issue 1 : Isolation
issue 1 : Isolation

Memory Palace

Artist Doug Baulos contemplates queer identity, cloth story telling and making in a series of sewn banners.

Words by Doug Baulos.

“Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning  your whole soil with the ploughshare of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring, and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird: keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guest.”

This recent work is rooted in personal curiosity about how small, specific stories in my queer narrative might lead to wider conversations, and become installations that serve as axis points of innumerable relationships.

My research pays close attention to the craft of natural dyeing, innovative print practices, and how I might achieve dimension and narrative in my work. Cloth tells stories about our shared humanness. I want to explore the idea of small stories that impact the viewer through repetition, pattern, and texture. I find political agency through the use of upcycling everyday cloth and objects from thriftstores and have adapted a humbleprocess of ‘rag’ creations that become narratives. Small stories represent the fragments of patched data which then form critical positions for under-represented perspectives.

Stories establish our place in the world 

Stories aid us in acting wisely 

Stories shape perspectives
Stories help us understand others 

Stories pass down knowledge and morals

Small Stories/The Contemplation of Suchness/Memory Palace 2020

Small Stories/The Contemplation of Suchness/Memory Palace 2020

Growing up queer, I sacrificed authenticity to minimize humiliation and prejudice. The objects here hope to reveal which parts of my life truly depict me and which parts I create to protect myself. When we learn how to make things, craft our own goods, mend, heal and tread with reverence, we put a tiny dent into the cycle of ceaseless consumption and hate.

Marginalization of queer people in the south has a tacit aesthetic, and in the small stories about rags I seek to pinpoint the gravity of my cultural agency as a queer artist. The rags acquire meaning through constructed collaged stories that result in site-specific installations that reference human suffering, mortality and grace. With stories being so central to human cognition and communication, I hope viewers see themselves reflected in my small stories about queer and feel safe to reevaluate some of their ideas about gender and sexuality.

Douglas Pierre Baulos received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He regularly teaches workshops and lectures on his research in book arts, drawing and visual ecology. In 2009 Baulos won the President’s Award For Excellence In Teaching at UAB.

He currently is the Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the curriculum director at Studio by the Tracks, an art center that provides free art classes to emotionally conflicted children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other mental illnesses. His drawings, installations, and books have been exhibited/published both nationally and internationally. His current works are explorations (visual) and meditations (poetry) centering on his ideas of spirituality, love, death, shelter, and hope.

Learn more about the art of Doug Baulos.