Bio: Teddy grew up in a small town in northeast Indiana. He earned his BFA in Drawing and Printmaking at Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. Teddy is an MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studying Print and Narrative Forms.
Artist Statement: Like many LGBTQIA+ people, I suffer from the feeling of shame that developed when society and religion pushed me to the fringes by labeling my sexuality as abnormal and morally inferior. Revealing the mental and emotional turmoil I faced allows strangers to see behind the labels that have been ascribed to me and other queer people.
By sharing my story I am inviting viewers to experience the emotionally challenging parts of being queer. Far too often LGBTQIA+ people are reduced to stereotypes allowing for our emotional and sexual complexity to be ignored. A simplistic understanding of queer people makes harmful ideas like conversion therapy appealing. Opening my story for public discourse allows for a more holistic understanding of the struggles of queer people.
Woodcut does not try to hide its process from the viewer. This forwardness causes me to return to it time and time again as it is the most direct way for me to share my story. A woodcut is made by attacking a woodblock with a gouge, allowing for the introduction of anger, excitement, or sadness in the carving of the image. The surface is then rolled and transferred to paper. A woodcut’s strong contrast and energetic marks can draw a viewer in from afar to investigate. A glance evolves into further study of the image.
Coming out to my mom was my biggest confrontation with shame. Anything my mom said at that moment had the potential to scar me emotionally. It took many sleepless nights before I had the courage to tell anyone that I was gay. I share my personal experience so that some might find comfort in knowing they are not alone, and those who are unaccepting of queer people might begin to question their prejudices.