"Partners" is a series of oil portraits of same sex couples. Intended to celebrate committed gay couples and encourage tolerance.
In a nutshell:
I am a professional portrait painter and am currently working on a series of classic oil portraits of same sex couples. My series is called, "Partners".
I'm portraying gay couples in the time-honored medium of portraiture in the hopes that it will promote thought and reflection on the subject of equality. Presenting gay couples in this medium strips away "otherness" and we see real people, loving couples, and happy families. I believe that when people see these portraits they'll be inclined to examine their feelings about marriage equality and tolerance.
Want to know more?
I was paid for my first portrait at the age of 16 and have been painting them ever since. I have always loved the human face and am compelled to try to capture the spirit or the essence of a person, not just their physical appearance, through the art of portrait painting.
I first started the portrait of Bill and Mike 7 years ago, because they are such a great looking couple and I often paint my friends. "Partners" was conceived as a series 2 years ago when my catholic high school refused to publish in the alumnae newsletter that my lesbian classmate and her partner had given birth to twins. I was so upset and horrified, I realized I needed to do what I could to join in the fight for LGBT civil rights.
So "Partners" was born and I recruited a few more friends to be painted for my series. I was accepted into a local show called "Social Change Exhibition". The work was well received and I decided to turn "Partners" into a much larger show that I might be able to take to multiple venues around the country. I want to celebrate in Gay friendly communities, but I don't just want to "preach to the choir". This project is meant for mainstream viewers as well.
The common wisdom is that LGBT civil rights are supported by those who have gay friends or family members." Partners" will show people who never ( knowingly) met a gay person, that they are beautiful, their families are healthy, and that allowing same sex marriage strengthens marriage for all loving and committed couples.
A Labor of Love
Believe me when I tell you that painting a portrait takes forever.
I work on several paintings at a time and it usually takes months or more to finish a single portrait. Sometimes the portrait seems to paint itself, and sometimes the magic is elusive and I have to work at it for a long time before I get it right.
I have 6 portraits finished and am feverishly working another 4, in preparation for the first official show of "Partners" this June, at a beautiful gallery in Baltimore.
After that I'd like to schedule shows in different cities every few months as the series grows.
I plan to complete another 10 or more portraits within the coming year to have a final show in New York of 20 or more portraits and a huge party!
Social Change Doesn't Come Cheap!
It's an expensive proposition to work on Partners full time for the coming year, and I can't possibly do that and bankroll the project on my own. Art supplies cost a fortune and frames can range from $200-600 or more depending on the size. Then, I have to get myself and the portraits safely to the out of town venue and throw a decent shindig.
I will absolutely need all the support I can get, both financial and in terms of promoting the show. I hope you'll consider becoming a backer, and I hope you'll share this link with anyone and everyone so we can make the show a success. Everyone loves art, and who doesn't love a party? There will be an opening reception before each show, so you simply must come out and see the work in person, photos never do justice to oil paintings, you need to see the size and scale and the surface texture of the paint, and feel the presence of all the portraits in the room together!
I am eager to hear your thoughts and feedback, I encourage you to visit my site at www.PartnersPortraits.org.
The Influence of "Hide/Seek"
There was an wonderful gay themed show: "Hide/Seek" at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC last year, and although "Partners" was already in progress, the exhibit and accompanying scholarly symposium added an important angle and confirmed what I already knew -that openly gay portraits pretty much don't exist in art history. Until only a few decades ago, Gay men and Lesbian women had to keep their sexuality a carefully guarded secret for their own safety among other reasons. You might see codes and symbols in a painting to clue you in to the sexuality of the subject, but I can find no examples of classic portraits of Gay men and women with their partners where they aren't somehow shown as outsiders.
I believe my work gives gay men and women a place in the tradition of portraiture, and it is through this medium that I hope to increase awareness and support of equality.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
I will send an email to thank you personally.
Pledge $5 or moreYou selected
I will mail a hand written thank you card with a printed image from the series.
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
You'll receive a 4x6" original watercolor painting: landscape, floral, or still life, as well as a handwritten thank you card, and invitations to the opening nearest you.
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
You'll receive a 5x7" matted, original watercolor painting: landscape, floral or still life, and a handwritten thank you card, invitations to all openings, plus acknowledgement on the Partners website, and in the catalogue book.
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
You'll receive a "mini" (5x5") original oil painting: landscape, floral or still life, in a wide, ornate frame, a handwritten thank you card, invitations to all openings, plus acknowledgement on the Partners website, and in the catalogue book.
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
I'll do a head and shoulders portrait drawing (11x14" or smaller) from your photo, in graphite, charcoal or conte, and a handwritten thank you card, invitations to all openings, plus acknowledgement on the Partners website, and in the catalogue book.
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
I'll do a head and shoulders "mini" portrait in oil (5x5") from your photo, in a wide, ornate frame, and a handwritten thank you card, invitations to all openings, plus acknowledgement on the Partners website, and in the catalogue book.
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
I'll do a male or female nude study in oil on panel or canvas (16x20" or smaller) and a handwritten thank you card, invitations to all openings, plus acknowledgement on the Partners website, and in the catalogue book.
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
I'll do a head and shoulders oil portrait -11x14", from life or photo, and a handwritten thank you card, invitations to all openings, plus acknowledgement on the Partners website, and in the catalogue book.
Pledge $5,000 or moreYou selected
I'll do a full length oil portrait. You'll also get a handwritten thank you card, invitations to all openings and events, plus acknowledgement on the Partners website, and in the catalogue book. You'll also have dinner with the artist at Blue Ribbon Brasserie in New York City. (travel not included) Can't get to NYC? Then we'll do dinner in any of the cities where Partners is shown.
- (60 days)