Creative works hang in “The Student Salon Exhibit” currently on display at FTCC through Dec. 14. They depict what an artist saw or their own interpretation of a theme. However, a group of paintings stands out on the left wall in the gallery – not just for their size, but message.
The portraits are the first completed in a series called “Repressed,” painted by student Angela Stout who lives in Broadway. When Stout completes the series, it will show eight portraits of people who identify as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer). Each portrait will include a single color. The colors represent a strip from the original rainbow flag, a common symbol in gay pride movements.
“The ‘repressed’ is the black and white, and the color is them [those painted] shining through,” Stout explained.
Stout has painted three portraits since May. The portraits mix the colors black, white and gray. A vibrant strip of color cover their faces.
A transgender man. In his portrait, a single tear drop snakes along his right cheek. He took the photo after a night out in Washington, D.C. after he met a girl who was interested in him. When he got home, he cleared his Facebook page of any reference of what he was born as and stared in the mirror. Stout said for Ian, that was the first time he or anyone else saw him for who he was – a man. He cried. He took a picture. Stout recreated Ian’s picture for her series, adding a blue strip over his face.
Ian who’s featured in Angela Stout’s series “Repressed.”“I had them take selfies of themselves in a moment intimate to them,” Stout said. “Some of the people in the series are students at FTCC.”
She identifies as a “lesbian stud.” She gazes left, thinking about a decision she made. She had to choose between the love of her life or her military career before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy that barred service members from being openly gay or lesbian. Jerrica chose her career and in doing so, lost the chance at being with a woman she loved. A thick, strip of bright pink covers the top half of Jerrica’s face in the portrait.
Stout relates to Jerrica. She, too, hid her sexuality while serving in the Army for five years. During Stout’s service, she painted murals, patches and decorative works on military bases. Her works hung in colonels offices or covered gymnasium walls on bases. Stout said she was 16 years old when she realized art was her calling. She has created at least 300 projects.
“Art is where I felt at home, and who I am as a person can come out in,” she said. “I watched Bob Ross as a child, and I believed him when he said anyone could paint. I’ve enjoyed oil painting and acrylic painting but now, I’m a portraiture who likes graffiti/art style.”
A portrait included in Angela Stout’s series titled “Repressed.”
Stout has a personal attachment to the series. She wears more relaxed clothing. Sneakers, looser shirts paired with short hair. She recalled walking into a women’s bathroom one day at an airport in North Carolina. A woman said there was no way Stout was a woman, just because of how she dressed.
“I said, ‘Do you want me to show you my ID that I’m a woman?’” Stout remembered. “People try to put you in a box. This series is to show that being gay is who you love, not who you are as a whole person, but a part of who you are.”
She also credits her instructors at FTCC with helping her create art that’s not surface level. “Repressed” is similar.
“I’ve seen so much growth with myself, from creating something less thought out to digging deeper into myself,” she said. “Humanity is a rainbow of colors, and differences are what makes us human. How boring we would be if we were all the same color on a palette. A crooked nose is more fascinating to me than a straight nose.”
To see more of Stout’s works, visit here.