We live in a society that is actively producing anti-LGBTQ legislation on a near daily basis. Don’t say gay bills, trans sports bans, bathroom bills,  trans medical care bans, and more are being introduced to discriminate and dehumanize the Queer community. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2022 13 states have signed anti-LGBTQ bills into law and 23 states have introduced similar bills to do the same. 

I believe art can be a catalyst for change. It can push our understanding of ourselves and society. Art can challenge us to question what we know, to hold space for contradiction, and to open ourselves to new perspectives and narratives. With the social climate in mind, I chose pieces where artists authentically dove into the complexities of their identity and came out with fresh and unapologetic stories. The selected works queer how we depict, understand, and represent queerness in the United States.

Juliana Rico (she/they) is an award winning, nationally showcased, queer, Latinx, visual artist, educator, consultant, and academic. Her artistic practice focuses primarily in photography and video around topics of identity and representation having earned her BFA in Photography from San Jose State University and MFA in Creative Photography from California State University Fullerton.

Adriana Chavez

I am a Queer Latinx clown with Spanish, Portuguese, and Indigenous Mexican roots. I am also a first generation American. I perform a character named Juan Chico, inspired by my family’s tender and messy men: the drinkers, the dreamers, the cheaters, and mustached karaoke singers. Through Juan Chico, I find my culture and connect to my family. Through Juan Chico, my identity forms, and while using the lens of play, I find belonging. Nostalgia, myth, metaphor, magical realism, the ridiculous, the sacred, and the profane inspire me. Most of all, I make performances that encourage empathy, compassion, imagination, and connection.

Adriana Chavez is a Queer Latinx artist. They connect to their culture through performance, mask, and digital collage. Born in California and based in Las Vegas, Nevada, she is inspired by Nostalgia, myth, metaphor, magical realism, the ridiculous, the sacred, and the profane. Her performances inspire compassion, imagination, and connection.

Andre Pace

The artist task a retrospective reinforced by the verbal remains of the image identify these elements they are seen afresh with expanded expression of color and patterns it’s not gender nor identity the complicated issues still matters leaving visible traces of contemporary art+ mix media design works.

I usually work on several bodies of work concurrently. In addition to my paintings, I also create site-specific temporary installations in various settings. I work in the realms of contemporary art & mix media design. I began using oils, and pastels, then by hand with objects in 2011, which became a very prominent feature in my works. I have studied drawing, painting, interior design, and art history in Manhattan.

Brent Holmes

Howdy, I’m Brent Holmes (they/ them/ y’all ) I feel that I resonate with the notion of queering americana. The work I am sharing is from an exhibition I had in 2021 in Las Vegas on the American (black) cowboy. I cannot imagine anything more Americana than the cowboy, its image and symbology are the key archetype of the second foundational myth of the United states. In my short film Lariat I place identity and place in open polarity using myself and the arid west as subject. The interpolation of mythic identifier, sublime landscape, and fragile self acts to subvert notions of racial, and sexual identity. Black bodies are pre supposed to be absent from spaces that the legacy that manifest destiny has wrought hold so dear. The west is a place identified with rugged white masculinity not a realm for gentle brown softness, for exposure and introspection. If this work is queer (and that is part of its intention) it is queer in the Bell Hooks sense as much as it is in the sexual or gendered sense, if this work is of the desert it is of Noah Purifoy’s desert in that it is a “oceanic experience.”

Brent Holmes is a creative roustabout; artist, cultural commentator, raconteur, and designer. His art has been exhibited in the Nevada museum of art, and the Marjorie Barrick Museum, and The Momentary. You can find his writing in Desert Companion Magazine, the Believer, and Double Scoop Nevada.He’s a proud member of the NU WU arts collective.

Dr. Bunny McFadden

My uncle, Bobby Gene Garcia, was an American Indian Movement activist murdered in prison in 1981. This digital collage plays homage to his poem, “They Took The Typewriter Today.” The frame of an adobe pueblo filled with his published poem represents our Chicano heritage; the door is blocked with jail bars. A pair of typewriter ribbons is interposed with handcuffs, transparent to represent the insidious ways the carceral state hides behind false representations of equality and justice.

Dr. Bunny McFadden (she/they) is a Chicana mother who tinkers with words for a living. Their website is DocBunny.com.

Emi Ramos

The photos are from a series of self-portraits showcasing different aspects of my queer identity. 

When people think of identity, most think about cultural upbringing, heritage, and religion but I’ve always felt rejected by those things; I don’t relate to them. My queerness is my favorite aspect of my identity. What I’m wearing, the androgynous inspired make-up, and the sexual nature of the photos are an extension of my queerness. 

