Embry Valentino O’Leary (he/they) is a transgender individual and interdisciplinary artist based in Maine, USA. As a DIY enthusiast and self-proclaimed deviant, their experimental work weaves together installation, ephemera creation, printmaking, assemblage, and digital media. Most recently, he graduated Mount Holyoke College as a Frances Perkins Scholar studying studio art and English. They were the Art Director at the now-retired LUPERCALIApress.He can be contacted by emailing evalentinoart@gmail.com.

artist statement

My work is eclectic, my processes are unconventional, and my journey is nontraditional. I am constantly shifting; moving house, recovering from illness, bending my gender, changing my names. Possessing an unstable body and identity leads to an attachment to tangible things outside of myself. I have an affection for discarded junk— my work employs an array of well-loved, texturally stimulating found objects that can be tacked, taped, or tied. Temporary security and delicate, precarious bindings allow my pieces to remain free. They can be undone and transplanted into a new environment, repeated or rearranged. My use of multiplicity, the aesthetics of maximalism, and strategies of symbolism reflect my high esteem for queer indulgence and transsexual/transgenderism. My ephemera and craft materials are adorably cheap and vulnerable. I take the mundane and the painful, and twist them, reinvent them, until they become reflections of an ideal being.These conceptual and technical habits are anomalous, experimental, and deviant. My background is mostly self-taught, with formal art education being a luxury I have only recently been able to pursue. As such, my practice is a patchwork collection of mediums, disciplines, concepts, and inspirations. I am as inspired by romantic poetry and Northern Renaissance art as I am by low-budget horror films, drag queens, and DIY websites from the early 2000s. While I began using affordable materials solely out of necessity, I have committed to using these same materials with purpose. Every choice I make to adorn a discounted canvas with gel pens is an act of resisting the binary of “high” and “low” art. Repurposed pill bottles allow me to explore concepts of mental illness while being less wasteful when it comes to the items that keep me healthy. I give discarded stuffed animals new life in my installations. I am obsessed with my outdated iPhone, which I use to warp myself into a work of art with a snap of the selfie camera and the help of a few apps. I proliferate my ideas with copy paper and nontoxic craft glue. I balk at societal standards of beauty; my odd, tacky, and rejected components are proudly elevated into the gallery space as a new prompt for creative conversation.I present raw investigations of my body, my identity, and my place in the world in hopes of sparking similar curiosities in others. I staple Valentine hearts onto everything to remind myself and others to be passionate and indulgent with their love, even if that love is nothing but a fabricated performance. With this work, I invite viewers to sensually explore these private and confusing parts of the self within and outside of its surroundings. As an act of radical queerness, I welcome others to violate boundaries with me, to subvert what we think we know, and to revel in both the pain and the joy that comes from instability.


solo exhibitions

2022 bedroom 1: exhibitionism (2022) Hallway Gallery, South Hadley, MA.2022 bedroom 2: fantasy (2022) A.P.E. Gallery, Northampton, MA.

group exhibitions

2020 Boundaries: An Online Exhibition – Dead and Buried. (2020) Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. 2020.2022 Artificial Gems - MOLT (2022) Hallway Gallery, South Hadley, MA2023 in this context - perversion 2: GET BEHIND ME, FREAKS (2023) Blanchard Gallery, South Hadley, MA.


2023 The Mount Holyoke Review, Issue 04 — #academicgoals poem; SHED (2018), SKIN (2021) and SHAVE (2021)2023 Laurel Moon, Spring 2023 Edition — wrapping paper (2020) and don't vape either (2019)2023 Beyond Queer Words - A Collection of Poems – bedroom 1: exhibitionism (2021) and suture series - dissolving (2023)2021 Mount Holyoke Review, Issue 02 – plastic spring (2021) and sunrise pulse (2021)


2023 Five College Prose and Poetry Prize Winner. Amherst, MA.2020-current Full Tuition Scholarship from the Frances Perkins Scholar Program at Mount Holyoke College. South Hadley, MA.


