Eddie Swayze

"Rainbow Face with Hearing Aid," color pencils on colored paper

[Image Description: A portion of a man's face, tinted with rainbow colors, floats in front of a panorama of a galaxy, stars and planets in outer space. A hearing aid is in the man's left ear.]

Artist's Statement

I am a deaf visual artist and happen to be gay. I have been drawing series of self-portraits or parts of myself, or deaf-themed artwork, that portray my gay pride (LGBT issues). Many of the drawings also have space-related images such as galaxies, stars, or planets. They refer to my strong spiritual relationship to the cosmos and my fascination with the universe. The space images around me or behind me provoke the idea of oneness of myself and the whole universe. The latest series are colored pencil drawings on colored papers.

This Rainbow Face with Hearing Aid drawing shows a self-portrait of myself with a rainbow painted on my face. I drew my face on black paper with colored pencils, using a photographed image of myself on the computer as a reference. I made sure the hearing aid in my one ear can be clearly seen. I then used a photo of the stars and planets from the Internet as a reference and drew them around me. For this particular work, I’m saying that I’m beautiful as a human being that happens to be gay and deaf, and I perceive myself as valuable and part of the whole universe as one, not irrelevant or insignificant, or separated.

Artist Photograph

[Image Description: Photograph of a white man in a light-colored shirt, wearing a black bowler hat, glasses with heavy frames, and an earring in his left ear.]

Artist Biography

Eddie Swayze was enrolled at Rochester School for the Deaf until 1976, then enrolled at Horseheads Elementary School under B.O.C.E.S's (Board of Cooperative Education Services) Total Communication mainstreaming program in Horseheads, NY. He graduated from Horseheads High School in 1983. He studied Art at National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in the Applied Art and Computer Graphics Department until 1985, then cross-registered into RIT's (Rochester Institute of Technology) College of Imaging Arts and Sciences. He studied Painting and Illustration and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1989. He continued at the same institution and graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1995. He taught Art, Art History, and Literature. He also tutored English and Literature at NTID.

He is a visual artist, poet, performing artist, actor and educator. He received three New York State Council on the Arts Strategic Opportunity Stipends grants and two New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization grants. He creates mixed media, draws, and paints. He also creates digital artwork in computers, using PhotoShop/Illustrator/inDesign software, and other software and apps.