My Existence as a Work in Progress, or Seventeen Variations on the Theme of Me
“White: a blank page or canvas. The challenge: bring order to the whole through design, composition, tension, balance, light, and harmony…”
– From Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George”
These lyrics open one of my all-time favorite musicals. While the show has nothing at all to do with the intersection of queerness and race (aside from being composed by a gay man), it explores the nature of art and its relationship to the artist, who is often defined by hir creations.
Since I was 16, I’ve been using the media of costume and makeup to communicate my art to the world. As I grew up in the theatre, I discovered the transformative power of makeup and costumes and fell in love with it. The aesthetics of makeup have the power to create entirely new races, genders, sexualities, and identities, so it gives me the freedom to become anything I so desire.
Below is a small sample of my work. From zombie, to mutant, to clergy, to alien transvestite, and back to scruffy butch dude, these pictures represent the intersection of queerness and race as it is manifest within me. I view my gender and sexuality as a perpetual blank canvas – I am an easel on which to paint any gender, race, or sexuality that suits the whim of the moment. Every single one of these looks is an external manifestation of how I felt inside at that particular moment.
I believe that creativity gives us power. In my case, my art gives me power over the social categories in which people seem to want to put me. When I’m in makeup, I needn’t be white, male, heterosexual, or even Irish-American. I can claim any identity I wish, and I believe that that has always been the goal of every queer movement.
This is my art, my creative soul. Enjoy 😀