RuPaul Drag Race is coming to Symphony Hall later this year as part of his Werq the World Tour, and everyone at at Town Hall Symphony Hall is going drag queen crazy! We're certainly not the only ones - drag race super fan and artist Mark Jonathan, who has shot to fame on Instagram and YouTube by painting Barbie dolls as RuPaul contestants, in a series he calls "Drag RuPaints."
We got in touch with Mark, who told us a little more about his love of Drag Race, how he paints the dolls, and all of his other beautiful recreations of other famous faces.
Where your love of RuPaul's Drag Race began?
My love for Rupaul's Drag Race started from day one, season one. I just loved all the creativity and thought and skills that are needed in drag. It's such a multi-faceted art. I loved that drag race was bringing drag to everyone's home and it actually gave me something entertaining to watch. I have loved RuPaul since I was a kid. I remember seeing his super model music video as a kid and not knowing what was going on, but I knew I loved it haha. So when he came back to TV and created the show to show case various drag queens, I was literally in heaven. Show casing talented and creative members of the LGBTQ community on TV gave it that relatable factor for me.
I just loved all the creativity and thought and skills that are needed in drag...Show casing talented and creative members of the LGBTQ community on TV gave [Drag Race] that relatable factor for me.Mark Jonathan
How did RuPaints start and why?
Well I had initially started repainting monster high dolls about 2 years ago and thought it would be fun to repaint barbies since the the canvas was a lot smaller. I always enjoy challenging myself and pushing my skills. Since I love drag and drag race, I thought it would be fun to emulate the persona's that the queens from Drag Race have developed and create them in barbie form. I really try to emulate the drag persona created and not necessarily a full on resemblance to the actual person. Of course my first thought went to painting Trixie Mattel since she had that life in plastic aesthetic. I love the idea of playing with the concept of beauty that is seen in the barbie doll and merging it with the beauty and creativity I saw in drag. It was really a way for me to combine all the things I love, dolls, drag, & painting. I loved the idea of celebrating the Drag community through this form.
Who is your favourite queen and why?
Oh lord.... This is always a tough question for me, because I don't only have one favourite, I have multiple for various reasons. I love Trixie Mattel because of her humour and over the top aesthetic. Violet Chachki because of her detailed eye and perfect executions of her looks. Literally nothing is wrong with her looks and I am always in awe. Alyssa Edwards because she is so energetic persona and hilarious. The best part is she is the funniest when she is unaware that she is actually being humorous haha. And of course Valentina. She is just so gorgeous and has such a smooth way of moving. Her looks were always glamorous and sexy and I am such a sucker for a beautiful Latina drag queen. Plus she is from Los Angeles like myself.
Which is your favourite doll you've created?
They are all my favourites haha. If I had to pick one, I would say my Violet Chacki, Hello Kitty look, is definitely my favorite. I just loved her look from that episode and it had all the elements I enjoyed. A nod to mod sci-fi, Hello Kitty, and it was pink. I mean who wouldn't love that, Am I right?... It was such a fun challenge to emulate that luck in doll form and figuring out how to execute the Hello Kitty details she used on the garment. In the end I love the way it came out.
Are you sad you can't make it to Symphony Hall in the UK to make the RuPaul Werq the World Tour?
UGH YES!!!! I'm so bummed... (*insert tears) One, because I have never been to a Werq the World Tour show, I mean I get to see quite a few of the queens when they perform in Hollywood but seeing them on a grand stage is always amazing. And two because it's in Europe and in the Symphony Hall. I would be so iconic to view there and really be engulfed in the environment and essence of the location, in combination of the performances.
The drag queen stars have been loving these creations and Mark has even got to give his first ever barbie doll drag queen of Trixie Mattell herself.
Drag queen's aren't the only famous faces Mark has recreated, also making an ultra-realistic version of Emma Watson's Belle from Beauty and the Beast, celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and even Lara Croft in celebration of the latest Lara Croft film.
As well as RuPaul's Werq the World Tour in May, Bianca Del Rio is also on her way to Birmingham as part of her Blame It On Bianca Del Rio tour - it looks like this year is going to be a great one for drag fans at Symphony Hall!