As a queer artist from the Appalachian South, my work and process are a way for me to communicate my experiences. I create figurative oil paintings that explore how the often-disparaged forms of Americana and heartland kitsch can be recharged as instruments through which to generate and explore queer identities. Taking inspiration from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and drawing parallels to the queer experience and Dorothy’s journey to the Emerald City, my recent work is an investigation of longing, chosen family, and a queer utopia.
My work frequently looks back at art history, taking advantage of the grisaille technique utilized by artist like Caravaggio and Jan van Eyck to highlight how queer individuals have historically been left out of mainstream portraiture. My recent paintings have been an investigation of my experience and recent departure from graduate school, the end of a 10-year relationship, and the beginning of another. Utilizing José Esteban Muñoz’s idea of queerness as a horizon, my work offers insight into how imagery from popular culture can be used to share personal experience of transitional periods in one’s life.