Grab Art by the Pussy

Grab Art By the Pussy was a group art show accompanied by performances to raise money for Planned Parenthood. I created a series of paintings, stickers and a special edition reprint of my "Pussy Praise" T-Shirts and an emergency resource card.

Artist Statement for the paintings: 

These new works came from me trying to be responsible for my own past, current and future sexism. I was brought up as a very conservative evangelical. My respect level for women was very limited. I was taught that women are weak, that they need to be protected, that they need male guidance and all major decisions needed to be made by men. If they were not, then it was a horrible sin. Seeing women in important leadership roles was evidence of that sin. This type of sexism was taught to me every step of the way. From the bible blaming women for the beginnings of sin in the garden of eden, to the renaissance era prints hanging in the church. My entire youth and young adult life was about avoiding the sins that would keep me separate from the creator.   

These beliefs, that were apart of my core beliefs, kept women marginalized. My mother, for example, is a wild soul but is under the pressures of sexism and doesn’t not have a lot of agency of her own. All of her decisions had to be run through my father. She wasn’t allowed to take any meaningful leadership roles outside of things related to children. I saw a woman as something that was a component of what it looked like to have a good, godly life. Not as a collaborator, not as a profound witness and backbone. 

I left the church and didn’t know exactly how to describe the pain or what the sense of absence was. It took me a long time to try and find the parts of myself that I liked. I have always been a man who is more expressive and more feminine. I would wear pastel colors to church and have people question me, I would talk in a way that was not considered manly, I would feel emotional and be told that my problems were because I didn’t have enough faith. The church would put on plays where we would spend hours dressed as knights, walking and talking in a “manly” way to make sure that boys became men. 

I eventually found new friends, friends that were more accepting and actually liked me or who I was. The more I was ok with my femininity, the more I felt powerful, the opposite of what I was taught. I became more empathetic, passionate and invested in my community and the forces and structures that constrict. The Sexism that I was taught was not only detrimental to women but been internalized to hate a part of myself. I now have a new abundance rooted in the feminine. The energy that has given women the power to persist beneath the heavy weight of not being heard, valued and systematically treated like a second class human. The feminine energy has showed us what love really looks like to love. Giving when it’s not easy. 

I can not fix the past, though I feel a tremendous amount of grief for it and for my mother and other people who still lives under severe sexism. What I can do, is use my new found inner abundance to change the things that I can not stand for. That does not mean taking up feminism and showin’ them how it’s done. It means supporting. It means checking in. It means men, especially white men, need to fucking listen and be ok with being wrong. It means talking to other men about these issues and leading by example. The elevation and collaboration of women and the divine feminine is what’s going to allow us to be our fully human and start a true revolution.