Alexander Watts sends strong messages with simple materials

Art has always found a way into Alexander Watts’ life, and even more lately, as he’s been picking up some new tools while he is away at college.

Watts, who grew up in East Lansing, studies digital media and visual communications at Loyola University Chicago, where he is learning more about digital design software. Many of his works, including the cover art for this issue, were created as collages that he touches up with Photoshop.

“I am super jazzed about (this week’s Pride Issue cover), this is a huge honor,” Watts said. “Being gay is something I love about myself, and being able to safely voice this on such a public platform is a tremendous privilege.”

The art was described by Watts as “a visual representation of the inclusive and unifying forces housed within the LGBTQ+ community.”

“Nothing really matches the nurturing nature of the queer community,” Watts said. “I’m so incredibly lucky to have a supportive family, loving friends and a generally respective community that lets me exist as I am.”

Watts, 19, said he thinks so many groups within the community are overlooked, and it is essential to accurately and inclusively represent everyone who helped shape LGBTQ+ history.

“Drag queens, people of color, trans people and everyone at the intersections of these identities were and still are fundamental to the queer community’s progress,” Watts said.

Watts said he works art into many facets of his life. He is only halfway through his time at Loyola, but he would love to have his art be a viable career.

“I like to tackle social issues in my art, I’ve been very active with social issues in my adult life,” Watts said. “Art is a powerful and universal tool.”