READ OUR REVIEW OF THE BOOK, Butch Heroes, HERE.
What first inspired you to begin working on your collection, BUTCH HEROES?
I started this project in 2010 after making the painting Self Portrait as a Nun or Monk, circa 1250. I was thinking about what my life would have been like, as a queer, nonbinary trans person, had I been born into a different century. I learned early on from Catholic Catechism that “homosexuals” were called to a lifetime of chastity or service to the church. Joining the convent or monastery, was one option for those who did not want to enter into a heterosexual marriage or conform to the strict gender roles of their time. But, I supposed that queer people of the past must have found other ways to live, and I wanted to find out how they did so.
What medium to you use to create these images and what scale do you typically work?
They are small, 11 x 7 inches, gouache on paper.
Do any one of the stories of these lives resonate with you in particular? If so, why that one?
There are definitely parts of each that resonate with me, like Captain Wright’s love of rabbits; Rosa Bonheur, Okuhara Seiko and Watanabe Seiran as artists; and of course each of their struggles with gender identity or gender presentation.
Do you have any future plans with this amazing collection (i.e., making them into postcards or a gallery tour)?
The paintings, narratives, and sources are always accessible via my website, and of course, the book, but you can also view them in person at the institutions that have added them to their collections: the Davis Museum, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Henry Art Gallery, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. I’m also still making them so hopefully there will be more opportunities to share them.
- We look forward to it! Thanks, Ria.