Artist Statement

Confronting the position of the queer male body in American art history I use my form as a repeating symbol, intersecting contemporary queerness, constructs of masculinity, and historical events. In my work I adapt and personify campy stereotypes of masculine identities, exploring the disconnect between internal and external expectations of gender. By wearing the drag of masculinity I use humor to undermine the seriousness of idealized American manhood. Born from photography, my cross disciplinary practice explores photo as a document, artifact, and tool for connecting with the past. Inspired by Gillian Wearing, Tom of Finland, David Wojnarowicz, Bob Mizer, and James Bidgood, my art practice grew from images of the body as a sexual, flawed, impermanent, and beautiful being in constant flux. Referencing historical photography, recently hand tinted photography, my work pays homage to a queer past that I can only experience through photographs.

Through social media a world of queer men lives in my pocket, a community that before the internet was relegated to underground clubs and secluded queer havens. The tension between queer spaces of the past and digital queer spaces of today inspires my practice. There is pain in longing for a queer past, but there is pleasure in finding community through images of bygone queer havens such as the Christopher Street Piers in New York. Across bodies of work I focus on the pleasure and pain that is omnipresent in queer experiences. The masculine personas I embody in my most recent work (Biker 1, 2, and 3, Cowboy 1, 2, and 3 and Quarterback 1, 2, and 3) highlights my queered version of male sexuality in which I taunt the viewer with my gaze. The male identities I perform are both idolized and feared by the queer community, the image of the biker, cowboy, and football player is a simultaneous idol and aggressor. It is in this tension filled gray area between fear of and reverence for masculinity that my work lives.

A football uniform can be as much as a form of drag as nails and heels, by embodying these male roles I can connect to male macho sexuality in my own way. Visual representations of male sexuality are predominantly presented as heteronormative muscular men dominating women, which centers power as the source of male sexuality. In this series I embrace camp and humor as the center of my own sexuality to tap into my understanding of what it means to be a man. Stylistically inspired by hand tinted photographs the work visually connects back to my practice of sourcing imagery from queer history. There is a queer energy to hand tinted photos, glazes of color meticulously overlaid on black and white photo prints. In these paintings I chase to recreate this energy and perfected artificiality that comes from hand tinted photos.