The Queer Portrait Project tells the stories of people in the queer community in my paint and in their words. I am painting queer-identified people and having each person write a short bio to accompany the painting. I am painting people I know and people I don’t know. I am painting gay people, bi people, trans people, non-binary people, old people, young people, outgoing people, shy people, tall people, short people…queer people. I seek to illustrate the diversity, breadth, and variety that is the queer community. I like the thought of art used as a connection and a bridge in this tight-knit, yet also disparate community. We sometimes subdivide ourselves according age, race, gender, and class. I hope to show, in the most basic of ways -images and words- how art can be action for change. We have the power to strengthen and sustain each other: as queers, as artists, as people.

If you are interested in posing for the project, send an email to jen@jenclausen.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


20" x 16"

Hi. I'm Shirley. When my mom saw this portrait, she said that I looked sad and my sister said that I looked brave. Here's the thing: I was born and raised in Greenville, SC, home to Bob Jones University and more confederate flags than you can imagine. I spent a lot of my life being called a dyke and a faggot. I suppose my mom and sister are both right; I felt sad and brave at the same time. I learned to have a pretty stern looking at-rest face. So, this is me now: someone with a stern looking at-rest face who falls somewhere between a dyke and a faggot depending on the day. You can call me Queer. Or better yet, you can call me Shirley.

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