With the DollyPOP opening at World of Wonder Gallery only a few days away, I thought it would be appropriate to write a little bit about my love of the fabulous bewigged diva.
After watching “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” as a child, I thought I wanted to grow up and be a whore. I didn’t realize exactly what that meant, and when my parents pushed me to select a different career path, I decided instead that I would be Dolly Parton. For a young boy in conservative surroundings, this was not an acceptable aspiration either, but I was drawn to the flamboyant entertainer because of her over-the-top persona and seemingly abundant self-confidence.
As a child, I struggled with my desire to fit in, all the while knowing that I was very different from my peers. I saw in Dolly a kindred spirit, someone who chose an offbeat path and made it work. As I grew older, coming to terms with my homosexuality proved challenging. I wanted to make my parents proud, but I felt that I couldn’t do so and be true to myself.
As Dolly channels her emotions and experiences into her music, I learned to do the same through painting. At 12, I decided I wanted to meet my heroine, and through persistent correspondence with personnel at Dollywood, I was able to briefly meet Dolly and present her with a drawing. The experience was a milestone of my young adult life and helped me learn that I could set goals and make them come true.
Today, I use my work as a means to document and share my experiences coming out of the closet and finally accepting myself. While I may not fulfill my youthful ambition of “being” Dolly any time soon, I hope through my artwork I can help spread some of the bright, sparkly, positive energy that she has generously shared with the world.