Artist | Chimera Singer | Rockella Space


CHIMERA SINGER Researcher, Photographer, Creative Director

We’re back featuring our Members to showcase the talent that occupies our buildings. To start the year off, we interview Rockella Space Member Chimera Singer. Chimera has been a Rockella Space Member since 2023 and has a studio at Brown Bears Studios.

Chimera Singer (they/them) is a gender Researcher, Photographer, and Creative Director who currently lives in Brooklyn. Their commercial and editorial portrait work can be seen in places like The New York Times, Complex Magazine, and Teeth Magazine. They studied Photo Media with an Othering emphasis at the University of Washington and recently received a Graduate Degree in Gender and Sexuality at the New School. They seek to actively integrate somatic and artistic practices into their academic queer research. Their writing, research, and multidisciplinary projects are avidly curious, work to break Euro-centric institutional convention, and fall at the intersection of queer phenomenological, feminist, and media theories. Chimera looks at bodies and their mediated expressions and tangible embodiments as avenues to generate Belongings.

We interviewed Chimera to get a better insight into their world of photo, gender, and materials.

To learn more about the creatives who call Rockella Space home, head over to the People page for a full list of in-depth interviews.


Who are you and what do you do?


Hi! My name is Chimera Singer. I was raised in the PNW, mostly in Pacific County, a small logging and fishing community along the coast. It was a beautiful area. I spent most of my time reading in my mom’s greenhouse seed room or exploring the woods and coastline with my friends. However, I am no linger intimately connected to the PNW. I found my home when I moved here to NYC. I love the brashness, the edge. It allows me to be more ‘me”. I am constantly inspired by the theoretical, intellectual, artistic, and activist endeavors of so many here. I feel fed spiritually by NYC and don’t mind the train rides to get groceries or the loudness. I’m glad I am also able to still easily escape to see and smell the ocean.

How long have you been at Rockella Space? What is your favorite thing about having a studio at Brown Bears Studios?


I have been at Brown Bears for just over a year. To be honest, one of my favorite things is the price! It’s much more affordable than other studios in NYC. Eric, who takes care of the building, is incredibly responsive and kind. And, of course, I love my big gorgeous windows.

Have you connected and/or created a community with any other artists in the building?


I think there is a building camaraderie. I, naively, thought I could carry sheetrock up two flights to my studio (I was building a small shoot set), and when I was seen so clearly struggling, a couple of folks who are in the building helped me carry them up. Another member took them away to use for his own set. It’s mostly passing “hello”s.

Tell us about your work. What inspires you to create the work that you do?


I have different sets of work, as so many of us do: my paid work and my non-paid work. Right now I am actively working to integrate the themes of my non-paid work into my commercial work, and to get paid for my intellectual and “artistic” work!

Ultimately I am interested in photographing and creating art around bodies – how they are interpreted, how these perceptions change our view of self and Other, and how these can change and shift over time. I also like to ask my subjects/participants to “do” something – perform a bodily act that can create a tangible internal shift.

Intellectually, I explore the accumulation of embodied imaged data: the relationship between the material and the immaterial, the analog and the digital – the innate cyborg nature of being bodied. I am most interested in these pixelated and celled interdependencies and how we can use them to mutually create greater belonging – especially in the context of race and gender.

My artistic practice revolves around exploring my curiosities, in myself and others. My practice is less about expression and more a means of discovery. I actively engage in considerations of process and context: my own, collaborators, contributors, and perceivers.

How did you first start using photography as your chosen creative medium?



I first started photographing as a means to facilitate conversation with people and learn about them. Ultimately, that’s still what I’m doing. I go into my work and my projects hoping to learn, to breathe, to look outside my mind. With my art and writing, and all its outputs, I want to provoke questions, self-examination, and healing.

Analog or digital? If both, explain in what context you choose which one and why.


Both! However, I tend to enjoy photographing with my medium format Mamiya RZ67 pro ii the most. It’s slower and feels more intimate. The quality of the image is a very specific “aesthetic.” It can also be printed bigger with more detail than most digital imagery. However, most film images are scanned – aka – made digitally too. So unless you view it in a museum printed analog, it’s digital too!

But I also think that we should learn to use whatever tools are available to us and make sense for us. Digital is exciting because of its accessibility, and also I love thinking about “pixels” as data-ed body.

Who are your favorite photographers/artists and why?


Oh jeez, I have so, so many. Mmm, I would say Clifford Prince King, Paul Sepuya, Pixy Liao, David Hammons – they all explore the gendered nude body. But I know that I am forgetting so many incredible, smaller, artists at this moment. And artists whose work is performance and passing.

I recently learned of María Magdalena Campos-Pons and Marie Watt. They separately, and very differently, challenge and address colonized identities and histories. Their works are beautiful, and powerful, to me – they hold and carry so much care.

I am also inspired by thinkers like Sara Ahmed, Legacy Russell, Mindy Seu, and more that I have yet to read 🙂

Oh! And friends: Samora Pinderhughes, Taj Reed, and Joe Librandi-Cowan. Each deeply compassionate and brilliant minds.


