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Art by Daniel Gonzales
Untitled (Self-Portrait) Acrylic paint and Sharpie on wooden block and parchment craft paper
Nikon D70, 1/20 f8 ISO 400
Natural illumination supplemented with halogen work lamps
|When I was growing up, being gay was never presented as a valid way to live my life. I found myself needing to unlock my sexuality which was a totally different type than what the world was offering and expecting of me. I was left confused, holding my sexuality, unsure of what to do with it.|
The number used for the “combination” is the date on which I first came out to my mother, telling her I was gay but wanted to pursue ex-gay therapy.
Photography by Gregg Moreland
|From a very early age, I knew that I was different. I somehow thought different, communicated differently, and saw the world from a different perspective. As I developed, I realized I was left handed, I had to wear eyeglasses from a very early age—these were visual cues to everyone that I was different. And, as I got older, I discovered I was gay. I just wanted to be ‘normal’. I wanted to find a way to change everything that was different about me. I lived many years ‘under the radar’, in a self-imposed social exile, in an attempt to not be noticed—to not be ‘found out’.I grew up in a Church of Christ and attended a Mennonite High School. Through some literature I received as early as Junior High, I discovered several groups that appeared to promise to help people change from being homosexual. Several years later, after exploring ex-gay ministries and participating in a weekly group program for a while, I determined that I can’t change. But also, I discovered that God doesn’t necessarily want me to change. He wants me to be happy. He wants me to love Him and love those around me. He wants me to see the beauty of everything around me.|
I’ve long photographed the things I see around me, but since I never had any lessons in photography, I never thought I was very good. A few years ago, however, I discovered that I was able to communicate things through my photographs that I couldn’t communicate in words. I finally found a way to help people understand the world that I see from my perspective.
Many of my photographs show doorways, passageways, or bridges. I’ve seen that this represents my long desire to find a portal or passage out of my world into the world of everyone else—into a world of freedom and understanding.
Art by Michael Goll
I Think They'll Be OK
This is a stencil piece, which was one of the scenes from my larger painting. The mini story behind this painting piece is one where gay men can have a happy ending. So often I see gay couples breaking up or drama amongst them. I grew up in a home where committed love was all I know; naturally I want this same thing for myself. And so this piece got made to remind others, and myself that committed love is possible for all.
It can be a scary thing to leave your home and go off into the real world. Similarly it can be a scary thing to come out of the closet. There’s a naïve feeling of safety that comes from trying to be straight. But holding onto that false security never will bring you all the freedom that God intends you to have. The bittersweet farewell is saying goodbye to stereotypes and lies and instead trusting that God made you special just the way you are.
I wanted to make a story about my life’s journey, so I decided to do that by making painting that also worked as a timeline. This painting is quite large, 8’ by 2.5’ so it helped me do just that. With each green man you see in the sequence comes a story. The main green guy goes through six stages including: bittersweet farewell, do you know what its like, keep trucking on, where is he, woo hoo, and I think they’ll be alright. In my story the boy leaves his safety net oh home to go out into the real world. The boy finds that fate has delt him a cruel card, everyone seems to be able to find a companion in life, but not him. The boy continues on his journey too what seems to be the end of his road. Its then that he sees another guy like himself and so he runs of the traditional trail to meet him. Because I’m a sucker for happy endings I painted to two walking hand in hand into the distance towards the city ahead.
I made this painting to my future husband, “again I’m a hopeless optimist”. There’s an old Bossa Nova song called “She told me she told me” that I used to play over and over. I imagined my future spouse and I dancing to this song under some lights in the night sky. The painting shows “Mr. Right” waiting for me to join him doing just that.
Michael Goll ("Smiley Spidey")
You can read Michael's full story here
Art by Jason T. Ingram
House of Prayer For All Nations
Oil on canvas with sharpie markers, Spring 2005
This is the first painting I did in the program, and it was taken from a mini-vision I had during a time of prayer/worship in the chapel. As harmful as Pure Life Ministries seems because of my story, there was a spiritual intensity that seemed to produce spiritual results and experiences in some that press in to God. This was one of those times. Before meetings in the chapel, we were to all be quiet for over fifteen minutes and read our bible if we wish. These times were a great way to get into the peace of the Lord. As I saw this picture of a man praying that represented four people groups in the earth ("red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight..." Native American/Latino, Asian, African/Australian Native and Caucasian) and this seemed to represent how the message of Christ is for all people. Notice the bowls, because bowls of incense represents prayer (like in Revelations and the Psalms).
Oil on canvas with sharpie markers, 2005
I really felt like Jonah that year. I went the wrong way in life, and God ended up using my wanderings to accomplish the next phase in my life and ministry. Notice the cross near the bottom. There is a lot about death and resurrection in this story. Jonah was the only prophet that Jesus identified Himself with (in the deep for three days and nights and coming back). Also notice the dying wheat as Christ stated in John 12:24, and the flowers growing out of the dead seeds. Jonah was truly one of the most potent revivalists in Old Testament history.
You can learn more about Jason's ministry and story here.
Art by Alex Resare
Art by Christine Bakke
This is what I felt like all the time when I was trying to hide from myself (not to mention everyone else) the fact that I was a lesbian. I drank more and more during those days, and this is me hungover and miserable.
I did this drawing of me with a "happy face" mask. Later I did a similar oil painting of me removing the mask from the closet. The mask in the painting has tape over its mouth.
Coming Out (Subtitled "Horror")
Oil on canvas, 1994-1995
This is the painting I did shortly after coming out to my parents. I still felt so much horror and shame about what I was. For a while, I'd have this internal battle every day "No, it's not true — Yes, it's true."
To Half Moon Bay
Oil on canvas, 1996
After I quit drinking, came out (interesting that I didn't need to drink anymore once I came out) and started accepting myself more, my paintings were less introspective, lighter, and many were of my favorite spots along the Pacific coast.
Digital Art, 2007
There is about an 8-year gap in my artwork, corresponding with the time I began my ex-gay journey. I stopped almost all creative expression during that time. This is a current piece of digital art that I created while thinking about the many different ways that GLBT folks connect with Spirit and find their spiritual home.
To Seek and Save
Mixed Media, Collage, Altered Art, 2007
Looks at my move to Colorado and some of my time as an ex-gay
Mixed Media, Collage, Altered Art, 2007
To read more about the meaning behind this piece of art (it relates to the damaging ex-gay concept that women need to avoid close relationships with other women for fear of becoming "enmeshed") you may read this blog entry I wrote.
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The Broken Image
Mixed Media, 2007
For those of you who read The Broken Image by Leanne Payne, or who were fed the notion that our sexuality or gender identity were broken, this piece of art is for you. For all those years that you were taught to see a broken image....perhaps it was only the mirror that was broken.
How about you? Would you like to share your art? We'd love to see art that relates to your coming out, your ex-gay experiences, your re-coming out, or your current life as a former ex-gay.
Let us know if you're interested in sharing your art with the BXG community.