I use design, illustration, poetry, performance, and media-making as inspiration to create services, merchandise, and experiences that help Queerdos & their comrades affirm, celebrate, and honor our fabulously unique beliefs, bodies, and beings. I strive to contribute to a sustainable, artful, intergenerational, and hope-filled world where our ancestors, elders, siblings, and children are thriving. My home, which physically resides in San Francisco / Yelamu, appears virtually anywhere and everywhere.
This role solidified itself when, after my father's diagnosis of mantle cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in January 2019, I was called into the role of Storyteller of My Dad's Cancer, Transformation, and Death. During the last five months of his life, my dad and I wrote open letters to each other intimately detailing how we have healed our fractured relationship, expanded our understanding of the Cosmic Mysteries that are greater than our Catholic origins, and revealed how we both were violently bullied for queerness during our middle and high school years. These letters and my sharing of them are alchemy that continues healing wounds caused by systemic poverty and violence.
I was able to step into my role as Storyteller because in 2018 I transformed My Life into Art through a year-long project called Be Jason, which opened on October 24, 2018, at Black & White Projects, a Black-run gallery by San Francisco-born Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen. Be Jason was a fully immersive experience inviting audience members to inhabit and explore what it means to consensually be someone else. Through four different stations, each embracing a different artistic modality, the audience could map, read, make, or become me. The result was a chaotic, overwhelming, and emotional experience of presence, being, and identity that completely transformed the gallery and all within it from floor to ceiling, toe to head, wall to wall, body to spirit.
Past installations, performances, and exhibitions that laid the foundation for Be Jason include #StickyQuestions (a 31’ x 3’6” double-sided, interactive sticker mural on the corner of Larkin and Grove) for the Asian Art Museum with Celi Tamayo-Lee and Mary Claire Amable over 2017, Shadows of Violence, Echoes of Healing (an 8-hour durational, site-specific performance taking confidential confessions of times people harmed others and transforming them into a sound healing piece) at Artist Television Access in November 2016, Confessing Desire (a 25-minute interactive performance using confession, I Ching, and poetics to reveal audience members sexual desires) with This Is What I Want Festival at CounterPULSE in 2015, and #WhereDoYouBelong Project (a multi-year, multimedia investigation into belonging with people facing evictions or fighting to stay in San Francisco) with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, The Mix @ San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco Youth Commission, California Academy of Sciences, Bay Area Video Coalition, Ninth Street Independent Film Center, and the San Francisco Tenants Union from 2014-2016. My visual art includes exhibitions at Black & White Projects, Southern Exposure, Ingleside Gallery, SOMArts, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and numerous cafes, pop-ups, zines, and digital publications. All embrace revealing vulnerability, inviting curiosity, and celebrating All That Is Queer In All Of Us.
I officially co-founded Queerly Complex with my husband, John O’Reilly, in September 2021 after almost 15 years of development. Queerly Complex initially started shortly after our wedding in July 2007. It was a blog to document my queer life, and I could only launch it because of John’s unconditional support. In 2017, John and I started dreaming of making something together as a way to deepen the bond between us. It took the pandemic to kick our ass into gear and start prototyping an online shop for my visual work.
Now, thanks to our collective effort and the support of numerous comrades (shout outs to: Crystal Mason, Midori, Tray Smith, and Ash Tré Phillips) Queerly Complex is becoming a platform for Queerdos to find services, merchandise, and events that help you feel, explore, express, and live your radical beliefs and complex emotions, all with a splash of pink.