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Jess Guilbeaux is a beautiful, strong, black, lesbian woman. Growing up in a conservative part of Kansas, she'd been told she was "too black" or "not black enough", "too gay" or "not gay enough". After coming out as a teen, Jess’ adoptive parents disowned her, and she was forced to start living independently at the age of 16. Like so many LGBTQI+ people, Jess has built a support system through her chosen family.
After appearing on an especially moving episode of Queer Eye, Jess is exploring various permutations of androgyny in her self expression. We worked collaboratively throughout the painting process, landing on a composition that pushes the boundary between realism and abstraction to highlight the layers and complexity of her identity. It has been such a pleasure getting to know her through this process, and I can't wait to see what this inspirational woman does next.