Betsy Stout

Betsy Stout is a simple trash person from the subrural cornfields outside of Indianapolis. She is currently living in Chicago where she puts fake frosting on takeout cups and eats donuts with her dog, her bakery coworkers, or by herself. She makes pictures, things, and cakes with pastel colors and hyper-effeminate imagery to challenge the status of ‘girly’ aesthetics, using languages of fluff and delicacy to address more complex meanings.

Website:

www.betsystout.com/

Project Statement:

I'd like to continue a project that has been in progress since late 2014, a series of large scale combination drawing/silkscreen works featuring self-identified effeminate males in the American Midwest. This project was launched with help from the Southern Graphics Council Undergraduate Fellowship in 2014, and so far I have been able to create and exhibit 4 portraits. Two more are in progress since the exhibition in April 2016. The current portraits and those in progress are slated to be exhibited at Butler University in the Spring 2017 semester.

The current works incorporate screen print, drawing, and sculptural acrylic ‘frosting’ to explore the physicality, fashion, sexualities, and performative expressions of these individuals who have found a way to express their alternative gender identities with pride in the fairly restrictive social environment of the midwest. This project currently focuses on individuals who identify as masculine-of-center, but who feel some pull towards femininity. So far this has included cissexual men, transmasculine and nonbinary individuals, and women who have identified primarily with a masculine presence. I work with pastel colors and hyper-effeminate imagery to challenge the status of ‘girly’ aesthetics in the hierarchy of taste, using languages of fluff and delicacy to address more complex meanings. The portraits celebrate bravery in identity but also frivolity, hinting at a post-queer world where gender identity is an aesthetic choice and no longer a political action.