God Made Me (And They Love Me)

Installation photo of a white-walled gallery with a tall ceiling and large window. A large pink breast with a yellow X across the nipple hangs from the wall onto the floor, made from a bright magenta pink fabric with textured pustules. To the right wall hangs a blue pinstripe bicep with a yellow heart-shaped nipple and leather stitching across the heart and bottom. Above hangs a pattern of white-to-green shift sequin angel wings. Above hangs a gigantic black and white cartoon eye, hanging above the window. A view from outside the gallery shows the installation through the window. The giant eyeball and cerberus figure are at street level. We see a transmasculine body pinned to the wall like a bearskin, with three Cerberus heads protruding from their waistline, blue dogs on the outside and a yellow knotted dog in the middle. Installation photo of the gallery at night. The bright light reflects a giant skinned cerberus figure in the window, with a giant eye sculpture blocking it's figure in the reflection.Above hangs a pattern of white-to-green shift sequin angel wings. A stair rail and concrete steps are present in the foreground.

Monsters are powerful symbols of transformative agency, heavily ingrained in Western culture. With transmutating creatures living rent-free in our collective imagination, I have to wonder: why is it taboo for queer people to transform? Just as LGBTQ+ activists reclaimed ‘queer’ as a radical identifier, I reclaim ‘monster’ as an uncompromising symbol of bodily agency.

A science experiment in my own right, my beasties mimic the conditions of my transition, from ‘coming out’ to gender confirmation surgery. Sutures become ladder stitches, tattoo’d decoration blooms as embroidery. From the sagging, pustulating breast to the uplifting Seraph above, the spectrum of dysphoria to euphoria broadens as you enter my monster mash.

Birthing my brood is understanding my body. Sculpting my form is self-love.

If this sounds like a B-Rate horror movie, good.

Thesis exhibition installed at Urban Arts Space . Columbus, OH (March 2021)

Click here to view the full Proximity exhibition online.

Clear view of TIRESAS and DIONYSUS, with light coming in from the street above onto the sculptures. Detail shot of DIONYSUS, featuring the hand-stitched leather X shapes and a white satin tush tag protruding from the sculpture's seam. Detail shot of TIRESAS, shot with the bulge of the breast in the foreground, and the end secured to the wall in the background. We see a braided leather rope securing the end of the breast to the wall, with a white satin tush tag protruding from the top seam. Detail image of SERAPH and CHROMA shot from below. The giant eyeball hangs to the right of the window, and the angel wings shine with lights directly hitting them. The multichrome sequin of the wings shine from a greenish-yellow, to cool pink, to white. Detail shot of CHROMA, at the top of the gallery wall. The leather form can be seen, with the cool white sequin showing a lilac hue at the edges. Detail shot of SERAPH. The leather side of the giant eyeball dominates the image, with sunlight from the windows coming in behind. Group shot of SERAPH, CHROMA, and CERBERUS, shot from below. Detail shot of CERBERUS. A white canvas trans figure is pinned to the wall like taxidermy. The figure has blue and white minky roses in their eyes, and has the X eyes and tongue out expression of a dead cartoon character. Top surgery scars and pink heart-shaped nipples adorn their chest. Their arms are splayed outward, curled downward in a form resembling a uterus and fallopian tubes. A white satin tush tag extends from their hips, where the blue dogs begin. Full shot of CERBERUS, shot from below. We see the full canvas figure, with blonde hair and long arms. Three dog heads extend from their pubic area, with two blue dogs facing outward, and the middle yellow dog facing forward. The yellow dog's neck is tied in a knot. The figure and dogs appear to be dead with X's for eyes and tongues out. They are pinned to the wall like taxidermy or an animal skin.

List of Works

Select documentation by Kristen Phipps