Spotlight: Mom I’m Not a Transvestite, I Do Art

Artist Statement

I’m very interested in the inner worlds of other people—that’s the main reason why impressionistic portraiture is the basis of my artwork. I deny the stereotypes of appearance and gender and paint boys with makeup and earrings. I like watching people’s reactions to my work because boys with makeup, bright clothes, or jewelry are still considered something indecent. In my country, the Ukraine, it’s very difficult to explain why a guy puts on make up or wears a woman’s blouse. If he does so, he’s considered a nasty homosexual. I want to paint these boys how I see them, without the shame of the outsider’s opinion clouding their image.


Tania Shvayuk was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1996. She studied art at the South Ukrainian National Pedagogical University and has participated in several group shows. In addition to art, she is also interested in film and is a volunteer at the Odessa International Film Festival.