2023 Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude.
Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts.
Studio Art and English studies.

professional experience

2021-2023Art Director, Shipment Fulfillment, LUPERCALIApress. Longmeadow, Massachusetts.Creation of cover art, inner illustrations, book design, and formatting for chapbooks published by LUPERCALIApress, by means of collaboration with authors and book editors. Optimization of chapbooks for both print and digital distribution. Management of packing supplies, order fulfillment, and shipping tasks for physical book releases.2018-2020Studio Technician, Southern Maine Community College. South Portland, Maine.Shift-based management of print studio, including responsibilities of chemical and ink inventory monitoring, assisting students both technically and artistically, and cleaning tasks pertaining to printing press and screen printing tools.

bedroom 1: exhibitionism (2022)

Multimedia Installation
Dimensions variable
A section of an intimate space, able to be rearranged and grafted onto any public wall. Deeply personal objects taken from the artist’s own bedroom are used to both invite and challenge a voyeuristic gaze. The viewer and artist share a line of sight focused on an empty bottle of mood stabilizer pills, yet the artist meets the viewer’s eye when it moves to rest on an empty testosterone vial suspended next to a lacy bra and white handkerchief. The arrangement of various items and pulling of sight begs further questioning: What messes are usually shoved into the closet and under the rug? What messes does one allow others to see?

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bedroom 2: fantasy (2022)

Multimedia Installation
Dimensions variable
An instance of a continued exploration of versatile material goods and inhabiting personal space. Nearly every piece used has already lived a previous life, whether that is in a bedroom, the thrift store, or in the depths of a hoarder's dusty basement. For now, they live here: straddling the line between installation and ephemera, suspended in this snapshot of performative gender, sexuality, and health. "bedroom 2: fantasy" welcomes viewers to engage with an intimate representation of identity and instability through voyeuristic gazes, perverse fascination, and the desire to touch.

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perversion 1: IN SECURITY (2021)

Nylon rope
Dimensions variable
In the foot traffic of a busy sidewalk, an individual’s anxiety is on full display. The distressed mind, the queer body, the connections or disconnections between the self and the environment— elements that would preferably be kept locked behind a bedroom door are forced into the public eye. Treading the same path every day becomes a ritual. There is a sense of comfort in repetition and binding oneself to an exact routine. “perversion 1: IN SECURITY” is an intimate spectacle that explores a need to find sanity and safety. This unassuming but peculiar tree, a landmark to some, attempts to keep itself enveloped in security. The decorative restraints are tangled and desperately arranged in some places. The tight knots are vulnerable to weather, scissors, and dexterous hands— this sensual bondage is a temporary solution to a persistent dread.

perversion 2: GET BEHIND ME, FREAKS (2023)

Multimedia installation
Dimensions variable
Loud, messy statements from one trans person to many others. perversion 2: GET BEHIND ME, FREAKS grabs attention with crass, cheeky messages written on notecards and construction paper, then asks skeptical viewers to put aside their distaste for one fucking minute because we are all under attack!!!Individuals who are kind, weird, curious, and unapologetically alive get glittery stickers. People who hate their own kind get unfriendly reminders that the status quo wants us all dead.

Text on black paper reads:"Transphobes do not care how much dysphoria you have. Transphobes do not care how well you pass. Transphobes do not care if you have "always known." Transphobes do not care how many surgeries you've had. Transphobes do not care how much you hate the sex you were assigned at birth. Transphobes will not care about the amount of cringe compilations you've made. Transphobes will not care that you're not "one of THOSE" trans folks. Transphobes will not care if you are pretty. Transphobes will not care about the amount of hours you've clocked in on punching down. Transphobes do not care that you fit the trauma porn narrative of being trans. Transphobes do not care about your atrophied vagina, your botched augmentations, your pain from going so long without compassion and proper medical care. Be fucking grateful and kind towards the leaps we've made with trans rights. We are all freak perverts in the eyes of transphobes. Learn to live alongside "tucutes" "posers" "LARPers" "cringe" fake" "will never pass" "non-dysphoric" "non-op" trans people or DIE begging for cis acceptance."

REPAIRS (2021)

5.5 x 8.5 as laser print booklet, or PDF.
Printed edition of 6.
16-page magazine exploring the artist’s physical condition. A warped rumination on gender dysphoria, mental illness and neurological disorders, skin conditions, hormone replacement therapy, self-medication, and the art of repairing oneself through surgery, cosmetics, and smartphone technology. Distributed digitally and physically.


windows (2021)

Multimedia and relief print.5 x 5 in. each.Imitating the appearance of X-ray images, this series of frames grants permission to peek into bodily spaces and fabricated health. Past the neon exterior, hidden in plain view, are inflamed lungs, a rhinestone heart, broken teeth, and a knee held together with pins.

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eye exam (2021)

Animated GIFs, HTML, text.An unqualified instructor walks participants through an eye exam. Along the way, the participant is asked to question what they see, suggesting that one's sense of sight is not inherently a sense of understanding.


assorted prints

Various print works, 2018-2021

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