Zackary Drucker says she’s used “code-switching” as a trans woman navigating the complex contexts of social and cultural structures. Add to that, she appreciates the nuances of moving between and among the interconnected yet oppositional worlds of fine art and entertainment production in Los Angeles. An acclaimed visual artist whose solo and collaborative practice include photography, film-making, and performance, Drucker is also an award-winning film and television producer, and a committed advocate, activist and author.

Along an evolving continuum of fine art and pop media, Drucker used her own story as a foundation for challenging perceptions on gender, sexuality, and individual truth in our society. Increasingly, she’s involved in telling other people’s stories, too. “I spent those earlier years exploring my own narrative,” Drucker tells the Weekly. But being hired as a producer on the groundbreaking television series Transparent put her in a real position to expand the canon, and shepherd trans representation to a broader audience.

Similar to what Modern Family did to advance marriage equality, Drucker agrees that, “Storytelling creates empathy in the real world. Often, something like a TV show is the only information people get about our community,” she says. “Helping do that work is a privilege that comes with a lot of responsibility. I feel safe and comfortable to be visible, many do not. But these young people are giving me hope for the future.”

Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, Relationship #47, 2008 (Luis De Jesus)

In fact it was exactly her high profile as an artist that got her the Transparent producer call, having performed and exhibited around the world including at the Whitney Biennial in 2014 and around the world. As alienated as the realms of art and television might seem, Drucker feels that “artists in L.A. have always been influenced by Hollywood.” Calling out icons like Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley and Marnie Weber, she notes that while, “Maybe they rejected it, but they were still in dialog with it. In fine art there’s nothing but freedom, I can take every creative liberty with myself. But in entertainment it isn’t just about me. It’s about investing and participating in projects that expand our notion of difference.”

“Most of what I’m doing now I can’t talk about yet! But you can say it’s a docu-series that’s like a true crime show with a major production company,” she says. “I’ve been traveling and shooting. And there’s a genre indie feature starting this fall. But photography will always be the anchor of my daily practice — of myself and my friends and the people around me. I just never want to be bored.” 

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Zackary Drucker, Self-Portrait, 2018 (Courtesy of the artist)