As the seniors at CVHS proceed to completing their last year of high school, the seniors in the AP art class have also begun to complete their final pieces of art to showcase at the art show on April 11. One of the artists who had the honor of displaying art pieces is Vann Jones, whose art revolves around a very interesting and controversial topic in today’s society. Jones’s artwork describes the complexity of gender and how femininity and masculinity is expressed in each of us.
“As a transgender man, the concept of gender has alway troubled and interested me. Throughout my life, I’ve discovered that gender is so much more complex than the traditional gender roles presented to us by society. A history of misogyny and homophobia has lead us to develop a stigma around expressing femininity. Men are worried about being seen as gay or weak, and even women are fearful of losing respect or not being taken seriously for being seen as ‘too girly’ or ‘too butch.’”
Jones beautifully displays the different aspects of masculinity and femininity in his art.
“I took different people and represented their femininity and masculinity with beards and flowers, each individual and special to who they are. For example, the green square shows my friend Rebecca. I drew her with the beard so she feels like she would have if she were able to grow one.”
With the help of his aunt, an award winning quilter, Jones has created a quilt of his art to showcase at the art show.
“Even the symbolism of my medium, quilting, is important to me. The women in my family have a long history of being craftspeople and seamstresses, and when I was young my grandmother taught me how to sew and crochet. One of them will be helping me make my quilt, which is such a meaningful and powerful concept to me. It’s carrying on a long line of tradition in my family and at the same time defying it by being the only man to learn our ways.”
Jones hopes that his art makes viewers feel conflicted and make them feel a sense of multiplicity.
“I’d like viewers to reflect on why they are conflicted, and realize that though the people in my work may look a little silly with beards and flowers, that they are happy,” says Jones. “I’d like them to reflect on their own happiness and their own identities and understanding of gender and what it means to them.”