Oil on Canvas

22″ x 28″


Kaylil is a local from Cleveland, Ohio, who reached out to me via the web to express his fondness of my painting Love. Love is a painting about a transgender couple, and Kaylil is also a transgender individual, female-to-male. Kaylil agreed to pose for me and his androgynous look and strong personality was a perfect subject for my work. I created Him to reflect Kaylil and the transgender community. My interest in transgender people and communities is rooted in an effort to help raise awareness of the beauty, love, life, and struggle of transgendered individuals. The LGBTQ community has been fighting for equal rights for a very long time, and although tides are changing and acceptance and equality is growing, the greater public has not yet completely accepted LGBTQ people in every aspect.


Kaylil looks like any other person and yet he has still experienced discrimination. The power of images can bring about change in perception and opinion, both individually and communally. The power of Kaylil’s image has been immortalized in an effort to raise awareness and acceptance. I want people to see him as an individual and not as a trans man. His expression reflects his struggles—he almost looks like he could cry. Kaylil told me after our photoshoot for the painting Him that his biggest fear is not being able to live to be his true self. He just hopes the country can come together, that others can accept him and others like him.


My art is my contribution to society but it is also a way for me to be able to meet all kinds of people and to help them tell their stories. My art is a beautiful silent protest breaking down barriers one brushstroke at a time.