laurel lynn leake

Here’s my big list of LGBTQ creators and LGBTQ content at SPX. There’s a lot of variety here, and I encourage you to check everyone out. (And check out the rest of the show too!)

For more information on these artists, you can read their posts here on

  1. Jared Axelrod H4
  2. Jonathan Bell Wolfe W49B 
  3. Reed Black K11
  4. Tony Breed K6A
  5. Molly Brooks A13A
  6. Sabin Calvert E8
  7. Danielle Corsetto W31
  8. Evan Dahm W33
  9. Dechanique G7
  10. Blue Delliquanti K10
  11. Rachel Dukes L9
  12. Jess Fink L12
  13. Koyama Press (Elisha Lim’s new book) J12-J14
  14. Penina Gal F7/N14
  15. Melanie Gillman L5B
  16. Bob Glasscock K6B
  17. Simon Hanselmann W57-61
  18. Noel Arthur Heimpel B5A
  19. Cathy Johnson W50
  20. Laurel Lynn Leake L7B
  21. Jade F Lee A14B
  22. Ed Luce K7
  23. MariNaomi (at 2D Cloud) M9
  24. Joyana McDiarmid L6A
  25. Kel McDonald K10
  26. Sylvan Migdal C6
  27. Hazel Newlevant F8A
  28. L Nichols (Saturday only!) B10
  29. Heather Nunnery A10
  30. Molly Ostertag B14B
  31. Aatma Pandya B14B
  32. R M Rhodes I5-I6A
  33. Shmorky A7
  34. ML Snook W91
  35. Jeremy Sorese W49B
  36. C Spike Trotman K9
  37. MR Trower N4
  38. Johnny & Sasha Velour (John Jacob Lee & Sasha Steinberg) L6
  39. Kat Verhoeven A1B
  40. Emily Willis D6
  41. Sophie Yanow M10-M11A

The second Maple Key reward spotlight as we enter into the final stretch of our Kickstarter campaign is on Laurel Lynn Leake’s wonderful typographical affirmations. We talked to her via email last week.

What inspired these lovely pieces of typography?

These pieces are inspired by the radical self-acceptance movement I’ve seen on Tumblr, where intersectionality and fighting oppression dig deep into the very personal. When you’re facing a culture that wants to vilify or erase you in some way, sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to take a glamorous selfie in your sweatpants and assert the fact of your existence. I see my illustrations as a kind of shame-deprogramming messages, phrases that you can use to armor yourself against intrusive thoughts that paralyze you.  They’re all messages I need to hear too, and making these helps me find my inner footing as a mentally ill person! 

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Are these affirmations related to your abstract work in some way?

I kinda tap into the same mental processes for my abstract pieces, yeah!  In the issues of Maple Key themselves, each typographical whatsit is matched with an abstract circular ink illustration. When it comes to these kinda things in my work, I usually make a panel or shape and let myself fill it without judgement or analysis, just enjoying the flow of the ink and the creation of lines.  And when it comes to Head Space, it’s a chance to practice what I am trying to teach myself through the lettering!

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The splashes of color behind the black lines of the lettering really make the designs pop. How did you arrive at your color decisions?

Thanks, glad you liked the watercolor!  I picked these pretty intuitively, and painting them with minimal planning too, as a contrast to the structure and dramatic black and white of the text.  I wanted flowing shapes and bright colors that could be energetic but still somewhat peaceful, and that wouldn’t fight with the text above it.  I ultimately just picked what I thought suited the “personality” of each Head Space, haha!

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Much of your work is marked by a very earthy, almost botanical line quality. The letterforms here retain a lot of that biological energy, yet somehow recall hand-painted signs from decades past. How did you manage to achieve that, you wizard?

Ha, well, I’m glad you think so!  Working in non-organic forms has always been a huge challenge for me, but lettering’s capabilities to combine symbols and mathematics and the movement of the human hand just fascinates me.  I definitely worked closely with 30s-50s vintage lettering when I composed my typography, and then I scanned my sketches and went to town on them in Photoshop and Indesign. Did you know that those programs will measure things for you?  Computers, man!! I did a lot of scooting and aligning and putting in guidelines before I finally printed my roughs and moved onto tracing the pencils.  I hope to keep working at the precision of geometric forms and improve the overall cohesion and proportion of my lettering through this series!   

You can see more of Laurel’s work on her tumblr!
We’ve only got a couple days left in our Kickstarter to fund the printing of the first two issues! Won’t you help us out?