In starting this project, I wanted to focus on a prototype that would communicate Leslie Combemale’s vision of how we would describe aesthetically who was an ‘art outsider’. In thinking about this out in my warehouse in Athens, GA, I paced back and forth across my floor for days to determine the best subject of someone on the fringe of their craft. It was no surprise that Divine was the first part of the project. After all, I was a drag queen out in San Francisco, often portraying that “Nina Hagen with a chainsaw” persona for so many years.
Growing up in Georgia, my first encounters with queer culture were 76 miles from my home in the deep south of Athens when I was 17 in 1994. I ran away from home because I had come out of the closet, and was consistently getting beat up in school… and my parents, the hardcore Catholics that they were.. didn’t support it either. Without the support of my peers or my parents, I ran away from home to my sister who lived out there, and moved in with my boyfriend who was in college at UGA.