Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Princes: A Triptych

Here is the finished digital triptych!

This piece is going to be included in OutNetwork's (That's ArtCenter's GLBT group)gallery opening at the Brewery Complex this Sunday. The show is called "Mapping" and explores how far the gay rights movement has come, and how far we have still to go. I'll be one of several alumni, students, and faculty participating.

Princes is at first glance a love story or a fairy tale. When I created it for the first time five years ago, I had used myself and my then-boyfriend as the models, but it wasn't a love letter to that relationship. We were representing heroes that I wish I had had as a child, or that other gay youth might be able to look to and see themselves reflected, as part of the way the world happens.

When I showed it to my parents back then, they were so concerned that the subject matter would hurt my grade on the project. I flat-out didn't care. This was the most intensely personal project I had done, and if I had to fight to be treated fairly, I was prepared to do so. As it happened, my instructor Peter Liashkov loved the piece, wanted me to take it further still. At my third term review later that year, it was praised by the judges as my best composition. Then I felt vindicated and proud, proving that to be true to yourself is always the right decision.

Now when I look at this story, this project, in the aftermath of Prop 8 and the struggle that people like me are still enduring in order to achieve and to keep equal rights, I see another layer here. This isn't just the story of a relationship ideal, but an ideal arc for the story of our movement.

The first panel is called SOLITUDE and represents the personal struggle we had to endure within ourselves in order to gather up the courage to come out of the closet. It's about self-doubt, and self-image, alienation and all of those things. Notice the prince has cut his finger on the rose, and the lurking dragon in the background.

The second panel is called ADVERSITY and represents both the hatred we encounter outside the closet, and the saving love that we find from those who see us for who we really are. It is a segue into the third panel...

TRIUMPH. The third panel is about a hope for the future- GLBT people being seen as NORMAL and EQUAL and treated as such. It is not a happily ever after but a new beginning. It isn't the end of the struggle, but a new chapter in history.

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