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, 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 tightknit, yet also disparate community. We tend to 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@paintpunk.com or see the facebook event:

Monday, May 28, 2012


Graduate school made me queer. Well, not exactly, although it happened during my time as a graduate student. It’s more likely that my queer identity is due to one of the following: 1) meeting my best friend who openly identifies as bisexual, 2) developing a serious crush on a woman that developed into a long-term relationship, 3) researching and teaching about LGBTQ people and ideas in my graduate program in psychology, 4) joining the queer acting scene in Madison, or 5) joining the LGBTQ Narratives activist writing group. It’s most likely that all of these factors made me queer. This approach to understanding how I became queer might seem rather analytical, but it makes sense considering that I wrote my dissertation on a similar topic. Suffice to say, however I got here, being queer is pretty central to my life now, and the queer community has become important for giving me this sense of self. I recently graduated and will be moving to Boston at the end of this summer. It is with some trepidation that I leave behind my first queer community, in the hopes of finding a new one in Boston that is equally supportive of me and of my queer identity. But I will always be grateful to Madison’s queer community for allowing me to fully become myself.

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