Gaffy Gaffiero ~ Performance Artist ~ Brisbane, AUS

1. What inspires, moves or drives you?
Anyone creating something different in a visual way. Something I haven’t seen before. That’s what really gets me going! I like to track down others creating from the heart and connect and support them in whatever way I can. I love it when people express themselves and don’t care what others think. It’s always very obvious to me. I can FEEL their energy!

2. What are a few of your favourite things?
Barbie pink, turquoise, bright orange and pastel purple are some of my favourite colours. Especially when they’re all together! I love neon lights, palm trees, animal prints (not furs) specifically cheetah, giraffe, iguana and cow, anything rainbow, holographic or tropical. I LIVE for disco, I love ALL animals but elephants and lions the most and I adore the smell of sandalwood and grapefruit oil. YUM.

3. What does an ideal world look like to you?
No judgements. Minimal negativity (some is good cause us artists need bad things to happen occasionally to create the best material). Strong communities. Everyone growing their own fruit and veg. Everyone doing their own thing and not obsessing over money. Minimal stress for all. No violence. No hunting. More dancing, laughing and people generally expressing themselves visually and living peacefully alongside animals. Oh yeah and everyone has a house and they are painted neon colours.

4. What is your “offering”, creative or otherwise?
Well I’ve noticed over the years that people are often challenged by what I do. They either love it and are fans for life or they don't and can even become angry. As long as people FEEL something, I think it’s positive. It’s up to them what they do with that emotion (hopefully there’s a bit of self growth involved). I love opening up minds and looking into the crowd who are usually rocking a “what the fuck just happened” expression on their faces during my shows. Makes me cackle. I would like to think I encourage people to express themselves and be closer to their bodies. I believe so much in the power of the body and it’s healing powers.

Right now in lock down, I’m really into painting. I’m making colourful masks I’m going to use in my next music video. My ideas have been flowing hard as late. So nice to have the time and space for once as I am usually touring all year round with not as much time as I’d like to create.

5. How can we find your work or follow along with your journey?


6. What are your favourite quotes or words to live by?
My extraordinary friend Olympia Bukkakis once said to me “There’s no excuse to look shit in nature” ten plus years ago which made me laugh a lot and has always stuck with me for some reason.  I love walking in nature and I’ve done quite a lot of serious treks that last a few days at a time all over the world. Mostly New Zealand. Walkers are generally pretty straight edge wearing their very serious “outdoor North Face attire” so I have MANY funny moments where I’m on the top of some mountain I’ve spent hours climbing with bright lipstick on, a leotard and some sort of prop getting whoever I can to take my photo. Cracks me up. 

I also like “The mind is like a parachute — it doesn’t work if it’s not open” by Frank Zappa and when I’m stuck on a decision, I ask myself "what would Grace Jones do"?

7. Who are your heros/heroines and how have they impacted your life?
John Sizzle who is an iconic London-based drag queen. We met at my favourite place in the world the NYC DOWNLOW at Glastonbury ten years ago and we instantly clicked. He is NON STOP FUN TIMES! Literally has me in stitches every time we hang out. Back then he took me under his wing and introduced me to the East End queer scene and gave me gigs without ever seeing me perform. I had never experienced this before. As a female performer/DJ (looking the way I do), I often have the feeling I have to prove myself constantly to men that I am good at what I do before they will book me. He was the first friend to TRUST my vibe at face value and let me do my thing on stage. I’ll never forget the first time at The Big Chill festival in the UK. It was the first time we’d seen each other since meeting at Glastonbury and from the stage while on the mic, he pointed at me and was like - IT’S YOU! I shaped my way to the front of the stage and he was like, HEY you wanna do a show? (Having never seen me perform) I was like ERRR YEAH! He asked me if I had my CD’s on me (thankfully I did) and BAM! Had back up dancers wearing horse masks and everything. 

Thomas Bullock - Thomas was the first person to show me how easy it is to record electronic music. When I first mentioned I was thinking of being a rapper (when I was 20), he was like- YES! THAT’S THE BEST IDEA… LET’S DO IT NOW! Then took me into his barn converted studio, gave me a drum machine, showed me how to use it then BAM. Two days later, we had five tracks good to go. He remains a close friend, strong inspiration and influence on my life.  

Cian Kinsella aka Captain Incredible Man — the funniest person I know on this planet. He made me appreciate what it is to PLAY all the time. No one makes me laugh like Cian does. 

Nina Hagen — a true icon. I was twenty when I heard Zarah for the first time and WOW. I had never heard anything like it! (Although I didn’t learn about who she was for a couple of years.) The way I truly discovered Nina was from strangers coming up to me on the street when I was sporting a neon flat top or after shows telling me I reminded them of Nina. I thought, gawd I should really check her out and I was NOT disappointed. I feel like I’ve always channelled Nina without meaning to!

Noel Fielding — Mighty Boosh changed my life. Showed me that colourful, totally weird and wonderful magic could be mainstream. Noel is the best! I like that he shows people that things don’t always have to make sense and can just be fantastical and visually pleasing and silly! I hope to collaborate with him in the future.

8. How will you leave your mark on the world, both in terms of community and the environment?
As Gaff E: the queerdo punk disco queen who was was simply herself and did the best she could do and looked the best she could every darn day. Everyone just gotta communicate via their hearts more.

9. What advice would the present you share with the past you?
Life just gets better and better! Everything is going to be A - OK

10. What challenges have you overcome and how?
I was very ill a couple of years ago where I was bed ridden for three months. That was pure hell. On the upside, I learnt a ridiculous amount from that experience which I am very thankful for. My whole life up until that point I had been crazy healthy and was used to have bouncing off the walls kind of energy so for that to be stripped from me and having moments where I wasn’t able to wipe my own arse for a little while there, THAT was challenging. After that experience, I went deeper into my performance as my body was not able to move in the same way as before for a while so I had to channel my energy into dancing with my face and playing my synth more on stage. 

I just work through whatever it is I’m dealing with at the time. Take things day by day. I write a lot and I’m really lucky I get to channel anything dark through my performances. I can come up with a totally insane idea that is linked to trauma and because I’m on stage releasing it, people clap. It’s very liberating. I go on stage no matter what’s happening in my personal life. Even when I was bed ridden, I would crawl out of bed and force myself to go onstage as it was the only thing that kept my mind alive. It was a reminder of my purpose. I’m now really good at controlling my stress levels and as I previously mentioned and I’m really into learning about the bodies abilities to heal itself through food. It’s amazing! My advice for the world… talk it out, write it down in a diary and DANCE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!

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