Feral Pines, 29, moved to Oakland in Sept. 2016 to join the Bay Area’s welcoming artistic and transgender communities. “I had never seen her so happy, so full of life and love,” says friend Scout Wolfcave of Pines after the move. “She was so ready to take people in, and to give parts of herself out.”
Wolfcave met Pines and her then-partner Eliza (Winter) Wicks-Frank in Bloomington, Indiana. The three lived together for about a year and a half. “She was multi-disciplinary,” Wolfcave says, listing off Pines’ talents: collecting and playing synths, drawing, playing bass in a hardcore band, and writing lists that read like poetry.
Pines made lists of bands she liked in a wide variety of genres, as well as “lists of colors to wear for certain occasions, lists of things she liked on certain days,” Wolfcave says. “She would sometimes leave me joke shopping lists that were completely absurd.”
Pines grew up in Westport, Conn. and moved to New York City to study printmaking at the School of Visual Arts. She lived in Ohio, North Carolina and Indiana before moving to Oakland. “Life was getting rough for her in Indiana and I kept telling her to move to the West Coast,” says Wolfcave, who is the executive director of the Trans Assistance Project (TAP), a nonprofit she recently established in Portland to provide nationwide financial assistance and resources for transgender people for anything from gender confirmation surgery to legal name changes.
In addition to its ongoing fundraising, TAP has created a separate fund for the trans women who were victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire: Cash Askew, Em Bohlka and Feral Pines. Money raised will go towards funeral services and end-of-life costs for Askew, Bohlka and Pines, along with medical care for another trans woman who sustained injuries in the fire. According to the project’s website, Pines had applied for TAP’s services before her death.