During my time at St. Lawrence, and thanks to my liberal arts education, I have been blessed with opportunities to expand my passion for different subjects through several capacities. The ability to focus on various subjects and find passion has allowed me to flourish in creative ways. Sophomore year was when I decided to become a studio art major. I knew I wanted to incorporate passions found through other classes into my work, and specifically my painting.
I am grateful to have experienced an immense amount of creativity during my time at St. Lawrence University, whether through small interactions with students discussing our favorite music tastes at the time, dancing to the bands at Java, or studying abroad and working as a personal assistant/assistant stylist at Tory Burch in New York City. I was enthralled with my time in such a creative, fast-paced environment in the city which contrasted with my slower, thoughtful moments painting in the St. Lawrence art studio and working alongside Professor Dane. All of these moments have contributed to the very unique creative experience I've had as a student at SLU.
Senior year, I decided to take on a gender and sexuality studies minor specifically because I felt I could contribute a better understanding of these subjects as a creative. At the start of my final year at St. Lawrence University, I wanted to finalize my time here by dedicating a year to this minor and learning as much as I could so I could confidently contribute to the world I will soon be entering outside the North Country.
In preparation for my final year, I decided to dedicate my summer to learning how to digitally print fabric. This very specific technique in fabric design is a technological advancement I found exceptionally interesting. I decided rather than focusing on an aesthetically pleasing perspective in my designs, I wanted to delve into a subject I knew would be slightly more difficult to translate into a single piece. This brings me to my piece: Expression in Oppressed Spaces.
The overall intention of Expression in Oppressed Spaces was to create a printed quilt that sheds light on individuals in the incarcerated LGBTQ+ population. I wanted to produce a piece that highlights how individuals in violent and oppressive spaces are woven into the broader LGBTQ+ community. The work incorporates aerial photos of incarcerated facilities, pride footage, and icons in the LGBTQ+ movement. Around the border of the print, I represent the 400 inmates in the K6G Unit in the L.A. Men’s Central Jail with black and white stripes. Printed on cotton twill to tie into the Aid’s Memorial Quilt, the piece is 6’ x 8’ to represent the average size of a United States prison cell.
I hope to contrast the lack of progress for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States incarceration system by celebrating figures that have done so much to advance the movement outside the system. The audio component of my piece is a poem written and recited by Marsha P. Johnson called “Soul” at Hot Peaches in New York City.
I am beyond grateful that my college search led me to a place that allowed me to do so much in four quick years. I appreciate the alumni network that has shown me what possibilities lie after these four years. Most of all I am grateful for the knowledge I am attaining in both the gender and sexuality studies department as well as the art department. The challenging subjects create a fascinating, cohesive, and collaborative academic experience.