Who would be at your dinner party if you could invite anyone alive or dead?


James Baldwin, bell hooks (not capitalized on purpose), Hito Steyerl, Malcolm X, Audre Lorde, Rirkrit Tiravanija….God what a table.

What's your favorite thing about shooting people?


Talking with and learning about the subjects, always. And engaging how the images are given new life after they’ve been taken – the meaning they can have for folks, the impact.

As a way to document a person’s life/personality, what do you like most about shooting people within your studio at Brown Bears and how do you translate that through your lens?


The studio is an intimate space. I like to create warmth, and comfort in my studio that allows for a more homey feel. Despite its white walls, it’s not sterile, and it always feels like a collaborative, personal experience.

How has your graduate degree in Gender and Sexuality informed your work?


Honestly, this question is too big – it influences every part of my work and life. It challenges and grows my lens of the world. Delving into gender studies fucks up….everything…in the best way possible. It makes you confront your hegemonies, your assumptions, your realities, your relationships, and your governments. I hope to bring this teaching into all of my work, to challenge the assumptions that are portrayed with and by image-making that harm. To learn how to visually communicate in ways that collectively hold as much nuance and compassion as possible.

Your series The Nude But Male turns your lens onto the lives of heterosexual men. Can you tell us about the project and why the subject interests you?


I am interested in engaging the heterosexual men frankly because I don’t think people look at them enough in terms of creating blueprints toward anti-patriarchy and helping them heal their own patterns of dominance. It’s labor on my part, but I think if we want to end patriarchies, they need the help to heal and grow. They cannot do for themselves that which they cannot see.

I also keep running up against the question of if I don’t believe in most binaries as static, and cis-ness is hard to pin down, heterosexuality is mostly constructed and incredibly fluctuating, where does that leave cis-heterosexual men? How can they become fuller selves while also being accountable to harms?

There are a ton of articles stating the male identity in Western Culture is in crisis. How has the project changed your perception of heterosexual men? Would you agree that there is a crisis?


Lol. I mean yes and no. It depends on how people are defining male identity. As most people have different definitions of masculinity/maleness, my answer would vary depending on who said it and how.

Overall, I think our understanding of gender itself is expanding, expanding to recognize the complexity and variability that has always been. This is scary for a lot of people. Terrifying in fact. It can feel crippling to have to form and challenge one’s own identities and sense of self. I also think that the specificity of “Western Culture” is interesting in the question – and actually albeit inadvertently points to how created and culturally dependent of a concept male identity is.

Gender identities are formed by patterns of behavior and performance and collective decisions around what those mean and who should be performing them. For example, gendered expectations of a perceived black male versus a white male, and a black female versus a white female, are very different. Often we tell people what they should be doing, and these behaviors are not innate but created.

You present The Nude But Male in various mediums. Can you tell us about the wall hangings and why you have chosen to transfer your photographs on what could be considered a domestic object?


Mm, I love the phrasing of the blankets being a “domestic object.” I had never explicitly called it that, but I love it.

What are some other ongoing projects that you would like to share with us?


I view all of my projects as a physical, embodied, collaboration between myself, the subject(st), and the viewers. I try to frame my work as always necessitating and acknowledging all of these. In “academic” language – a deeper acknowledgment of the phenomenology of sensorial perceptions. I really hope to emphasize how images, their creation, and viewing, themselves inform and reinform our sense of selves.

The Nude (but male) is by far my most expansive project, it actually consists of recorded conversations – Zoom and Text, academic writings, performances, panel discussions, New Aesthetic sculptures, drawings, prints, blankets…and so much more currently in development. Much of it is not yet public except in private studio showings, panel conversations, or exhibitions. More will be made public at

I also have a new project titled Bodily Acts. I am excited by this project as it also allows me to explore my own gender identity a bit more. I ask non-binary folks to discard an article of clothing, something that doesn’t fit them anymore – whatever that means to them. This physical act of shedding has been more significant than I could have ever imagined. It really has emphasized the need for traditions and physical markers of change, the externalization of internal shifts.

You also work as a Creative Director. Do you have an on set disaster story to tell us?


Oh yes. My very first commercial shoot…god, I was so naive. I didn’t have an assistant, one was supposed to be provided for me (they didn’t and I didn’t know I should always choose and bring my own). I didn’t know how to use the lights we rented. The power in the studio kept going out. The film was underexposed. It was a complete disaster. In Every. Way. Possible.

What projects/exhibitions have you got coming up?


February 12th I led and participated in a panel “Body Archives of the Masculine.” I launched this panel as an extension of my work with “The Nude (but male)” project. My hope is to create spaces to hold complexity, friction, and curiosity in our individual and collective understandings of gender. I have an exhibition, a course, a photo talk, and a public performance all coming up! However they are not announced yet, so please stay tuned! You can either follow me on Instagram or subscribe to my cyberzine newsletter at

Where can people see your work?


Folks can see my work currently on my commercial website, Instagram, and (the work I’m most excited by) a cyberzine I have just launched – Chimerical: To stay updated on my upcoming exhibitions and events and my personal work – follow me on IG or subscribe at