Friday, February 3, 2012

The Rainbow Connection / NEPO House

"This ain't my first rodeo, fellas!", 2010 by Joey Veltkamp
oil and rainbow on canvas, 48" x 48"

It's kind of like Groundhog Week over here because I'm opening another show this Saturday. Klara and I hung the The Rainbow Connection yesterday and I'm real happy with how everything turned out. 

I was one of those kids that was obviously born gay. My mother was just as confused as I was at our neighbor's concern for me playing out in the forest in my mother's discarded pink velour bathrobe. What? It's cold out there and a boy needs to keep warm. I had plenty of coats but none were soft and pink. 

I remember feeling so proud when kids used to say, "Joe's different from the other boys.". And then I remember that pit in my stomach when I realized, "Oh shit...different is bad?" My debut junior high outfit (only a gay boy could have a debut junior high outfit) of purple jeans, knee-high fringed leather moccasins with a furry blue sweater on top basically outed me years before I admitted it to myself. 

Ghosts (seeking comfort), 2012 by Joey Veltkamp
colored pencil, acrylic and rainbows on canvas. 22" x 22"

When the Wojnarowicz censorship happened, it kind of ignited the anger that was there post-Prop 8. Overnight, rainbows started inserting themselves into all my work, as if to yell, "Being gay is what made him good! You don't get to deny him that!" Which, of course, is exactly what I would go back in time and want to tell the 10 year old me. Keep being yourself, it will serve you well later in life. Because at the end of it all, our best attribute is our authenticity. 

Lighten Up, 2012 by Joey Veltkamp
bisque ceramic, enamel and acrylic, rainbows

I asked my friend Amanda Manitach, who shares my love of the rainbow/glitter, if she'd write an essay for the show. I think it's perfect and you can read it here. And thanks to Amanda and Artdish for being kind enough to reprint (pre-print?) it. And I'd like to thank Klara for allowing me to do a more personal, more experimental show.

The Rainbow Connection celebrates the weirdo in all of us. So this Saturday put on your pink coat, have a Jell-o shot (in rainbow flavors) and come dancing at NEPO House from 6-10pm. Or sit in the corner and be spellbound by Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, David Lynch's much maligned deconstruction of Twin Peaks.

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