Because I am transgender, I am often expected to produce a narrative of my life that paints my identity as a fixed, true self that does not change—a self trapped inside of a body. As a gender non-conforming/non-binary person, my identity is much more complex than this idea of a trapped person. I believe that while there is an individual self inside every body, our historical situations and interactions do as much to shape who we are and how we present ourselves. My work draws from queer and feminist artistic and political traditions, but builds onto them with a humorous, self-deprecating, and frankly sexual voice. The texts in my visual and performance video works utilize a matter of fact tone about fluidity and difference in order to encourage queer acceptance without letting these identities become sanitized. I primarily work in drawing, video, writing, and sculpture, depending on whether I am conceptually working with the meanings of materials or narrative.
My animatic video “Clothes Feelings” uses comedic anecdotes and colorful illustrations to poke fun at my complex relationship to clothing through stories, rather than definitions, which tend to limit the nuance of experience.
My interest in history’s influence on identity has also motivated my work in pyrography (wood burning) on lumber. I burn images from popular and queer/transgender cultures, as well as my own life, into pine and fir, so as to mark architectural material with personal and cultural affect. Both visually and conceptually, the pyrographs are like tattoos: they display externally something deeply personal, making the private public.
Some of my sculptural projects are created from old feminine clothing in order to resemble body parts. This has been a way for me to think about the body as a found object that one then proceeds to repurpose throughout their life.