Installation of Twilight Inks at LMCC Art Center on Governor’s Island
Winter, 2023

My long-term project is to create 1000 ink paintings on 7x7” paper tiles, each depicting queer underground life before the Stonewall riots. I began the series in 2021 as a daily practice, inspired by research for a biographical screenplay about Carlson Wade, a literary agent and exposé author who lived a double life as a conservative firebrand and a fiercely discreet gay man in the 1960s. As a queer person raised in a homophobic environment during the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, fear also drove me to live a double life as I came of age.

Installation for Lift and Drag at Stephen Street Gallery, NYC, 2024. Photo by Stephanie Powell.

To this day, the pre-Stonewall era, commonly referred to as the Homophile Era, remains obscured due to the deliberate destruction of queer historical materials at the time. My research for the screenplay led me to various archives where I discovered a myriad of fragments from this hidden history. Using fountain pen ink with a brush, I began a daily practice of creating small paintings of queer individuals who lived in the shadows of society. Through this practice, I started to create a tangible connection to my queer ancestors who dared to live authentically in a world that sought to erase them. Each piece is an indelible testament to our Queer ancestors’ defiance and refusal to conform. I want everyone who sees this series to feel the same connection to our history.

With conservatives banging the drums of intolerance and pushing to vilify and outlaw our community, this project is not just about preserving history—it's about standing

 I've just hit the 200 mark with the goal of creating 1000 inks.

