This is the Winter 2018 course discussion blog for and by UCLA students enrolled in LGBTQ Studies 183: Queer Arts in LA.
This course includes a creative component. When this course was first offered during the Fall 2012 quarter, the students researched queer artists who have a significant connection to Los Angeles. Then created a collaborative website.
For my self-portrait, I wanted to centralize my theme around the colorful individual nature of sexuality and desire. I also wanted to draw on my "Queer as Style" Poster to play with the use of color to and stylization to create highlight this individualistic nature. I felt that in this being a self-portrait I had to consider the ways in which I stylize and color my desires. The wig worn in the portrait has a lot of energy and meaning for me. After two years of hair growth I decided to get individual colorful braids and fell in love with my new hair. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I wanted it to last forever, and as this was not my first experience with braids I knew this was not possible. This past November I made the decision to cut each braid at the root and make a wig with some still tightly braided and some unraveled. This wig connects me to my belief in queer stylization, and that exploration in your ideas is the only way to further understand yourself. In terms of desire, I am an expressive and often performative person and I therefore thought to have this feeling of ecstasy in my portrait. However, as mentioned eloquently my by Shane in his self-portrait description, I am aware of my male presenting body. The intention if the nipple tassels is to lighten that intensity and weaken any sense of hyper-masculinity. The result is a playful, colorful, and layered presentation of my sexuality as an example of stylized desire.