Artist: Marjani Viola Hawkins (MVHPhoto)
Age: I am in my 20s and loving every moment of it.
Born in: Oakland, California
Based in: Phoenix, Arizona
Inspirations: Women, the sky, bougainvilleas, nostalgia + memory.
Themes in your work:
I photograph Women. I tend to depict my subjects in a dreamy, ethereal way that is bold at the same time. It is done in hopes of capturing the perfection that I see. My recent work has bright flowers and plant life in almost every image. I’m surprised that I don't reject the archetypal notion of flowers as a predominantly “feminine” symbol of prettiness and softness.
About your project:
Queer Girls is a photography book, captured with 35mm film, of womyn who identify as LGBTQ. It is a means of celebrating the particular, underrepresented female voice within a community that is centered on its inclusiveness. Queer Girls aims to destigmatize female Queerness, and show that sexual preference does not appear in a packaged, standardized form. I want to express that Queer womyn are everywhere- and that we are not anomalies on the fringes of society, seldom seen and often unheard. We are not objects of the male gaze, or fictional characters. We are real and our stories should be told! I wanted to use the medium of photography to drive this message, because it is easy to relate to images of people being so vulnerable and honest.
“Being a Queer Woman Of Color changes every aspect of my artistic expression. Those categories do not limit me, they empower me.”
Do you think your ethnicity, gender, and/or personal preferences drove you towards becoming an artist?
Absolutely. In the past, I did not fully recognize the impact that intersectionality had on my work.I express my views through art in a way that is unique to my social position. Being a Queer WOC changes every aspect of my artistic expression. Those categories do not limit me, they empower me.
Any upcoming projects you’re working on?
Aside from photographing for the book, I am always working on fashion editorials for print, and client photoshoots for individualized objectives. I also write freelance; ever so often I will produce an OpEd piece on a feminist topic.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Queer Girls is sponsored by One-N-Ten (Phoenix). This organization is a nonprofit dedicated to serving and assisting LGBTQ youth, through several branches across the country.
Queer Girls is currently seeking additional sponsorship; a press kit and contribution info is available upon request + firstname.lastname@example.org
“Sexual preference does not appear in a packaged, standardized form– Queer womyn are everywhere, we are not anomalies on the fringes of society, seldom seen and often unheard. We are not objects of the male gaze, or fictional characters. We are real and our stories should be told!”
Follow Viola's Work Here
Snapchat @ vvalentine217
Sponsors: onenten.org + instagram @ onentenphx