Laz Marquez of Women Make Trek

Star Trekking - Supplemental

Last month, Laz Marquez and Heather Rae launched Woman Make Trek, to celebrate the strength and contributions of the many women who have helped create and sustain the phenomenon that is Star Trek.

The site is jam-packed with art from dozens of talented contributors, and has even published its first interview with a cast member, Mary Chieffo.

Ben Holmes | L'Rell

Laz Marquez grew up drawing favorite TV & movie characters and watching plenty of Star Trek. Now a Creative Director and Illustrator based in NYC, Laz sees Women Make Trek as a way to do more than just celebrate love of the franchise.

I asked Laz to explain.

What was the genesis of the project?

LM: For me, this was inspired by two key events. One was seeing the online community becoming rather toxic towards certain series in the franchise or other fans. I saw it growing and would normally have hid under the covers, so to speak. What could an artist offer to change things? Then, one day it dawned on me that if we can show the love of Star Trek through artwork, then maybe we can shift that energy. I was raised by a single mother in a household with two sisters, so I was always more connected with female energy. So I wanted to merge the two into what has now become "Women Make Trek.” It's a space where artists, their work and their inspiration can speak volumes to the power they get from the women in the franchise. Secondly, my mother passed away from breast cancer a few years ago and I wanted to honor her and her strength by also giving our viewers a chance to support a cause in the form of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It's a cause near and dear to me and I felt it was important to give back, just as Star Trek has given back to me in many ways. 

How did you first get connected to Heather Rae?

LM: I was a huge Star Trek fan since I was a child yet I'd never been to a convention for it before. I usually create artwork while listening to podcasts and at the time, Heather was part of a podcast that actually spoke and explained the Star Trek Las Vegas convention. I was fascinated and continued to listen to her and her colleagues speak about that and other Trek related topics and it eventually landed me at STLV. I met her and she was the most warm-hearted human ever. The rest is organic and natural. She's awesome. 

How do you and Heather complement each other? 

LM: Both Heather and I are very much empathic hearts with a lot of history of traumas. Her soul is very much in the place of giving back to others, as is mine. I think that's why we love Star Trek and its ideals. Plus, she's just way too fun to talk to. Even if we cry together sometimes. She has photographic evidence of it. 

Were there any particular struggles in getting the project going?

LM: Honestly, the idea was pretty much set and once Heather and I connected, it all moved rather quickly. I worked in advertising for about 15 years, so I knew how to move quickly. It was a labor of love that happened fast and luckily we had a vast array of artists to share their passion for the Star Trek universe. 

Neil Fraser / Uhura Tribute

How did you choose artists?

LM: Our goal was really to find artists who truly loved Star Trek and had the time to contribute. A lot of it was mining hashtags and seeing what artists were already contributing their work to the characters they love. In addition, it was important to show a diversity of that love. Men, Women, Any country. And we have been lucky to have all of the artists we have. The range of styles, inspirations and artists has been a shock even to us. We are so very proud of them. 

Kristin Wilkinson | Seven of Nine

Where do you see the project going over time?

LM: It's difficult to start a fan-driven initiative and expect an outcome. It would be amazing to have this be part of something larger within the Star Trek Universe. An artist compilation book would be amazing, but I'm also a book lover. Our focus at the moment is to really focus on highlighting artists, their work, inspirations and raising funds for Breast Cancer. If anything larger becomes of it, then we would be grateful.

What do you hope visitors will take away from visiting the site?

LM: That the women of Trek are amazing! There are tons of criticisms online on portrayals of the female characters in the Star Trek universe, but when I go to a convention or read one of our artist statements, I know and feel how the impact has been made. My favorite character is Tasha Yar, for pete's sake! These characters and actresses put a lot into their roles over decades of change and it has inspired people to become doctors, therapists, astronauts, army enlistees and a plethora of other important roles. We hope that our artists and their highlights of these characters can spark even more inspiration for all women out there. 

ZJ Bickel | Marlena Moreau

Please do check out the site, Women Make Trek, for more inspiring art, including works by friends of this newsletter, including Lee Sargent.

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Star Trekking is written and edited by Neil Shurley, except where noted.
Star Trekking logo art by James H. Dargie.