Adrian as Salome
Delisa Newton
Artist Equity Ball, 1960s
Jiro Onuma and Lover at Thule Lake Segregation Center, 1942-45
Jackie Curtis Smoking
Unknown model with rifle from His Handsome Is, 1970
Unidentified person
Lesbian house party, San Francisco
The Guru, Big Stick Magazine, 1970
Martha Shelley, Come Out Magazine, 1969
Unknown couple, NYC, 1940s
The Wanderer, Big Stick Magazine
ames Bidgood in Drag, Club 82, 1950s
Lorraine Hurdle and partner on US Military Base, 1940-50s
Gay Male Swinger, 1960s
Sugar, Lesbian Herstory Archives
Ruth Truth photo by Ken Duncan
Unidentified models
Unidentified model
Japanese drag performer, Hiroshi Maruyama, 1950s
Abby Sinclair
Mr Elegance at Mary Ellen’s Top Hat, San Antonio, TX, 1963
Police arrest drag artists, NYC, 1960s
Vaslav Nijinksi
Monticello Playhouse, Jewel Box Revue
Unknown model, photo by Avery Willard
Gina, 1960s
Unidentified sailor
Mario Montez arrested at Exotic Ball and Carnival of the National Variety Artists, Oct 1962
Avery Willard, self portrait, 1940s
Jinx Austin, 1965
Suzanna Valenti, Casa Susanna, 1950s
Drag Queen cocktail party, Lavender and Lace, 1960s
Ira and Joan, 1956, Lesbian Herstory Archives
Unidentified drag queen, 1960s
Stormé Delaverie, photo by Avery Willard
Toby Marsh, 1973
Unidentified men, NYC, 1950s
Gene Billbrew inspired vixen
Unidentified Female Impersonator and person kissing
Kicks Wild, Crazy Horse Saloon, NYC, 1960s
Making the scene, Drag Mag, 1972
Deena Grevis, 1960s
Female Impersonators Magazine, 1960
Unidentified drag queen arrest, 1930s-1940s
Bambi, Paris, 1950s-1960s
Jim in Disneyland, Go Guys, 1964
Lesbians with dog, Florida, 1950s, Bobbi Smith Archives
Jackie Shane, photo by JD Doyle
Shalimar, wig care, 1963
Tamara Edel Rees with new husband JK Rowland
Toni Lee, 1969
Unknown model from STUD magazine, 1968
Drag queen cocktail Party from Lavender and Lace, 1960s
Tony Winters, drag advice, Female Impersonators, 1969
Terry Durham at Carrousel Paris, 1950s-1960s
Baby at Lisa Style Ball, 1969
Print Ad, Female Mimics, 1968
Vice Squad plainclothesman Henry Jacobs arrests Lavonn Newton
James Baldwin, 1950s
Dave Rivers, Young Champ, 1968
Sailor Boy, Mel Roberts, Drum Magazine, 1966
Joey, Female Mimics, 1967
Gene Billbrew
Print ad, Drum, 1960s
Social Drag in DC, Drag Mag, 1973
Carlson Wade
Bobbi Smith, 1950s
Gay Circle magazine, 1970s
Unknown models, 1950s
Kim August
Tony, 1975
Chez Moune Paris Lesbian Bar, 1950-1960s
Coccinelle, 1960s
Ralph Kliener, Male Figure, 1968
Unidentified person
Doma, first time in drag, 1972
Randy Taylor, 1960s
Ricky Renee, Female Mimics, 1960s
Print Ad, Drum
Holli White
Virginia Prince on WBAI with Dr. Wollman. 1968
Minette from the film Flaming 20’s by Avery Willard
Kim (of Kim & Chrysis) 1968
Leslie Carrol at the Crazy Horse, NYC, 1960s
Unknown model, Stag Magazine, 1969
Stanley Meyer
Silvia, Letters to Female Impersonators, 1960s
Unidentified person
Gene, Fire Island, 1960s
Leather Daddy, Leather Men Magazine, 1960s
Pudgy Roberts
Gay Male Swingers, 1960s
Marlboro man, unidentified model, 1950s-60s
Print ad for Vagabond lotion for gay men, 1960s
Carlson Wade
Jewel Box Review, Monticello playhouse, 1960s
Dick Leitsch, Mattachine Society
Unidentified person
Bunny Lake, 1960s
Ray Hartl, Golden Boys II, 1968
Chico and Tobé, Jewel Box Review, 1969
Two, Canadian homophile magazine, 1964
Sonné Teal, Le Poupee
Diana Davis, Turnabout, 1964
Grecian Guild Pictorial, Friend to Friend Club, Roselle, 1960s
Unidentified model, Stag Mag #1, 1967
Marlo, Female Impersonators, 1969
Unknown at Falstaff Brewery, Arizona
Print Ad, Drum Magazine, 1968
Tommy Osbourne
Grecian Guild Personals, Pearl Harbor Veteran, 1960s
Deborah of California, 1972
Time Magzine Protest, Ellen Bedoz, 1970
Lorrainne Hurdle, 1940s
Article, Grecian Guild Pictorial, 1970s
Lesbian couple at Christmas party, Houston Texas
Pudgy Roberts
Anita at Casa Suzanna, Transvestia
Horny Owl, San Francisco
Suzanna Valenti and Virginia Prince, 1950s Transvestia #100
Unknown gay couple, 1950s
Barbara Gittings
Police break up National Variety Artist Exotic Carnival and Ball, NYC, 1962
Unknown erotica models, 1960s
Come Out Magazine, 1969
Carlson Wade
Picketing Grace Cathedral San Francisco, 1965
Mischelle, 1965
Gay Male Swinger, Boston, 1960s
Gay Swinger, 1969
Gay Swingers personal ad
Betty, My Opinion, David Magazine, Texas, 1971
Betty, My Opinion, David Magazine, Texas, 1971
Tytanic, 1940s
Coccinelle on stage, 1960s
Kicks Wild, Crazy Horse Saloon, NYC, 1960s
Mary Nell, Letters to Female Impersonators, 1960s
Mars Magazine, Valentine Card, 1960s
Cathy, New Trenns Magazine, 1970s
Unknown sailor, 1960s
CM of Paris
Vaslav Nijinski as Clown by Bettaman
Protest of Police for Killing of Frank Bartley, Berkeley, CA, June 1969
Sally Douglas, New Trenns Magazine, 1970s
Central Park cruising, 1950s
Unknown models
Amigo cover model, unidentified, 1964
Winston Alias, 1950s
Sonne Teal in Le Poupee by Jacques Baratier, 1962
Unknown people at an NYC drag ball, photo by Ray Kemp
Gay Swinger, 1970
Jacqueline, Letters to Female Impersonators, 1961
Holli White, 1960s
Avis, 1970
Gay Activists Protest City Councilman Saul Sharison, 1971
Queer house party, 1950s
Monte, Go Guys beach boy, 1964
Rock and Phil
New York’s Ms. Bebe, Drag Magazine, 1970s
Edwin Buffington and man Washington Sqare Park, 1950s
Johnny DeLeon and Bill Beardemphl, San Francisco, 1970
Henri Leleu, San Francsico, 1960s
Tavern Guild Trip, unidentified people, 1970s
Unknown model
Pudgy Roberts
Mario Montez by Avery Willard
Gene Billbrew
Minette in kitchen, circa 1960
Chris Moore, Club 82, 1960s
Annette, transvestite
Julian Eltinge, The Fascinating Widow
Unidentified Lesbian from Bobbi Smith archive
Avery Willard Birthday 1960s
Billbrew inspired
Butch Femme Couple at Mona Sargent's Club, San Francisco, 1950s
Painter Marie Poulain in Paris art studio, 1946
Georgia from PA, Transvestia #1
Edwin Buffington and partner, 1940-50s
Unidentified Black lesbian couple in cafe, 1950s
Winston Alias 1950s
Canid snaps of drag queens at Mardi Gras, Drag Mag,  1973 
Ted Gordon and Rita Butler 1958
Chris Ames_Letters to Female Impersonators, 1960s
Newspaper clipping
Tony Carroll, Mr. World, Queen’s Quarterly, 1970
Unidentified Drag Performer, NYC, 1960s
Unknown model, Magpie of California, May 1969

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