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Back in My Body

Dannie Esterline

oil on canvas

“As a young teen, I struggled with undiagnosed mental health issues, which plagued me through most of high school. My art did and continues to reflect my experience with mental health and the community surrounding it. When I first considered what my work would “center” around thematically, one of the easiest and most readily available inspirations was my experiences with what I now know is severe anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As a college student, I have combined my previous inspirations with my experiences as a Queer, Transgender, Nonbinary individual.

I often find myself looking back to the documentation of the AIDs crisis and other LGBT movements of the 1980s and how it affected and still affects the LGBTQ+ community. Within my painting and photography practices, I am especially fixated on photographs such as Nan Goldin’s color film documentation of Drag Queens during the 1980s, and Jess Dugan’s contemporary portraits of Transgender and Queer individuals. It is hard to find portrayals of people who look like me, so these portraits provide me with a sense of identity and inspiration for some of my own photographic work that pushes gender norms.

Finally, as a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I know that I see the world very differently. Painting, a medium I feel comfortable with and have worked with extensively since high school, often focuses on how I move about the world. I struggle with explaining how things make me feel, and often rely on the language of simile and comparison to explain these feelings and emotions to others through my paintings.”

Price: NFS
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