“I began ‘Transportraits’ when I came out as TransQueer in 2008—a time before the proliferation of trans representations we see in dominant media today (for better or worse) and before any kind of ‘tipping point.’ I felt the need to create positive representations of trans-masculinities and to address the false notion of gender as ‘natural’ and the myth of US American masculinity—rooted in the conquering of ‘the West and Manifest Destiny, and mythologized in late nineteenth-century painting. I thought to myself, ‘How better to conjure and critique the sublimity of the landscape than with Bob Ross paintings’?!?! I followed instructions from Bob Ross’s ‘The Joy of Painting’ to create my first oil paintings, each of which would serve as a unique backdrop for the thirty portraits in the series.
My sincerest gratitude extends to all the people who graciously gave their time to sit for a portrait and courageously lent their likeness to this project. Although trans existence is not safe and it is not easy (although, make no mistake, it is filled with its own joys and delights), the people who are presented in these portraits made a decision to be out. It is because of this willingness that ‘Transportraits’ can contribute positive representations of trans existence in a cultural climate lacking these affirmations.”
Lorenzo Triburgo (American, born 1980). Valley Waterfall (Erin), from the series Transportraits, 2008 (negative); 2011 (print). Pigment print. Gift of the Artist in honor of Terry Toedtemeier, 2011.46 © unknown, research required