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. Working first with digital collage, I combine imagery of pop culture that are translated to oil paint that elevate the curated individuals I deem reflect ideas of small-town queerness in their musical persona.
Using oil paint applied through a combination of translucent glazes and opaque scumbling, celebrity figures are represented as classical heroes with their own mythology copied and pasted from past, present, and future. Rather than provide a clear solution to achieve utopia, my MFA thesis exhibition called Friends of Dorothy questions the ideal of a hero, and the ways in which heroes are fetishized, recycled, and celebrated, while presenting a narrative of a hopeful yet complicated relationship to a queer future. Utilizing José Esteban Muñoz’s idea of queerness as a horizon, this body of work offers a utopian future by queering the hero’s journey that both confronts my personal relationship with queer celebrities and what is socially deemed as acceptable forms of queerness.