Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Art Blog Posts

I have recently published a series of blog posts on my art blog about spiritual themes in contemporary art. Check it out:

As contemporary society becomes increasingly multicultural, the exclusive nature of the church often isolates the modern worshiper, while simultaneously allowing the modern art patron to appreciate religious symbols in art from many cultures. The practice of organized religion is on the decline, and in its absense, many are turning to art.

The Sacred Experience in Art Spaces Part Two
Though it isn’t often discussed, spirituality was actually a major theme in the art of the nineties because artists used the body in a spiritual way.

The Sacred Experience in Art Spaces Part Three
Of all the contemporary artists working with spiritual themes, Bill Viola is in a league of his own. Viola creates emotional, painterly videos that reference birth and death, the natural elements, human expressions and relationships, and religious iconography. His work creates a humanist, or art based, spirituality. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Separation of Church and Building Codes

Rendering for the new MTC building courtesy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, via the Salt Lake Tribune.
The LDS Church is attempting to build a nine-story building in the Provo Missionary Training Center, and some neighbors are concerned about the building’s height. The story should not be newsworthy—as I have learned in my Boston Architecture class this summer, some neighbors almost always oppose the height of new buildings—but recently the Church used its ecclesiastical authority to help minimize the opposition, and that has made this an important story to follow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Make a New Beginning

I am many things--husband, son, brother, barista, writer, artist, humanist, former Mormon, homosexual--It's funny how something like a blog can pinpoint two of those many labels and make it seem to define my existence. For so long to the people who read this blog I am the gay man who grew up Mormon. The problem is as I get further and further away from Mormonism I have less and less to say about what it means to be a gay Mormon. So this blog gets updated more sporadically and gets fewer readers. It may be soon time to cut the cord!

I do have other blogs. is my blog as a husband, friend, and relative. I use it for occasional personal updates and pictures, and you are welcome to follow me there. I also have been using more and more. is my blog as an artist, and I use it post images and announce events and make goals. I will be updating it more frequently with thoughts about the things that influence my art (many of which are relevant to you fellow gay Mormons/former Mormons), other artists, work in progress, and new artwork. I invite you follow me over there as well!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Make it Better

13 Forest Gallery in Arlington, MA presents It Gets Better / Make it Better, a group show juried by Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director of the Griffin Museum in Winchester. The show presents work by nine artists from across the country. Initially intended to highlight issues of bullying and homophobia - both internal and external - the work in It Gets Better/Make It Better also deals with racial and gender identity as well as environmentalism.

I am honored to have four pieces in the show dealing with overcoming internal homophobia from my suit vs. tuxedo series. The work will be on display February 17 - April 1, 2011, with an opening reception this Thursday, February 17 from 7 to 9 and an Artist Talk March 17 from 7 to 9 pm. The work is for sale and a portion of the proceeds benefits P-FLAG.

Friday, January 14, 2011

But I'm Not the Only One

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I could get along better with people who I really disagree with. I'm trying to temper myself a bit and stop seeing things in left/right, right/wrong, us/them terms. I read a column today over at that really touched me and seemed to fit in with those thoughts. I thought I'd share.

When my Grandfather Learned I was 'Queer'
by John Corvino

A diversity speaker I know (who also happens to be a dear friend) is fond of saying, “People do the best they can with what they have.”

When I first heard her say this, my immediate reaction was, “Well, that’s obviously false.”

In fact, I still think it’s false. Some people make more of the hand they’re dealt than others; some put in considerable effort, others very little. Some, frankly, are just lazy callous bastards.

But I’ve come to understand that her aphorism isn’t best read as a description. It’s a guideline. When interpreting others’ actions—especially hurtful ones—adopt a principle of charity. They’re not trying to hurt you: they’re doing the best they can with what they have.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Think I Want to Marry You

If individuals have the right to choose their spouse, and if spouses are equal partners without different gender-defined roles, then gay couples have the right to marry. Many today -- including the Mormons -- do believe men and women have distinct roles in marriage, and therefore don't believe gay couples can marry, but as far as our society is concerned, these changes have already happened. Gender equality is a legal and social reality now, and so, therefore, is gay marriage.

There's a great editorial today making this point in the Washington Post:
Gay marriage isn't revolutionary. It's just next.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Peace on Earth, and Mercy Mild

Merry Christmas!

That's right, I am wishing you a Merry Christmas. I've been thinking a lot this holiday season about some of the religious symbolism behind Christmas. I'm not one who gets bothered or upset by it. I find a lot of beauty in it, and I see no need to replace Merry Christmas with Happy Holidays (nor do I see a reason to be offended if anyone else does).

One of our family traditions each Christmas Eve is to act out the nativity story. I was thinking last night about my future children putting on the skit with their future cousins. It is fun to see kids dressing up like wise-men, angels, and shepherds and putting on a show, and I'm sure they will have fun doing it. I don't believe in the virgin birth of God, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the tradition. For me, putting on a nativity skit is no different from putting on a skit about Rudolf the red nosed reindeer or Santa Claus. All are stories we tell children to share virtues we want them to develop. Santa Claus encourages children to behave and respect their elders. Rudolf reminds us to treat others who are different kindly.

The nativity too reminds us of virtues. It instills in us a sense of humility, and of awe and adoration for even those who might be overlooked, like a child. It also tells us of our potential as it reminds us that we all enter this world in humble circumstances as a vulnerable infant. Perhaps that is why nearly ever culture has a virgin birth story. Myths are universal. The fact that they don't represent actual or true history doesn't denigrate their significance or importance.

With myth, the facts don't matter. It doesn't matter that the census that brought travelers to Bethlehem happened in 6 AD, ten years after Herod (the same who supposedly reigned while Christ was born and ordered the death of all infants) died. Because Joseph, Mary, and Jesus aren't the people who really matter when we put on our play every Christmas Eve. The people that matter are the kids with the towels on their heads or the wire-hanger halos and our shared time together, and that's why we pass on the tradition.

So Happy Birthday Jesus, Sol Invictus, Horus, Mithra, Zoroaster, and of course the Sun, and thank you for giving us a reason to tell stories, learn virtues, and spend time together.