“Gender Treason” is a yearlong project which involves documenting the various realities of queer persons living in Kansas City through in person interviews which will be photographed, recorded, transcribed and painted in oils. Upon completion of an interview I will transcribe the key elements, which will be printed and framed next to a large scale oil painting I will create of the subject being interviewed. The aspiration of this project is to tell the story of Queer Kansas City, to convey relatable humanity despite vast differences, and to help the public bond with both common and uncommon struggles and victories. I will complete, at minimum, 12 portraits and transcribed interviews.
There is a cultural shift happening in the United States. I believe that the nation is awakening to the shared human experience and beginning to seek the perspective of those who live differently than the previously defined "social norms". I see this in the Supreme Court ruling on the legalization of gay marriage in June 2015, in the media explosion and public acceptance of Caitlyn Jenner, in the celebration and celebrity status of our sisters in drag, in the nationwide mourning of the senseless losses of our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters, and in the ongoing conversation and legislation surrounding gender identity and sexual orientation. I am compelled to commemorate this historical awakening in collective consciousness, and to cultivate a platform for queer persons within Kansas City (and the entire country/world) to share their largely unheard stories, one at a time, while people are more receptive than ever.
The world is also suffering from a misinformation overload. Opinions are wildly toted as fact which result in the loss of equality, safety, and peace of mind for those whom live their truths. Discrimination and ignorance are rampant and I feel a social responsibility to bring light to the human experience of queer people. I've asked myself, "what can I do?" Is the problem merely a lack of perspective? If so, how can I use my art to shed light on the queer perspective? It is in the dwelling lack of perspective that ignorance and fear is bred.
This project began in June of 2015 when I recognized a personal need to understand the spectrum of queer people outside of my own homosexuality. This is how "Gender Treason" began. As of September 2015, I have completed two photoshoots, interviews and paintings with queer people of Kansas City; with a longer list of subjects waiting to join the ranks. This project has stirred substantial excitement within the Kansas City LGBTQIA community, but in order to produce a full-fledged exhibition in a timely manner, I need your help with funding.
I've reached out to local queer focused organizations (Kansas City Anti- Violence Project (KCAVP), Passages, and LikeMe Lighthouse) to gain community involvement. I've invested over a thousand dollars into materials for this project using personal funds, and am applying for grants to help further the mission of Gender Treason. I believe so much good has and will continue to be derived from this project.
Each painting costs about $400 in materials to create. I like to use a lot of oil paint to convey the complex textures of a persons depth and spirit. At minimum I will complete 12 hand-stretched oil paintings, 48"x56", which will be exhibited in Kansas City (venue TBD) in June 2016.
Your donations to this project will assist in purchasing:
-Quality materials for the high caliber subjects, including canvas, stretch bars, oil paints, brushes, etc..
-Marketing materials: postcards, flyers, photos and recording equipment for interviews.
-Paying venue rental for video and photoshoots
- Creating mementos for donors to celebrate this momentous time in history.
The goal of Gender Treason is to create provocative artwork which carries with it a powerful narrative of queer Kansas City. It is not MY project, it is Kansas City's. It is the project to, for and by queer people. By donating to this project you are taking ownership in this concept. YOU are elevating the voice of queer people and become a part of a demand for greater good, greater understanding, and the advancement of a populous that has gone misrepresented and misunderstood for far too long. I believe in this project's ability to represent queer Kansas City with true pride as well as its potential to inspire growth and solidarity.
( A big thank you to Muave Revlon, a Kansas City based DJ, for lending his song, "Shinji" for the video! You can listen to more of his music here:
Risks and challenges
I am fortunate to be surrounded by talented artists, many of whom I'm grateful to call friends. In the event of setbacks, I will rely heavily on my community for trouble shooting and solutions. One element of this project that I'm anticipating as a potential challenge, is venue space. I want the finalized work of "Gender Treason" to be showcased in a space that compliments the quality of the work and the pride of the subjects. The subjects of Gender Treason are opening up the most vulnerable aspects of themselves for the entire world to see and read, and I want the space to reflect and respect that vulnerability. This may mean that I end up choosing a space to exhibition that costs money to rent. However, I have faith in this project enough to make it happen in spite of possible financial challenges. Additionally, I have already begun extensive networking with venue managers and owners as well as a variety of LGBTQIA non-profits in order to secure marketing, promotion, potential exhibition space and most importantly, support.
I'm also aware that, as dynamic as the queer population is, there is no possible way that I can represent every facet of it; and there will be some people who may feel left out. The goal however is to provide a well rounded and clear perspective of queer people on a general level, by highlighting the accounts and experiences of queer people of color, transgender FTM and MTF, gender fluid individuals, queer people living with HIV, bisexual, asexual, drag performers, etc. There are branches of identity that stem and transform from each of these and while it would be impossible to cover all of them in a project of this magnitude, I trust that everyone in the queer community will identify with the testimonials of those who are.
- (35 days)