QUEER NYC ARTIST HIGHLIGHT: Angel Morales
Photo of Angel Morales taken by Ash Freundner (Used with permission)
Queer NYC artist, Angel Morales (they/them), is working on a collection of paintings which highlights trans people.
“As queer people, we have these parts of the body that are usually celebrated,” they explained, “I really love my arms and my belly and then maybe someone loves their chest. I think that’s really beautiful. I think everyone feels that way but specifically trans people. We always end up having these parts of the body that we have such an affinity for and feel like it’s a real part of our expression and identity.”
Morales has a form out where people can answer questions pertaining to which parts of their body they appreciate the most and parts they would maybe like to exclude from the painting. They don’t want the series to be exclusive to people who live in the general neighborhood of Bed Stuy or even New York City, so they have virtually “sat down with” people who are interested in becoming one of Morales’ subjects.
“Making consistent work has always been a thing in my life, so I’m excited [about the series]” they said, flashing a smile.
They were always creative and began making art at a very young age but didn’t find their love of painting until later. Originally from Carlsbad, California, they moved to New York City several years ago. For college, they went to the Fashion Institute of Technology initially for fashion business management; however, they found a different path around the way.
During their first semester at FIT, they found themselves enamored with drawing the first semester. They decided to change majors and focus on art classes.
They said when they began studying painting, they had to work harder than their classmates because their classmates were more advanced and had been taking classes for a while. “I was really learning from the ground up. I hated all my paintings in class but it gave me everything I needed to be the artist that I am now,” Morales said.
Morales graduated in 2021 with their associates and has continued to paint. “I’ve developed my work so much and learned a lot outside of school,” they said.
They explained they like to paint and draw shocking, explicit and violent subject matters and have found it’s easier to show their work now compared to when they were in school.
People at one of the lesbian figure drawing classes Morales hosted | Photo by Angel Morales (Used with permission)
In addition to the own work they do, they have been making art more accessible for queer people living in New York City through the painting and figure drawing workshops they host in addition to teaching at Collective Focus, located at 1046 Broadway, in Brooklyn.
Collective Focus is a community center created by artists, educators, activists and entrepreneurs which provides free goods (food, clothes, books) and services (wifi, printing, audio recording), creative media syndicates, life coaching, group consultations and more.
Visit @TheGayestPainter for more of Angel's work and updates of what they are up to.