New painting (first of a new project painting transgender people)

I know I’ve been very quiet on here for a while now, I’ve been doing lots of things and I’m planning a post taking about them all but I wanted to share this one now. I post more frequently on my Facebook page, follow me there to see what I’m up to day to day!

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New painting! This is the first in what I’m hoping will be an ongoing project: the subject is a friend of mine who is transgender, after interviewing him about his relationship with his body I translated these thoughts and feelings into a body painting, and used photos from that as the basis for this painting. He was just about to have his mastectomy when I took the pictures, and I’ll do the same process in a month or so once he’s healed to make a dyptic.

My intention with this series is to explore a way to document and express people’s experience of being transgender/transsexual. Very often the focus is on appearance and aesthetics, with a focus on how well they “pass”. I’m trying to move beyond this, with expressive paintings with elements of abstraction, using the body itself as a canvas to speak about itself.

Often trans people feel like our bodies are our enemies – not all trans people experience physical dysphoria, but for those who do it can be overwhelming and affect everything about how they exist in the world. When we are able to take control of our bodies, whether through hormones/surgery or simply by how we present ourselves, we are able to come to peace and to flourish.

I I have purposely chosen to focus on my subject’s current experience rather than their history, so creating a snapshot in time. I feel like very often trans people are defined more by our history than our present; the questions people want to ask are about when we first knew, how our parents reacted etc. To me these questions are incredibly dull and don’t really communicate much about what it means to live one’s life as a trans person, especially for someone who came out and transitioned a long time ago.

Hopefully I’ll be doing more of these, so do watch this space, and get in touch if you’re trans and you’d like to be a model

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