I recently created this short video for the Courage Campaign’s Testimony ProjectTestimony seeks to create a map of stories from LGBT Americans and allies across the country.  In collaboration with partner organizations, and using the stories of the American public, Testimony seeks to show the shift in public acceptance of gays and lesbians as many equality cases make their way to the Supreme Court.

The artwork I’ve created throughout my life is an important part of my story, so I gathered a sampling from the archives (a.k.a. my parents’ basement) to include in the video. It was fun to look back on all of the older paintings I did as a child with the guidance of my mentor, Linda Regula. She taught me how to tell a story through visual art, and I've been doing that ever since.

Let me share a few here:

Snow White, age 4
I loved the Snow White story when I was a kid, and often imagined that I was the famed fairy tale princess. My rendition of “Someday my Prince Will Come” wasn’t a crowd pleaser though.
The Wicked Queen, age 4
As much as I loved Snow White, my favorite character from the story was actually the wicked queen. She was a true diva! 
Medusa, age 7
I became really interested in Greek Mythology around this time, and I was especially fascinated with Medusa because of the movie Clash of the Titans. Maybe it had something to do with Harry Hamlin in that short tunic. 
The Wizard of Oz, age 7
This was one of my favorite movies, and of course I give extra emphasis to the Witch.
Snowman, age 8
One of few forays into landscape painting, with some woodland friends to liven things up. 
Superman, age 8
Gotta’ love a man in tights, though when my dad shared the Superman movies with me in an effort to introduce more strong male role models, I’m sure he was disappointed by my proclamation, “Lois Lane is soooo cool! I want to be just like her!”
The Little Mermaid, age 10
I loved this movie and had a huge crush on Prince Eric. I wanted to wash up on some distant shore and have him rescue me. Thus, I related to Ariel’s sense of longing for the impossible.

Portrait of My Sister, Laura, age 13
My sister Laura is four years younger than me and even though we’ve always been complete opposites, we had a great relationship growing up. Maybe it was because she could give me all of her “girl” toys like Barbies in exchange for pick-up trucks and G.I. Joes. This is a painting of her after she had received her black belt in Karate. My only black belts come from department stores when I need something to pair with black shoes.

The Passage, age 15
I was starting to worry about what path my grown-up life would take, and I had this misconception that turning 18 was like going through a wall and emerging into a scary, grown-up world. 
The Weight of Decisions, age 16
This painting deals with the choice between being true to myself and changing/hiding aspects of who I was in order to fit in.


For all the "changes in attitudes", do you realy think we are ever going to have the same rights as straights? I don't and it it comes in the next 20 years, I will be dead so it will make NO diffrence to my life!
Paul Richmond said…
I hear you, and although I’m a rather impatient person who wants everything yesterday, I know that these things take time. I’m really encouraged by all of the gigantic steps that have been made recently, and especially when I look back on where we were pre-Stonewall. It’s pretty remarkable. I certainly don’t know how long it will take to achieve full equality, and whether or not it will happen during my lifetime, but I’m grateful to all the people who helped us get to where we are today. I feel it’s my job to keep pushing the cause further, not only for my own benefit, but also for future generations.
Paul, as if i didn't love your work already! Those early examples you show, wow... that's natural talent, and lots of it. What a gift. Also, didn't know about the ebay issue, but you so played that guy - especially loved his make-over! Hope that's the last you see of knock-offs (though that's, unfortunately, not likely these days.) Still madly in love with my cover art from "Possession." Best of luck with everything!

- Jessica

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