Kellie Martin

Transcribed from a submitted video:

Hello, my name is Kellie Martin. I'm from Seattle and am currently a grad student at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. I also still currently work as the artistic director for Deaf Spotlight and have a degree from Gallaudet University, where I studied studio art and theatrical production. In my time at school, I worked on many productions as set designer, backstage crew, technical director—a lot of tech work.

In terms of studio art, I have a background in photography, painting, and creating murals.  The work I submitted for this exhibition is mostly digital art, as well as some painting. I wanted to paint more, but moving from Seattle to Savannah and starting graduate school means I don't have the time.

What I do have is strongly LBGTQ-related; almost all of my work is. I'm very involved in the LGBTQ+ community; I was vice president of the Rainbow Society at Gallaudet, have been an advocate, and have worked hard to create safe spaces within the LGBTQ+ community as well—I support open discussion. I've also worked in education related to domestic violence and sexual assault, including serving on ADWAS's hotline.

As for my work, I created these pieces last year by following LGBTQ+-related prompts; these three pieces proved to be popular among other participants.

"Liberation" is about breaking free; you can see the person suspended in midair among breaking chains. Specifically it's about coming out of the closet and being accepted by society: being able to get jobs, get married, and have the same insurance benefits as anyone else. It's about being loved and loving yourself, which I think is very powerful.

"Oppression" includes the middle-finger gesture composed of the letters of "FUCK YOU" in the colors of the rainbow. I have felt oppressed for many years; we have been discriminated against and even killed, with a wide range of different kinds of oppression in between. It's even harder for a deaf queer person, because various kinds of oppression can multiply.

The final piece is a painting of a female nude torso. It's one of my favorite pieces, but is, again, only one painting. I have others, but none of them seemed to work well with the other pieces within the LGBTQ+ theme; like I said before, I'd like to do more, but I just haven't had the time. It's a self-portrait of my own body as part of a process of self-acceptance. It's done in a beautiful, soft aqua color, and shows a body that's been through a lot of changes. Even if our bodies work fine, we don't always accept them—sometimes we gain or lose weight, get pregnant, or get sick—and we internalize that lack of acceptance as we look at ourselves, which affects how we interact with the world and how we view our place in it.

That's my submission. Thank you!