Mike Gardner

Untitled (Wrath from Beneath the Skin of Wet Mouths) (Oil on Canvas) 

This piece is a collage of images referencing personal photographs, tree grain, and hallucinations interacting with themes of Trans isolation, sexuality, pornography/ sex work, and the otherworldliness of these realities in a global pandemic. 


Content Warnings:



This is a painting with horror and sexual imagery, discussing mental illness and the realities of being considered "deviant."  The artist advises the viewer's discretion.


Contains images of mental illness

Contains sexual imagery

Receiving this Microgrant was really integral to my creative process during COVID because it provided me with the funds I needed to survive, let alone work as an artist. Grant funding has always been invaluable to artists with access and proximity to academia; the ability to receive funds for art research or artwork opens the door for a lot of creatives to make projects that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Thus, this newfound accessibility breathes life into new perspectives and closes the gap between who is able to be an artist and who is not. And with the events of the last almost two years behind us, it is not unfair to say that the realities of financial insecurity are a little closer to all of us. As a queer college student who very suddenly had to figure out how to be financially independent in a pandemic, I can say with my entire chest that CAL should be offering more grants and emergency funds to students. I ate off this painting, I paid bills off this painting,  I put money into the hands of other trans people in need through the beautiful cycle of mutual aid all from this one piece of work and I think that is extremely powerful.