I am a Queer artist-art therapist from the South Side of Chicago. My crafts are informed by my community-driven art therapy practice that intersects between art, art therapy, Queer theory, and activism. I use my art to redefine and question societal imposed gender roles through my embroideries, quilts, and handmade plush toys I call “Yarnies.” These artworks are soft and inviting, and even feel cuddly and intimate. The “Yarnies” bring the viewer closer to my work before the underlying message for Queer advocacy becomes obvious. This work expands definitions of masculinity and femininity to push viewers beyond binary thinking.
My art and research hold art therapists accountable for understanding Queer people's experiences from an intersectional lens and pushes art therapy beyond its narrow perspective on Queerness, one that is overwhelming white and cisgender. It is imperative that art therapists are aware of their ethical responsibility to work with Queer and trans people of color because they are vulnerable to discrimination and violence, both of which are increasing in their frequency and severity under a Trump/Pence administration.
My art therapy practice aims to bring the Queer community together through crafting. Together we create craft spaces that are communal, participatory, and open-ended. It is important to foster these spaces in art therapy in order to challenge the art therapy profession to reject dominant, heteronormative narratives reinforced by the Trump/Pence administration. Instead, we choose Queer inclusion in art therapy over the capitalist venture that is the Karen Pence art therapy initiative.
My work strives to broaden Queer representation through my art and in my art therapy practice including the sessions I run, the community art projects in which I am involved, and the Yarnies I create. I am committed to Queer advocacy in art therapy.