29 May 2013

I Love You


When gay people fall in love it’s pretty much the same experience as when straight people fall in love. You know the feelings: euphoria, lots of energy, a little bit “high,” you think about that person all the time, and it’s mixed with anxiety about whether it will last or not, or wondering about what the person thinks of you. It’s a roller coaster ride and it’s intoxicating. When you’re in love with someone, being together seems like the most natural thing in the world, like it was meant to be.


I think that it’s hard for straight people to fully understand the struggle that many gay people have in reconciling the exhilarating and precious experience of falling in love with the hostile messages in our society. I often turn to language in my art as a kind of testimony of what is. The language we use can tell us so much about ourselves. The words in this piece are all words that have been used to describe homosexuals in the past 50 years or so. And there are plenty more. I just chose a few that I’ve heard and considered.

When I fell in love with my first girlfriend, I knew without a doubt that it was love. I had all the symptoms. But it was 1974, and I had no language to describe the fact that we were two girls. I looked for language and what I found was so harsh and unappealing. I didn’t like the word lesbian. It sounded like something from a medical dictionary. And the other words were slurs. So we didn’t describe ourselves as anything other than ourselves -- two people who loved each other. And we hid. That’s what you do when you expect that people will hate you or worse for who you are.

I'm not going to argue that these words are so-called hate speech. I’ll leave that to the lawyers and politicians to handle. But these words express prejudice. And prejudice separates us from love.

I love you.

♥ Annie

14 May 2013

Class Picture


Still working on the introductory section of my book God Is Our Witness -- the loneliness and alienation chapter. My own loneliness as a child was partly nature, as I'm an introvert, but also nurture in that I grew up living on the grounds of a state-operated school for delinquent girls. Nobody wants to live next door to what is basically a prison for children, so the facility was located in a remote / rural area in upstate New York. My father was the director of the school, and both my parents were trained social workers. They knew that my sister and I could easily become "institutionalized," so they made every effort to take us to events, play dates, etcetera, but I always felt jealous of kids who lived in actual neighborhoods and could just walk out their door and find playmates.


I was not as moody and glum as the child I've pictured here, but I think many LGBTQ youth can identify with this feeling.

Technically, this is a simple print. I used two blocks, one for the background and one reduction block for the child, and just four color applications.

Next there will be a couple of transitional prints leading into a new section of the book.

09 May 2013

Hell Is Not Hot

In case you haven’t been following along with my latest posts, I’m working on a series of prints that will be bound into a book, called God Is Our Witness. Although a lot of my work is loosely narrative, it’s different to work with an actual book in mind. I have only a vague outline as I proceed, and I know already that some of the prints I’ve made since January will not actually make it into the book. But I’m just going along with the flow as it appears to me and I’m looking forward to being surprised by the ending.




These three prints were made as a group. If you look closely you can see that the background and snow pattern are the same in each print. I made 24 impressions of the basic background, then made 3 different versions of forest and figure combinations. These three prints will be scattered throughout the first section/chapter of the book, which is basically focused on alienation and loneliness.

My mother made a comment to me the other day expressing worry that I'm working with this topic, dredging up old pains and sorrows. I understand her concern, and in fact it hasn't always been comfortable for me, but as we all know, the story of being gay in America at the turn of the 21st century is an “It Gets Better” story. You can’t tell an “It Gets Better” story without the bad part or else there’s nothing to get better.