Artist Statement  World-building and character creation have been the focus of my work since my infatuation with nature and animals began in my early childhood. Playing in the yard with toys or hunting for bugs, I experienced how the wildlife interacted with their environments, other creatures, or the toys that I brought. I replicate these scenes in my work by depicting fictional worlds and characters in the form of digital prints and images. I’m obsessed with finding new ways to express emotions and experiences I deal with as a queer individual, as the media I grew with has a significant lack of representation for a queer audience. Queerness has been marginalized out by heteronormative ideologies that are projected onto characters and even wildlife documentaries. There are many narratives where the only human character I could relate to was the villain due to queer coding, which demonized me for feeling such relations. Thus, I found myself unable to relate to any human character. This resulted in my fixation on nonhuman creature/robot characters and how people relate to them, especially in the LGBTQ+ community. So, as I kept creating, it has evolved into me depicting characters who are not human, but are fictional species in figmental worlds that steer clear of the heteronormative barriers which alienate me from much of media.

 

My work is multimedia based, making images from materials such as water color paints, copic markers, digital prints, and few sculptural works in fleece and book. Pieces rely on drawn outlines and other strategies used in illustration to describe figures and objects and use color to separate and define different parts of a composition or design. My palette for figures in my work refers to bold contrasting colors found on toxic animals or of punk/scene fashion. Backgrounds are made in response to these colors, letting the character stand out while still complimenting them, inspired by video games level design or by colors found in the background Full Art Pokemon Cards for pieces with no depicted setting. In my digital work, I apply distortion or noise to create a different texture from my traditional work’s shadings. Information is also displayed with text, these come in the form of text bubbles, quotes, or titles. Some pieces also display a progression of time, linearly with animations and most comic formats, or non-linearly in some comic pieces using simultaneity.

 

The settings and individuals shown in my work are a pastiche drawn from the media, narratives, toys, and collectibles I grew up with, but instead include a queer audience which was and is still alienated. Yet, it still focuses on character design and conceptual world-building that attracted audiences to said media. It displays these nonhuman characters as a natural part of these worlds and as people comparable to the viewer. Nature is still a large force that shapes what I depict, many of my designs are based on real-life animal body structures, stages of life, and mannerisms that homogenize into designs that make visible the fantastical qualities I see in nature.

 

My body of work is made to plant the seeds of multiple worlds, characters, and narratives for the audience to see themselves in. It acts as a space where the work isn’t one that is powered by capitalist and corporate drives that exclude gay characters or use them to create marginalized depictions for promotion rather than to relation, but as a space that is driven by a love of nature, Sci-Fi, and interrelation. All while still mirroring the aesthetics of large-scale media. As a result of my work only depicting nonhuman characters, it has led to all of them either being Aliens or Demons. Directly responding to the alienation of queer people and other minorities, the demonization of gay characters with villain queer coding, and Karl Marx’s idea of the alienated worker. My work not only creates an environment of inclusivity, but makes an internal experience of extreme alienation external to its human audience.