British artist Conor Collins took the death threats and hate tweets that Caitlyn Jenner received following her Vanity Fair cover reveal, and made them into artwork.
Collins re-created Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover with the text of the hate-filled tweets Jenner received, hand-writing them onto a canvas. Collins spoke with The Hollywood Reporter in an email exchange, and said he was “horrified” by the comments on social media.
“When I saw these I wanted to show them because it is a reality of what trans people experience every day,” Collins writes, citing the death of trans woman Tamara Dominguez, who was murdered after being run over repeatedly by a car in Missouri. He said he didn’t want to hide the darkness and persecution the trans community faces.
“It was horrible having to research and write the tweets onto the canvas,” writes Collins. He says he started working at 5 p.m. on Friday until sunrise on Saturday, drinking half a bottle of whiskey “to get through it” because he couldn’t “have written so much hate sober.”
He revealed to THR which tweets affected him the most:
If I was one of Caitlyn Jenner’s kids I’d kill myself
— Fucko() (@ImFucko) July 27, 2015
— Raime Ramos (@RaImErAmOs15) July 30, 2015
Pay me to kill #CaitlynJenner
— Vincent_mojica (@vincent_mojica) July 26, 2015
@Caitlyn_Jenner Its like watching the twin towers on 911. People can’t help but continue to watch tragedies. Most are not supporters.
— Jerry Yepiz (@JerryYepiz) June 3, 2015
On average, Collins’ art pieces take between two months and two years to make, but this time he only spent two days correcting his mistakes and finalizing the details.
“For every person who sees it another person is shown the persecution and real danger trans people face,” he writes. “I don’t know if Caitlyn has seen it herself yet though, would be interesting to see what she thought about it if she did.”
Collins says that for the most part, he has received positive reactions to the piece but admits that he has also been receiving hate mail from people he says hate the trans community, hate him “or just generally hate a lot of things.”
“I find the more hate mail I receive, the better job I am probably doing,” he says. Collins says he also received hate mail after creating a similar portrait of homophobic language when Olympic swimmer Tom Daley came out.
Collins hopes that Jenner will help change people’s views on transgender rights, and he says that for too long trans people have been treated as second-class citizens.
“Trans people are people’s brothers, sisters, children, friends, mothers and fathers,” writes Collins. “I hope Caitlyn and her program may help people realise that.”
Jenner tweeted about the portrait on Aug. 19.
Turning hate into love is so beautiful and powerful – great job by this artist https://t.co/Q8XEs6FVlO
— Conor Collins (@conartworks) August 18, 2015
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) June 1, 2015