The Pride Issue | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
DONATE

May 29, 2019 News » Cover Story

Pin It
Favorite

Page 8 of 11

COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy of the artist

Welcome to the Big Top
Artist Dallas Rivas finds creative therapy in poppy, personal paintings.

By Scott Renshaw

Some creativity is born out of a deep emotional need for communication. Some creativity is born out of pragmatism. For Dallas Rivas, it's both.

Rivas—a Texas transplant who also is a Transgender Education Advocates of Utah trustee—has had his donated paintings exhibited at the Utah Art Center. He also designs LGBTQ-themed T-shirts under the moniker Dallas Ian's LGBTees & Queer Gear. Both creative outlets suggest his cheeky sensibility, with a personal twist.

click to enlarge COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy of the artist

The paintings, including his "Gender Freakshow" series portraying people of a variety of sexual and gender identities as carnival acts, turn mainstream perceptions about LGBTQ people into objects of satire. "I believe life is fun—and it is more satirical than serious," Rivas says. "People see us [transgender people] as freaks and are afraid to know more about it. We're pretty normal and boring people."

But Rivas also acknowledges that works like these are a way to process feelings he might not otherwise have a way to express. "I am not an emotional person who expresses myself, so painting releases some of my thoughts onto canvas," he says. "Creativity in any form helps me and is therapeutic."

Another kind of needed help inspired the creation of LGBTees several years ago. Boasting messages like "I'm the gay uncle everybody talks about" and "NOT Temple Worthy," they originated as a way to raise funds for the transgender activist group TransAction and its social activities.

Whether intended to raise money or raise his own spirits, Rivas' works also succeed at raising eyebrows and raising issues. According to Utah Pride Center executive director Rob Moolman, "Dallas' work is a great conversation starter for a lot of people who come through the center because of how he managed to play with the ideas of gender. His art has caused a tremendous amount of conversation, and he does it in such a playful manner."

For now, art is only a sideline for Rivas, who works for UPS by day. "I would love to quit and do art full time," he says. "One day." For now, he's able to demonstrate that "normal and boring," at least for him, might be a bit of humble understatement.

Pin It
Favorite

Tags:

About The Authors

Enrique Limón

Enrique Limón

Bio:
Editor at Salt Lake City Weekly. Lover of sour candies.

More by City Weekly Staff

  • THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUL 29 - AUG 4

    Corey Reese: Stronger Than the Dark,Utah Fandom Show, Ogden Pride, and more.
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • MUSIC PICKS: JULY 29 - AUG 4

    Adult Prom Album Release at Kilby Court, Snowbasin's Blues, Brews, and BBQ Cut Short, Art Piano Pop-Up Community Concert, and more.
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JUL 22 - 28

    Native American Celebration in the Park Powwow & Festival, Sophie Schwabacher & Best of Craft Lake City @ Modern West Fine Art, Spence Roper, and more.
    • Jul 21, 2021
  • More »

More by Enrique Limón

  • Life Lessons

    10 notable Utahns share their biggest takeaway from the past two weeks.
    • Apr 2, 2020
  • Stream Queens

    Due to lack of physical venues, two drag performers assemble an all-star cast for digital show.
    • Apr 1, 2020
  • Inside Utah's 'Stay Safe, Stay Home' Directive

    Gov. Herbert beseeches Utahns to cooperate with the set of rules through mid-April.
    • Apr 1, 2020
  • More »

Latest in Cover Story

  • Every Last Drop

    While facing a historic drought, Utah officials don't have a handle on how much water slips through their fingers.
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • Summer Guide

    A look at what's hot in the beehive state
    • Jul 21, 2021
  • Rocky's Third Act

    Rocky Anderson's revival of the Justice Party offers independents weary of partisan bickering a path forward.
    • Jul 14, 2021
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • China Girl

    A DNA test connected a Utah teenager to her mother—and to a story that was almost too tragic to bear.
    • Mar 4, 2020
  • Uintah Sex?

    Utah lives up to its prude reputation, but by all means, put those scandalous phrases on a license plate. Plus, the aspirational thought of renewable energy 10 to 30 years from now.
    • Jan 22, 2020

© 2021 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation