Beloved Monsters

Beloved Monsters (Kickstarter) is my large scale painting series that has been growing slowly since 2016. These fantastical portraits depict fictional beings with humanoid forms, typically those placed in stories as monstrous or villainous. They are modeled by people who fall into the broad umbrella of sexual minorities, including gay, lesbian, trans, nonbinary, intersex, two spirit, and so on. Most are also disabled, and/or neurodivergent – from the autism spectrum to attention and personality disorders to the many manifestations of madness. While the imagery of the paintings uses a pulp science fictional, illustrative and pop surrealist style, the series addresses behavioral othering, and the experience of owning that othering as found in culturally shared narratives.

As with all my portraits, these paintings are artifacts of the social experience of live poses and a dialogue with the model. But based on their premise, the human face and body are warped into imaginative configurations, conjoined with animal or mechanical elements. They model the potentialities of not just transgender but transhuman, transgressive, and transcendent fantasy. My own preference is to convert by Clarke’s law and depict magically mutated bodies as technologically feasible. The exploration of identity among all sexual minority communities blossoms into liberation beyond social, economic, and spiritual restrictions. It is this potentiality that mainstream narratives seek to monsterize in order to enforce the supremacy of straight and abled bodies, which is why we often share a contrarian desire to reclaim the inhuman role.