Even though there are a few more LGBTQ+ stories (love and otherwise) represented in mainstream media, I’m still left extrapolating from centuries of heteronormative art and history. For the most part, our histories remain hidden. Since getting my MFA, I’ve used my paintings to rewrite history through an LGBTQ+ lens. I’ve done that through my World War II cross sections as well as my Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas series.
In each of my paintings, I set out to convey some of the most exquisite moments in life, including those related to sexuality and desire. Even if I identified as straight, I think I would be making erotic art because it’s an interesting lens through which to view human experience.
Lately, I’m homing in on a specific story that adds race and class to the mix. My present body of work started as a love letter to my wife (who is African American). It’s about the lives of well-off African American siblings negotiating life in the Civil War and Reconstruction eras of America. Those times rhyme with the state of the country today, and the historic setting gives me leeway to get to hard emotional truths through fiction.