Printmaking always involves a complex relationship between the process and the final outcome. The initial sketch is transferred to wood, then carved, then printed. Each stage will naturally bring about changes. In each piece there will inevitably be things that are lost and found in translation.
Sketch before carving
Woodcut in the making
Portrait of a mom and her boys
Progress on a woodblock for an upcoming collaborative show with Caitlin Connolly at the Writ and Vision Gallery in Provo.
The sketch before the cut. Drawn on a piece of pine plywood and sealed with a shellac varnish to protect the grain and the image.
People with stories to tell and voices to share.
I’m 20 years old. I personally identify as bisexual, with a male preference, but I came out as gay because it’s easier to explain to people.
I first noticed in 7th grade, but at the time I still like one of my best friends more than anyone, so I was very distracted by those thoughts until about 9th grade, so it was never at the forefront of my mind until I started catching myself looking at other boys and thinking that I might like them. The biggest impact on me realizing I really like boys was a girlfriend I had in ninth grade, and after we’d had our first kiss I kinda didn’t really like it. It could’ve just been because I actually didn’t like her very much, but I took it as a confirmation on my sexuality.
I never really had troubles accepting myself, which may be why I have an aversion to the phrase “struggling with same gender attraction”, to be honest. My thought process was just, “well, if this is how it’s going to be, then this is how it’s going to be”. I didn’t really see a point in stressing over something that was going to be there no matter what, so I just rolled with it.
That being said, other people being accepting towards me when I came out to them didn’t hurt either. It’s nice to know that the people you’ve trusted to tell about yourself are accepting. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve been blessed with very little grief. My grandpa doesn’t believe that I’m actually gay, but he’s kept it to himself… so I don’t particularly worry about that.
I often wish I’d come out as bisexual instead of gay, because that feels more true to me when I say it out loud, but it’s not too big of a deal. Being “out” is something I try not to let affect my day to day life, or what I do. Sure, it’s a good time to be flamboyant and act “gay”, but that’s not who I really am, so I don’t try to let that be my defining character trait.
Being accepted means being treated like a person. People saying “it’s okay if you’re gay!” And then being awkward whenever they’re around me isn’t being accepting, that’s just annoying. Being accepted is also in the little things people do. I’ve had people who would usually hug me as a greeting shake my hand instead after I officially came out. All I want is to be treated exactly how I was treated before people knew I was gay.
In today’s society, even though it’s a lot more accepting than the world used to be, I sometimes feel marginalized just by existing. A lot of people try to put members of the LGBTQ community down for just existing, and even though it’s not directed at me specifically, it still makes me feel upset. People sometimes discount us just for being a little different from them. I feel marginalized in a workplace, sometimes, by just one coworker specifically. He isn’t aware of my sexuality, and that honestly enables him to rant about how he hates gay people and how they’re attacking the sanctity of marriage even more. I tend to be able to laugh it off, but it’s a sad reminder of how many people actually believe that.
I do what I do to progress myself. By making myself a better person, I can not only improve my own life, but I can learn how to better help others in this life. This includes the teaching I do in my martial arts system, making money, and learning to work.
When I ask myself why I’m doing things, it’s ultimately to make me happy. That sounds selfish, but if you aren’t happy in this world, then you aren’t being your best self. But, being happy doesn’t just mean you’re focusing solely on yourself. You can find happiness through helping others find happiness as well.