Katy chats with Jet Krusec about her performance art persona, Cakeface.
Photos by Cakeface / Jet Krusec
Interview by Katy Somerville
Let’s give our Cream Sceners a little taste of cake!
You made us our own Valentine’s CAKEFACE.
Your special edition is what happens when 80s beauty commercials meet zoomer fashion.
We love her. Is she okay?
Cakeface is so lovesick she’s gotten chicken pox.
What do YOU want people to know about your CAKEFACE persona?
Cakeface is how I express myself, my protective blanket and she fills my cup. Anything you see in her is right, she’s meant to make you feel uncomfortable or make you chuckle. I err on the side of secrecy with her because I don’t want people to see beyond her and into my own life too much.
Opaque personas in a theoretical sense don’t allow audiences to know the true personality/or motivations of the artist. Has that helped you when CAKEFACE was being developed?
It was a massive relief. Loads of truth are in the performances but there is just as much fabrication and that’s all a part of the fun.
The persona of Cakeface was born out of necessity During an emotional conversation with Catherine Bell, a multi-disciplinary artist who runs the final year of the visual arts degree at ACU, Jet admitted that terrible stage fright was keeping her from moving her practice into performance art. Bell suggested that Jet might develop a persona.
The Milf, the Devoted, and the Clown
Let’s get PERSONA(L)
They really are a disgusting motley trio when put all together, they’ve all been built with love and have their own wardrobes, Pinterest boards, and makeup routines. There’s always more in the works but there’s always a question of space and whether one needs to be killed off for the project to remain strong.
Oh no! Does CAKEFACE play favorites?
The Clown has the most personal lore and secrecy. Probably the most questions from viewers too. They’re truly polarising, and I want to keep them that way.
The Clown, easily, all I’ll say is the favorite… they’ll never be killed off, but the other two, they better watch their backs.
The Devoted was the first alter ego I created: a midwest spinster, theatre-loving, God-fearing, slightly desperate, and stuck in the time she felt the most beautiful, 1969.
The MILF’s face is based on Jennifer Coolidge, but the dress and attitude are based on the stereotypical milf porn archetype, scantily clad, constantly with a pursed lip.
The Clown, who I call the neutral. Forever in the middle of the chaos or is the chaos
You speak of performance exaggerating reality into uncomfortable places and giving you freedoms you may not be able to express in regular life.
There are things you wouldn’t do for fear of damaging your professional reputation, but there are things that Cakeface does that can damage personal relationships. My parents have never met Cakeface, my Dad has a fear of clowns and my Mum doesn’t like it. There has to be a moment where you live life for yourself rather than others. It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable and bold enough even to accept that I’m an artist – Cakeface is to thank for that.
I find reality an uncomfortable place, so I use Cakeface to twist and explore realities different from my own, then shove them down the audience’s eyeballs. Sometimes it’s the least confronting works that bring up the most conversation. A friend said that his new girlfriend was blown away by the work while he, AND I QUOTE “was scared shitless.” I feel that way all the time, so I do feel powerful, knowing I can frighten men from a photograph.
How do you feel about the impression you’ve made with Cakeface?
I don’t want to say that my friends are hype men but they totally are. My partner’s friends though, this is where I get a bit more of a reality check. They’re terrified of her. The queer community is accustomed to drag queens and people showcasing different realities, so they’ve lovingly embraced her, and I’m truly grateful. The straights are trying – Cakeface will win them over.
You wrote in your thesis that the persona of Ziggy Stardust (my personal favourite Bowie alter ego) was one inspiration of Cakeface.
Ziggy Stardust is a cautionary tale, he made something so popular he had to kill him off and audiences never understood why he refused to play Ziggy songs after his passing. Bowie was so layered in his approach to all his alter egos and he got better at them as he went on, that’s what influenced Cakeface.
When you look back to when Cakeface was just cake batter, how do you feel?
I feel sad, honestly, a lot has changed. It was a difficult period, but I miss the simplicity of developing the persona. Life feels very serious now. I’m proud of my recent accomplishments, my first solo show, developing new collaborations, and committing my life to artistic practice. Obviously, there is a point of pride, but it is still difficult because I always ice the cake and then immediately rip the frosting off. to start a new series. But at least I have a sturdy base now.
Jet was so incredibly generous with sharing her experiences and letting Cream Scene crack into the cake. It was hard to pare down all of the delicious goodies, so this is just a taste. We’re putting the rest of this cake into the fridge in Mum’s Garage.If you behave, you’ll get a second – or third! – helping.
About Jet Krusec
Cakeface is the performance persona of Melbourne-based emerging queer artist Jet Krusec. Krusec is a 2022 graduate from ACU with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) focusing her thesis and creative outcome on performance personas. Cakeface has been showcased in group shows at The Fitzroy Art Collective, Brunswick Street Gallery, Craft Victoria’s Craft Contemporary festival and in her first solo show at Off The Kerb.
Katy Somerville was beamed into existence on a Monday night in the mid-eighties by stars, glitter, and a glorious Italian woman from a long line of very strong women. In the present timeline, she likes to drink coffee, pat any animal that will engage with her, make collages, and spend time laughing and finding moments of joy wherever she can with her partner and her goofy, lanky dog.