This is the Winter 2017 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.
My self portrait is centered around the idea of erasure. With black paint, the material that I use most often in my work, I painted over the areas in my self portrait that identified my gender. The image that I painted over is one of me standing proudly in front of one of my installations, claiming ownership of it, and proclaiming myself as the maker of the work. When making this installation, a lot of physical labor was involved, heavy lifting of objects and reworking of space, which made me think of my role as a woman making this work, and how physical strength is not usually associated with women. This gave me the idea of re-working my self portrait, erasing all of the identifiers of my gender, to resist being understood or labeled as a particular gender. This is something that I have been thinking about a lot recently, and how I am interested in resisting being labeled a particular gender in everyday life, and not only in my work. But I am also interested in resisting gender in the art world. As an active artist who is involved in the art world, I don't necessarily want my gender to inform my work. This is why I painted over the elements in this photo that didn't need to be taken into account, and highlighting the information that was more important. I want my work to be looked at and taken into account, not my body.