“The more we are willing to become authentic rather than conventional, and the more unique, unconventional, or creative a being we are… the more we need to eschew conditioning for aliveness.” ~Brené Brown
Transgender is not just about one experience, not linear and not simple. Each transgender person is unique with incredibly diverse experiences yet we are united in a common struggle.
Portraits in this series are of individuals all over the world who are living their lives out in the open, and choosing integrity over safety. To live openly as transgender requires personal courage to live authentically in oppressive environments.
The artist deliberately uses no natural skin tones, instead drawing upon vibrant rainbow colors deliberately chosen to take pride in our intersectional identities uniting us in celebration.
The artist paints all clothing in gray-scale using simple black paint on white canvas. Choosing grey-scale (especially in the cases of many fashion trailblazers) helps to not distract from the vibrant living breathing souls represented while carefully respecting their style.
Many paintings meet the eye in a grounded but fierce stare, claiming space, with untouchable strength and power.
In others joy is depicted yet directed inward. The figures are not smiling at the viewer, but instead the viewer is invited to witness an intimate moment of tenderness.
This series is a direct response to the oppression experienced by transgender people as they reclaim space, both literally in larger than life portraits and figuratively under a vast blue sky.
We wish joy, power, and blue skies to transgender and gender non-conforming community everywhere.
THE LOVE SERIES (2017)
In daily life we live with one view, the one in front of us. We can’t see the whole, but it doesn’t mean that this larger picture doesn’t exist.
Each painting of these shows is created individually, however, if you to put the paintings together they become a single larger image. They're purposely too large to show them in one location.
You can only see the ones in front of you, but the larger picture is there.
Our separateness is only in our perception. Taking a painting or print home means you're connected to the other images and this larger message- we are all interconnected, even when we lose sight of our connection.
Earlier in creating fine art, I made a lot of it about political issues. One show was focused on hate crimes, in which I drew portraits of murdered individuals with the words of their stories overlaid. It was excruciating to create those artworks, it cost me something to focus on that, and I grieved constantly as I made each piece.
After my 2015 cancer diagnosis, "love is all that matters" became a sort of mantra for me. I couldn't create from a place of anger or pain anymore. I decided I wanted everything I put out into the world to be about love.
Thinking that cancer could take my life, my view was suddenly filled by these big questions: Where have I shown love? Where have I expressed love and made that available to others? All the other minutiae stopped mattering to me. Just love.
I wanted to create something that would encourage people to focus on love and what it means to them. I have a gift as an artist. I want to leave a gift of love for the world.
Everything I've created since is grounded in love. Now that I’ve been painting these for over a year, I feel how different it is to paint each work with this intention.
As I work, I meditate on the word love. I knew I couldn’t focus on the negative, it had to be the positive, if only for my physical health. The actual creation of the artwork is impacted by this meditation, this focus.
I hope you feel it.
This collection focuses on movement. Each image a moment in action.
The colors and patterns convey interconnected action, transformation, and change. My hope is that the viewer can lose themselves a bit in the motion and allow the eye to be taken on a journey.
To me, these paintings feel like a small part of a larger picture. Each one just a snapshot of a vast unseen moment of change and velocity. From near stillness to the frenetic, these works flow, individually and in connection with, an interwoven larger collective.
They are small slices of communal moments. Each moving at it's own right pace.
They are a reminder of our interconnectedness.
This show is also about finding myself again as a fine artist. It’s been nearly a decade since my last fine art show, so this feel like an exploration back into another avenue of creativity.
I think what I most enjoy about this collection is seeing my work through the eyes of others. Each person tells me something different about what they see in the paintings. With this work I get to take a journey with each viewer, into coral reefs, above concert crowds, through rain-soaked windows and under wisteria arches.
No matter what you see this show offers a space to stand in contemplation.