Gabriela Romero-Johnson

Artist Statement

I see the world through fearful eyes. This comes with being a butch lesbian of color and a survivor of rape. The work I make is often an attempt to explore the different facets of myself. My artwork examines lesbian identity and the complicated mix of emotions that it presents. As a butch lesbian, my life has been shaped around my admiration and love for women, while also finding that I do not fit into the normative gender roles assigned to women. I break through the gender roles and go where a woman is not expected, or often wanted. My work explores coming of age as a young lesbian, the insecurities this brings up and the trauma that follows. There are two major themes within my art that are somewhat distinct from each other: trauma, and love. These two experiences clash within my own life and are constant themes within my work.

I primarily work in traditional media such as watercolor and ink, creating illustrations and comics that depict lesbian relationships, fantastical adventures, and trauma. Iā€™d like to continue expanding on the stories I've written and illustrated, and make them as accessible as possible. My goal is to illustrate and publish graphic novels and storybooks. I plan to continue my work centering around queer teen romance, mental illness, and coming of age, as well as expanding into different genres such as fantasy and sci-fi. With the current state of social media, I do plan to share my work digitally in the form of webcomics and digital publication, but books are also an important goal for me. There is a real sense of comfort I get from a physical book. They have an immersive experience that has always been important to me, giving stories a sense of comfort and safety that I want to embrace with my art.