Lately, I have found that the figures in my art are starting to speak to me and have a life of their own, just like might happen with an author. I had an interesting thing happen along these lines.
Usually, when I need to draw a male figure, I take pictures of myself in male drag. First I draw what I see in the photograph, then go on to “masculinize” myself. I flatten the chest, broaden the shoulders, narrow the hips, square the jaw, and so on. I was all set to go through this process to create a piece that eventually became The Knave of Swords seen here. I used some binding to flatten my chest under my shirt. Then I realized I needed a new reference photograph of myself without the shirt on in order to understand the position of the shoulders.
That’s when the character took on a life of its own. Then I realized I had a treasure.
|©lesliepetersonsapp Untitled Drawing|
To learn more, this is a totally fun video about the origin of the word "Butch" and what it means. https://www.them.us/story/inqueery-butch
|©lesliepetersonsapp Circle Mirror Drawing|
From this experience, new pieces featuring butch women with binding have emerged. This one is currently called Circle Mirror, and I plan to develop this into a painting soon.
|©lesliepetersonsapp The Hanged Man Drawing |
To be clear, I know that as a cisgender female in a heterosexual marriage, I will never fully understand the experiences of a non-binary, or otherwise queer person. But I also feel drawn to respect the identities of my characters, as well as celebrate the myriad orientations and identities of the people in my community and beyond.