When I was asked to create a cover for the “Drag Noir” antho, it was quite a challenge. “Drag” is a full-on gender-bending costumed performance role, meant to be seen and heard, while “noir” is dark and nefarious, and hidden. Resolving these two ideas in visual form led to a lot of dead-end ideas, and my desire to represent both male & female gender conventions in drag further muddied the creative waters. After several false starts, I decided I would take one face and split it down the middle, with the idea of that the face could be seen as the woman or the man in drag. I felt this was the obvious solution, but in such a graphic, flat form, it would work well. It’s shadowy, a la noir, but with bright red half-lips, and a green face that represents the very made-up faces of drag queens, yet could also be corpse-like in the pulpiest way.
It works, for sure!
Be sure to check out Johnson’s other work which runs the gamut from book and CD covers to posters and more! Including her other noir covers for us.