Javi Peterson

Artist Statement

My point of view as an artist has been largely shaped by my life and experiences as a trans person. My relationship with my body has always been turbulent and uncomfortable. Over time, I’ve come to view it as an entity separate from myself. The lives of most trans people are affected greatly by gender dysphoria, the physical or psychological distress a person goes through caused by the gender assigned to them at birth. It’s a hefty term that I feel unqualified to define because it varies so wildly from person to person. For me, it has a lot to do with my body and the literal, physical, & visceral aspects of my existence.

While my work is heavily related to the transgender experience, I also address the broader theme of a person’s relationship with their body; and, in turn, the body’s relationship to their identity. I have been exploring the idea of the body as a vessel, a tool, or a source of identity. Ceramics is an important medium for me because it’s very physical. Creating a form out of clay can be cathartic when dealing with issues with my own body.  I dissect the self and create beings, creatures, and entities from my emotions, experiences, and facets of my identity. Currently, I am working on a visual language using symbolic imagery important to me. Each image represents different feelings and parts of my emotional inner life. I am exploring this idea through ceramics, as well as illustration and printmaking.

My motivation to create comes from the desire to inform and to understand. I want to share this experience with others to help them understand how trans people struggle to simply live in our own bodies. I also want to process these feelings and experiences for myself by converting them into tangible forms that can be seen and understood by myself and others. As my identity evolves so will my art, as it continues to serve as a tool for introspection and self-discovery.