness practice has endured for over a decade. Through self discipline and passionate development- I have been able to sustain myself as a working artist since 2018. My extended CV speaks for itself, and I’ve had my work featured in many many exhibitions, publications, and parties. I extensively hosted and produced many very successful queer nightlife events from 2016-2020. My body became my vehicle for exhibiting my own work, and the activation of my sculptural body in harness served as both experience and research. I am grateful to continually be a part of the vibrant queer arts and nightlife communities. I hope to someday soon host a few more events, when I’m not making work for my practice or my clients. I am now an active member in Chicago's Leatherdyke community as well.
I currently work out of a Barbie Dream House themed workshop studio in Chicago, IL. My harnesses and fashion pieces are available online, and I'm open to stockist relationships with other shops. I am currently working on a new body of work, to be exhibited in fine art settings. I’m available for Artist Talks and panel discussions, and welcome studio visits with other working artists and curators. Need help working out sexuality or kink projects within your own practice or business? Let’s book GNAT Consulting time! I am now offering consultations, and can provide valuable insights on many nuanced topics.