Beloved Monsters


Beloved Monsters is a series of portraits in oils that explores queer sympathies with mythical creatures. There are 25 paintings around 2 by 3 feet on average, which were produced between 2016 and 2023. Janet Bruesselbach recruited models from its friends and LGBTQIA2S+ community who related to the idea of embracing being othered or considered outside normative personhood, in their queerness, and often in their neurodivergence and disability as well. In collaboration, artist and subject imagined what mythical cryptid, monster or mythic being they might embody. Each creature retains a human face and often much of the human figure, challenging viewers to contemplate both the relatability of the monstrous and the ways in which society forces outsiders into these archetypes. Despite the name, not all of these creatures fulfill the narrative role of “monster” and instead are re-interpretations of mythology specific to the subject’s experience and artist’s imagination. Every painting is an expression of the artist’s love for its model, and the beautiful diversity of society’s gender and sexual outliers.