These pieces were created during a month-long artist’s residency at the Lookout Arts Quarry in Bellingham, Washington in April 2022. They are rendered with watercolor inks over acrylic primed canvas.
Local transgender models served as the subjects, and local wildlife inspired the settings & specific plantlife.
TRANS PEOPLE ARE NOT OUTSIDE OF NATURE, WE ARE OF IT
I spent the first two years of my transition in a deep relationship with The Sonoran Desert.
In a small verdant canyon, I lay on sun-warm rocks and within caves as the world and my body shifted around me.
The first two years of my transition was largely isolated from society. By luck or Fate, I made my way to an unknown and hidden place just a few months before the pandemic began. As the world plunged into panic – which I only gleaned from headlines that read like fiction – the canyon
remained still and calm. As the seasons changed, my body stretched, shrunk, sprouted, filled out again anew.
This has been my transition and/or pandemic experience: mesquite flowers, hummingbird migrations, the changing angle of the sun in the sky, monsoon season, coyote pups, rattlesnake hatching season, the discovery of artisanal springs, bee hives on exposed rock walls, saguaro flowers blossoming, my body, the brightest moon you ever saw. Most days, I did not have to think of my gender. I noted new strange hairs like plants peeking out after rain, and worked and used my body as an animal.
My integrated phenological experience of place/nature/body reveals my perspective as one of an outsider. The typical trans experience (if any life-changing experience can be said to be typical) has a large social aspect to it: bigotry and hatred, passing culture, finding solace in community, whether in person or online. For better or for worse I did not experience most of this, and it gives my work unique perspective. I was fortunate to have a poignant, peaceful, and beautiful transition experience. One of the purposes of art is to imagine other possibilities and worlds yet-to-come. I hope my work and experiences can show some of that possibility. I consider many facets of this work to be utopian.
The trans body is actively growing and shifting and blossoming.
The trans body is dynamic, and constantly emerging.
The trans body is indistinguishable from the natural world.
These pieces are important to me, and have a place in the world, because they feature three uncommon but important things: