Color, Humor and a Whole Lot of Strange

CHANGING ROOMS, Andrew Printer & KWHS Gay/Straight Alliance

From May 5-26 at The Studios of Key West, multi-media artist Andrew Printer and the Key West High School Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) present Changing Rooms, an exhibition of documentary photography that addresses themes of change, performance and identity. The public is invited to an opening reception at The Studios, 533 Eaton Street on Thursday, May 5 from 6-8pm.

Famous for its drag shows, burlesque, festivals, and live theater tradition, Key West offers the perfect environment for a photographic exploration of identity and make believe. With the notion of transformation in mind Andrew Printer takes his camera backstage and into public spaces in search of the intangible.

“Photographers have documented everything possible — from microscopic bits of genetic code to the entire galaxy — and even pictures of death and sex are commonplace,” says Printer. “As a lens-based artist I’ve become bored with photographs so I have used this project to try capture something else, something less tangible.”

Printer snapped photos at Applebottom Burlesque, Red Barn Theatre, Aqua and street locations throughout Key West, artfully blending traditional documentary techniques with something more surreal to convey the substance of transformation. The pictures attempt to capture fluid persona, or the fleeting nature of seemingly fixed things, or perhaps, nothing at all.

An Artreach grant allowed Printer to explore his idea alongside students involved in the Gay Straight Alliance at the Key West High School.

“The Alliance is also essentially all about evolution. It exists as a political statement in its own right but it is a space where rules about gender and sexuality can be tested,” Printer continued. “I wondered what transformations were happening for these young people in particular.”

Printer’s images will be shown alongside those of Caspian Cassidy, Camila Ferrufino, and Olivia Johnson, members of the GSA. Through a series of meetings, Printer shared his experience and photographic techniques with GSA students, challenging them to make photos that document a personal process of change, or changes they have personally witnessed in Key West.

Printer’s videos have been screened widely at festivals in Europe, the US and on public television. His photographs have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, they are included in several private collections and are part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Library of the University of Indiana, Bloomington. He is also the recipient of several grants and scholarships. Since moving to Key West with his partner and five pets in 2014 Printer has been awarded two grants and had two exhibitions. He works freelance for several national publication and recently opened his own gallery, Key West Contemporary Art.

Changing Rooms is sponsored in part by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and private donations. It is also made possible by Doug Mayberry Real Estate. Thanks also to Key West Fine Art Photography & Printing and Key West Fine Art Services.