Saints of a Different Order
photographic installation on view February 2nd to March 11th, 2017.
It isn’t easy to be different, to have people look at you your whole life and know something about you isn’t like everyone else. They watch you walk different. Talk different. Like things you’re ‘not supposed’ to like. Love someone you ‘shouldn’t’ love. It’s hard to walk into a class, a meeting, a subway car, a church service, a club, a family gathering, a restaurant and be the only gay person, the only trans person, the only woman, the only person of color, the only ‘freak’ in the room. In a world where hate is so pervasive, and a country where bullying is practically the default, it is extremely isolating and often deadly.
When I moved to New York. my life became beautiful in a way I could never have imagined. I met outrageous queers who wore their identity on their sleeve, even when that was the most dangerous thing they could do. Mostly when it was the most dangerous thing they could do. It wasn’t an option for them to share their identity in some spaces and not others; they were themselves everywhere they went. It lit a fire in me to push myself and my identity to its limits. To live flamboyantly. Colorfully. Fully saturated. This journey from isolation to self-acceptance and ultimately self-love and celebration was motivated by friends and family members and artists who have had similar struggles with identity before blossoming. People whose outward expression is truly rebellious, whose style is a form of protest and whose lifestyles are a form of refusal.
“Saints of a Different Order” is an exaltation of these individuals and a celebration of difference in the face of a world that wants to change you. It raises a middle finger to the institutions and powers that systematically try to ‘calm you down’ and keep you down. The project appropriates imagery and the visual language of oppressive systems - religious symbols, aristocratic portraiture, and coinage - to present ‘saints’ that have impacted my life and made me brave. I want to show them, and myself, in exuberant vignettes that deal with the concepts of rebirth, tolerance, and love. The expulsion of hate from our hearts and from our lives. The series as a whole is intended to inspire those individuals who have yet to find themselves: children and adults who have been beaten down and wonder if there is a way out.
Made possibly with the involvement of Sintra St Martins, Andriy Volkov, Mikey, Crackers Barrel, Dylan the Gypsy, Gia Garison, Valerie Ottaviano, Katie Cox, Alanna Pearl, Alees Yvon, Tris Buscaro, Sideara St Claire, Candice Mohayem, Zack Blomquist, Justin Lanier, Calvin Falk, Tisch Galleries, and more. Thank you.