Tel: (412) 879-0738

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© 2018 by Mister Michael David Battle

Artist Statement

My art centers the personal and collective emotional, material, and spiritual impact of violence and oppression and celebrates the continued resilience of Black, queer, and trans peoples. My disciplines are literature; visual art; transformative and restorative healing space-making; wizardry and ritual; and, food. Trauma from violence and oppression manifest as internal shame, depression, suicide, isolation, abuse of all kinds -- the things that make us feel messy and unworthy and undeserving. These are the things we don’t dare to tell our family or friends and often struggle to even tell ourselves. 


"We cannot move forward without healing the trauma that impacts us each day. My art is me honoring me with the same transformative healing work that I give to others – it’s me engaging in my own healing and choosing to be open about the ways that trauma, violence, and oppression have manifested in my life. The visual work is a physical manifestation of Black resistance.. the things that we do to navigate systems of oppression."

My greatest influences are Buddhism; blackness; indigenous practice; Christian-Baptist; prayer; Nina Simone; Lauryn Hill; spiritual practice (or lack thereof); depression; Carrie Mae Weems; Marsha P. Johnson; my children; love; Joy KMT; social-based gender; old photos; suffering; prayer; food; individual and collective violence; and, soul music.


As an artist, my career trajectory has been self-taught. I have never taken a fine arts class or been taught through any formal arts training. In college I was finding materials wherever I could and painting largely on canvas. While I was in gradate school studying public administration, I was invited to sell my canvases at A Little Local Color gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. 


In undergraduate school 05' to '09, I joined the production and directing team of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. In 2012, I co-created and still produce and direct Trans Voices, an original series of healing workshops, memoir writing workshops, and a memoir performances that was performed in 2013, '14, '15, '16, '17, and '18. Trans Voices has now expanded into two 12-week long semesters of artist intensives featuring trans and queer teaching artists and students. Fall 2019 will be the 7th iteration of Trans Voices. Trans Voices began as a show of trans folks and their family members who committed to a series of workshops to write open letter in the form of poetry, prose, or letter about their experiences. In 2014, Trans Voices was an invite-only cast of trans folks who wrote open letters to themselves in the past, present, or future to explore their own experiences of shame and isolation. What began as 4 workshops turned into 18 workshops with the cast members to explore the real emotional trauma that has manifested as suicidal ideations; a history or sexual, physical, and alcohol/drug abuse; cycles of violence; and internalized shame. Through the workshops that I designed over the past 16 years, we began the steps to acknowledging the emotional trauma and engaging in rituals of healing and restoration.


As a memoir writer, I have been published in 1839 magazine and Steer Queer, both based in Pittsburgh, and my visual art has been sold in A Little Local Color gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. In September 2016, I was selected as an Unblurred Artist at BOOM Concepts Gallery, October 2016, the first trans artist featured for Unblurred, and I completed my first solo exhibition, (Our) Liberation: (Our) Recipes + (Our) Secrets.


Since, I was selected as a F.I.N.E. Arts Resident 2017 at The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Followed by my second exhibition, #SaintMarsha. Currently working on a working title memoir, a PRIDE guide, and 2 visual projects.


Netti, 2017 Sold