I was interested in exploring the contrast between a white, traditionally masculine subject and a subject who is genderless, unbothered by the rules of the binary. The photos speak to a feeling of not belonging, especially within the context of traditional American values. The narrative of the photos speaks to toxic masculinity and its need to destroy anything that threatens it.

Emi Ramos is a photographer based in Los Angeles. They are currently a studio arts major student at Pasadena City College. They have been taking photos for years, developing a style that is inspired by themes of identity and belonging.

Jessica Mehta

This still is from a poetry-performance piece in 2019 “emBODY poetry,” in which I write one of my poems on a non-professional “model” who inhabits a body typically hyper-sexualized and/or under-represented in the art world. I am Aniyunwiya (citizen of the Cherokee Nation) and the model in these photos is Black. Both of us are queer.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is an Aniyunwiya (citizen of the Cherokee Nation) artist, poet, and scholar. She is currently on a Fulbright Senior Scholar post in Bengaluru, India. Learn more at www.thischerokeerose.com.

Lukasz Leja

Pierwsi ludzie z gliny, 20x20inch, 2022
Valazquez move over, oil on canvas, 20x20inch, 2022

Lukasz Leja @lukaszleja is a New York City-based artist originally from Poland. Leja pursues figurative paintings, and the subject of his work is love and sex. He uses oil and paints on old canvases that he finds on the streets. As a trained architect, he creates geometrically pleasing compositions with live human bodies.

Maria P. Mudafort

These oil paintings are part of my new series ‘See, Don’t Believe,’ a sentimental, expanded landscape series that incorporates cultural icons, color emotion, gesture and texture. In ‘See, Don’t Believe,’ I exploit art history and the power of the icon in order to address aspects of cultural identity and nostalgia. My paintings are expanded, sentimental landscapes that deconstruct the traditional landscape genre. I intend to transform cultural icons into a cultural panorama that inspires identitorial reflection. ‘See, Don’t Believe,’ is my current, ongoing painting series, consisting of more than 10 oil paintings.

P. Mudafort is a contemporary painter from California (USA), and a graduate of the National School of Fine Arts in Mexico City. In her series See, Don’t Believe, P. Mudafort exploits art history and the power of the icon in order to address aspects of cultural identity. “I’m interested in deconstructing the traditional landscape genre, and transforming the icon into a kind of cultural panorama.”

Rachel Trusty

Rachel Trusty is an artist and educator currently living in Lawrence, KS. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Kansas where her artistic practice and research center themes of gender and materiality.

Tania Jazz Mont

I have been rolling my eyes at the dominant cultural landscape my entire life. I have felt excluded, dismissed, and confused. No more! Today I am proudly Latinx and queer. I don’t owe anyone an explanation of my culture, orientation, or gender, but I do so anyway because today I am prideful. My mere existence is a fuck you to anyone feeling uncomfortable over me or my Latinx and/or LGBTQIA+ community. I identify as non-binary, which includes gender fluidity, basically, I fuck with gender, and have been doing so my whole life. And although I fall in love with the person, not the gender, I am mostly attracted to women, and I have caught the perfect one, my muse and beautiful wife, Andrea. Please join me and enjoy my playful imagery, regardless of medium, I actively queer my Americana, which comes in a variety of shades and colors.

Mont received their MFA from CGU ‘11. Their artworks celebrate the underdog. Mont’s absurdist environments allow for challenging stereotypes and creating counter-histories. Mont is currently a professor at MVC, MSJC, and SBVC. When Tania is not creating, they enjoy spending time with their wife, son, cat, and pig.

William Krug

Through my work, I try to clarify my views on world events and culture,  while  aspiring to  irony and humor.  The “irony and humor” part seems to frequently evolve as camp, which I enjoy.

I studied art at the University of Wisconsin and the Harrington School of Design. I’ve held a variety of jobs over the years including working as a Psychiatric Nurse. Intermittently I’ve made  art as my circumstances allowed and lately I have more time on my hands. I live and work in Chicago.

Quel Hynson

These pieces serve as a viewpoint and exploration of becoming, coming out of the shadows of the work, out of the body of societal norms and embracing the uniqueness in being queer and labeled as other by the masses. It is here that I embrace change, growing pains, and surthrival (the concurrence of surviving & thriving).

Quel Hynson is a multidisciplinary artist from Houston, Texas. Her current work has been an exploration of how multiple mediums of art intersect by bleeding realism with abstract shapes and forms – utilizing both to tell stories, which explore the depths of human reality.