portrait of me, doing a breathing treatment
Recently in one of my support groups for trans folks, a young artist had posted examples of their work and was offering to do portraits of other members. By the time I got to the thread they already had at least fifty responses, or so it seemed. I didn’t really have any expectations, because so many portraits would be an overwhelming amount of work. I hesitated but have been struggling with seeing myself in a positive light lately so I went ahead and dropped that selfie and let them know that I thought they were quite talented, and would love to feature them here on my blog.
They said yes obviously because here we are, and to my great delight offered to do a portrait for me as well. Oh gosh. I was a little nervous, I won’t lie. What would I look like through someone else’s eyes? The answer to that question ended up being, completely awesome. It was powerful and moving when I saw that picture of myself for the first time. A picture without the filter of my personal baggage. Wow.
But that’s enough about me, and my experience. Let’s talk about Blake. Blake is a passionate, young, queer artist of color living in Florida. Some of the reoccurring themes in their art work include explorations of gender fluidity, self expression, and realism versus surrealism. Blake, who is clearly an artist on several different levels is also a jazz vocalist, choreographer, and is passionate about social justice.
When I spoke to Blake they were drawing my portrait and attempting to explain this stranger’s face to their ever curious toddler age cousins. The tenderness and good humor with which they related the conversation immediately won me over. (I’m a sucker for a cute toddler story)
“Hi my little cousins keep asking about you (2 and 6) what pronouns should I use?” they asked, “They keep looking at your picture, they are very interested in you… I just said that’s a person and they said, like me? I said yes, and they said, oh ok…. I love little kids”*
One thing they said that really resonated with me so strongly, that I find myself thinking about still was their saying,”…That’s one of the reasons I posted asking if people wanted pics, people deserve to be drawn! Nobody draws people like us and we’re BEAUTIFUL!!!”
Thanks for the reminder Blake, sometimes I forget how true that is. We are beautiful, and we deserve to feel that way.
If you would like to follow or support Blake in their artistic endeavors you can follow them on Instagram @fromasterflex, Tumblr: thefromasterflex.tumblr.com, or become a patron via Patreon
You can also support them by donating PayPal with the note “for Blake”
*messenger dialog edited for clarity and minor typos