About Troublemaker Press & Alex Fiano

About Troublemaker Press & Alex Fiano

Troublemaker Press is the home of book series including Gabriel’s World and Gravfika, and for artworks by Alex Fiano.

Author Statement

Troublemaker Press features the 5 books in the Gabriel’s World series (The Hanged Man, Two-Faced Woman, The Book of Joel, Dead for Now) featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and non-binary characters, and soon the Gravika series, featuring the Gabriel’s World character Veronica (bi, non-binary) and Geneva (trans).

Artist Statement

I create in paint, pencil, ink, pastel, paper, canvas, collage and multimedia.

In the paintings and drawings, the subjects and themes are often cosmic imagery and positive symbolism for queer persons and allies, and persons with disabilities. These are not limited themes, but for an emotional connection to all kinds of people. All are welcome to draw something positive from the images. I use traditional symbols and new symbols such as pride colors, and seek interesting expression and perspective with these symbols. I also use abstract design to investigate psychological and physical challenges. By facing such pain, the pain becomes surmountable.

These projects come from a place of emotional catharsis—to feel everyday life and to find strength in it through art in an emotional, aesthetic connection. My influences include Judy Chicago, Wassily Kandinsky, Frieda Kahlo, Felix Vallotton, Vincent van Gogh, illustrators like Edward Gorey, Gustave Dore, Aubrey Beardsley, Gustave Dore, William Morris, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret MacDonald, Frances MacDonald MacNair, the classic Mad Magazine artists, various comic and graphic novel artists, and the Bauhaus.

These are not for a limited audience, but for an emotional connection with all interested people. All are welcome to draw something positive and cathartic from the images.

For disability expression, I use abstract design to investigate psychological and physical challenges. By facing such pain, the pain becomes surmountable. In this case, “Fear Frequency 1 & 2” reflects anxiety, depression, and physical pain—managing the out of control feelings by restructuring into colors, lines, and shapes. The structure has a fiery coil running through it, to acknowledge this is who I am and I can make the best of this.

 

Alex Fiano’s Biography

I am a college teacher, college student, writer and artist living in New York City.  I am also a LGBTQ+, gender equality, and poverty awareness advocate. I’m Pan/Bisexual and identify as trans/nonbinary, specifically Genderqueer. I use the PGP of they/them and Mx. or M. as a title. As I define GQ, that means having both male and female qualities in gender. I am highly supportive of and have worked with LGBTQ+ youth. My sense of social justice developed from a childhood spent moving around the country, in poverty and often homeless, with my mom. I dropped out of school at 13, but I always wrote and pursued artistic expression through difficult times, including dealing with family mental illness, abuse, poverty and violent crime. My late mom spent most of her life in poverty but was a feminist and civil rights supporter, and encouraged me to continue school.

Education: I obtained a GED at 17, and later attended CUNY Hunter College and New York University, majoring in film-making. I graduated from SUNY Stony Brook in 2000 with a B.A. and honors in Political Science, with a concentration in Political Psychology. I attended Syracuse University College of Law, and Syracuse University Graduate College of the Arts, graduating with a J.D. and a Masters of Arts in Religion, the first such dual degrees awarded from that institution. I am currently studying Studio Art & Art History at Hunter College. 

Professional: I worked from 17 on, first in fast food and then waiting tables and hosting in various restaurants in Virginia and New York. I also tended bar and worked as a retail cashier. While in graduate school, I started work/study internships with good organizations, including the Library in the Syracuse University College of Law, the local branch of the NYCLU, the Center for Community Alternatives, and the Fair Housing Council in Syracuse, the Federal Public Defender’s Office and law office of Gary Muldoon in Rochester, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York City. My internship with the EEOC (located in the original World Trade Center) was just prior to 9/11, and the tragedy was instrumental in changing my philosophy of living by one’s principles, and working to make the world better.

During graduate school, a colleague, Cheryl Kates, and myself ran a small nonprofit assisting persons incarcerated, including training interns in law and criminal justice, and conducting teaching workshops for persons incarcerated in Monroe County. After graduation, I began working in freelance writing and part-time legal advocacy. I also started teaching religion and philosophy courses at Westchester Community College, and world religion and critical thinking for Apollo Education Group.

I also worked as a freelance journalist for DOTmed Business News, a national medical and health care industry periodical, and worked as a communications professional for Legal Momentum, a women’s rights advocacy non-profit, in designing social media outreach and constituent communication.

My history of advocacy includes undergraduate student membership in NYPIRG while at Hunter College, and serving as director of the North Fork AIDS Network. At Syracuse University, I was a member of LAMBDA, President of the Criminal Justice Society, and Treasurer and President of the school ACLU Chapter, and being a member of GLOW (Gays & Lesbians and Others) while at Westchester Community College. I also volunteered to help homeless LGBTQ+ youth at the Ali Forney Center in NYC, and at The Door in NYC. 

While at WCC I had opportunities to give presentations at Teach-Ins. My presentations were on religion and discrimination, the state of LGBTQ+ legal rights, and understanding student LGBTQ+ issues. I’ve read from my work at the Rainbow Book Fair and the Bisexual Book Awards.

I have returned to Hunter College to study Studio Art & Art History, and successfully completed an internship at the wonderful Rubin Museum of Art in NYC, through the CUNY Cultural Corps. I received docent training at the Rubin, and have given several tours of K-12 and adult groups, and also had occasion to be a teaching artist in the Education Department. I’m currently adjunct faculty at Mercy College and West Coast University online.

I am proud to be a Mellon Humanities Scholar at Hunter, where I researched museums as a resource for education on psychological disabilities, and as a sanctuary space for people seeking mental health improvement, under the mentorship of my professor, Harper Montgomery of the Hunter Art History Department. The public outreach portion of that project can be found here.

In February 2018, my colleague Heather Hensell and I published a literature review on the UCLA Journal InterActions, Best Practices in Teaching Underserved College Student Populations, 14(1) Winter 2018.

Some teachers have been strong positive influences on me and encouraging me to reach further for excellence. For that I think Professor Anne Prescott at CUNY Hunter, Professors Leonie Huddy, Mark Setton, the late Peter Manchester, and Darcy Londsdale while at SUNY Stony Brook, Professors Tom French and the late Donna Arzt while at Syracuse University College of Law, and Professors Phillip Arnold and M. Gail Hamner while at Syracuse University Department of Religion. I also am grateful for the mentoring during my internship at the EEOC with Felix Orraca, and at CCA with Alan Rosenthal.

As I am currently attending Hunter College, I have been lucky to have wonderful professors in the Art History and Studio Art Departments, and it’s important to me to thank them: Viviana Bucarelli, Joel Carreiro, Harper Montgomery, Eric Lee, Rotem Linial, Robert Hickman, Mariah Loh, Katie Anania, Collette Murphy, Emmy Thelander, Lauren Kaplan, Amanda Brown, Edward Bleiberg, Elizabeth Lee, and also Beth Haddrell from the English Department, and Maya Koenig, Martha Hagood, Chris Anderson, and Michael McAuliffe from CUNY City Tech.

Page updated 4/14/2021