Artist Statement
Rainbow Toy Box Project ​seeks to challenge the heteronormative, machismo image of masculinity that society expects out of all men. I along with many other boys have been told“boys don’t do that,” “that’s not for boys,” “man up,” or any variation of the three. If it was not by the men in our family, it was by individuals who have their own belief of how a “man” should act. For them, this lack of manliness in our actions is what society has associated with homosexuality, thus branding us “not a real man.” Within this series of paintings, I present a version of masculinity that is more inclusive in the sense that it embraces queerness, and showcases qualities that would earn a man the title of ​sissy.​
I have chosen children’s toys as my subject matter because toys are a child’s introduction to what society deems acceptable for their gender. For instance, toys for girls are geared towards beauty, nurturance, and domesticity, while toys for boys encourage adventure, competitiveness, and violence. By using such innocent items, my paintings are appropriate for any audience, including children, but the symbols they contain evoke a deeper conversation for adult viewers. The toys embody heroism, strength, and grit in the forms of figures from the west, superheroes, and military vehicles. These are objects that praise masculinity and are popular among males.
My paintings are apparent in their connection with queerness as it relates to the LGBTQ community and the idea of deviating from societal norms. The paintings are intentionally painted in a somewhat monochromatic color palette and exhibited in a rainbow order to reference the most recognizable symbol of queerness. Along with the arrangement, the use of specific figurines and the staging of the figures in several of my paintings references homosexual slang and sex.
Since men are especially expected to be queerphobic, viewing my paintings is slowly teaching tolerance towards the LGBTQ community. By painting representationally, I am creating a reality that viewers do not have to imagine. I am allowing my viewers to witness objects that represent hyper- and sometimes toxic-masculinity being rebranded in support of queer identity.
"Light anti-air Vehicle"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
10 inches x 10 inches
2020
"A Bull and his Twink"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
9 inches x 12 inches
2020


"Initiation"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
9 inches x 12 inches
2020

"Thor and his Steed"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
16 inches x 16 inches
2020
"Tank and Soldier"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
8 inches x 10 inches
2020

"Soldier and Barrels"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
6 inches x 8 inches
2020
"Attack Helicopter"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
6 inches x 8 inches
2020
"Panzer"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
8 inches x 10 inches
2020
"Just Friends"
Oil on Stretched Canvas
9 inches x 12 inches
2020
Gallery130 Showcase 1
Gallery130 Showcase 2
Gallery130 Showcase 3
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