Charlie Buxton

My work uses deep sea creatures painted in an expressionistic style to show the alien in relation to being transgender - through my own personal experience. Both relating to the experience of how others may perceive you and your body, as well as through the internalisation of that through perceiving yourself. I use the deep sea in particular because it contains a collection of different species that stayed in their environment for hundreds if not thousands of years - greatly differing our own development as a result. The types of sea creatures most commonly presented include dumbo octopuses, vampire squids, jellyfish, eels and sharks. Most of which live in the endless depths of the ocean - often with aspects of space. I paint these animals to contrast the difference of their bodies from our human bodies. They lack features we often use to relate to animals - such as eyes, ears, noses. Overall, in their biology some creatures have arms, some don't - organs are placed in different spaces, or an animal may have multiple of what we only have one of - if they have those organs and body parts at all. This work is targeted for the most part, towards a cisgender audience to help understand the transgender experience - however they are also meant to be empathic and celebrational pieces to other transgender and non-binary individuals. This work is particularly important to me given the rise in conservatism in my country, pushing an anti-trans narrative to stigmatise, alienate and criminalise transgender bodies through legalisation. So, these paintings that present the bizarre and extreme are my way of critiquing that worldview, so that the people that hold it have less power within our society. My work is inspired by other queer and transgender artists - including Agnes Questionmark - who also aim to link the alien and otherworldly to queer bodies.