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, April 17, 2012


People often talk about how small the queer community is, mostly like it's a bad thing. But I love being a part of the queer community! Realizing I was queer was one of the best things to happen to me. Not only because I got to stop pretending to be something I wasn't, but I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. And isn't that what we all want? You don't hear straight people saying, "Oh, I have such a sense if belonging with the straight community," because it's the norm. Queerness aside, I never saw myself as part of the mainstream. It just seemed so...boring. And too many people there. I found conformity unsettling, which is why I sometimes wonder how much of my queerness is chosen or innate. Which came first- rejection of the majority or being gay? It doesn't really matter. I just like being a part of a community where social networks are constantly intersecting, yet new people are coming in. I love that there are so many events that give me the chance to identify as queer, along with something else- queer and writer, queer and performer, queer and athlete, queer and activist, queer and social. I like having this common link that joins us together. I guess it makes sense that I am currently working with queer youth to both cultivate their own community, as well as acquaint them with the adult queer community. I love this community and I am committed to ensuring its existence for future queers.

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