Magdalena Truchan and Delilah Blue Flynn

Greetings world. I will be in a new art exhibit, On Pins and Needles: Accessible Burlesque & the Art of Adornment at the Garner Arts Center in Garnerville, NY. (35 miles north of NYC.) The opening reception is Saturday, December 18, 3-7pm in Building 35. The exhibit is open every Saturday through February 5, 2022 3-7pm. It will be closed Christmas and New Years Day.

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Although millions of people are classified as disabled, the often misunderstood world of disabled Americans, and particularly of disabled women, is relegated to society’s margins. The otherness of disabled women confines them, and their beauty is often disregarded. Blurring the lines between disability, beauty and sexuality is taboo. On Pins and Needles, a new exhibit at the Garner Arts Center in Garnerville, NY aims to spotlight and redefine the beauty standard with an exploration of disability, seen through the lens of the aesthetic of mid-twentieth century pin-up illustration and the capabilities of those we categorize as disabled. The exaggerated sexuality of pin-up illustration makes it an ideal medium to explore society’s discomfort with merging stereotypical images of beauty with disability. 

Delilah Blue FlynnParaplegia, 2021, 13”x19”Archival Print, Original – Ink and Marker on Paper

The genesis of the exhibit is a friendship between two artists living in the Hudson Valley. Delilah Blue Flynn, an illustrator, and Magdalena, a graphic designer and fashion blogger, were talking over a few glasses of wine one night.  Magdalena, a car crash-induced paraplegic, told Delilah how disheartening it is that barely any interesting and modern representation of disabled people exists in art. That idea resonated with Blue and she decided to act upon this for her friend. Knowing Magdalena as well as she does, Blue chose to depict her in all her retro-inspired punk rock glory, as a modern day pinup on wheels. Magdalena was so thrilled with the piece that she immediately shared it on social media and the response was overwhelming.  The two quickly realized that this was an artistic expression that touched people and made an impact.  Magdalena and Delilah decided to expand upon this thereby creating a series that would showcase those with disabilities who are not defined by limitations. They can be stylish, fun, interesting and sexy people who just happen to be disabled. 

Delilah Blue Flynn Cerebral Palsy, 2021, 13”x19”, Archival Print Original – Ink and Marker on Paper

Delilah Blue Flynn – Autism 2021, 13’x19”, Archival Print, Original – Ink and Marker on Paper

Additionally, Magdalena’s love and interest in fashion led her to the direction of DIY fashion. Her fashion designer friend taught her how to knit and she embraced the craft. She discovered fiber arts via experimentation with all kinds of textiles while knitting fashion pieces. She wanted to design one of a kind stylish pieces which were also adaptive for people with limited mobility. Her hand knitted wraps are an expression of her keen fashion eye and her love of fiber crafts. Influenced by Japanese and Italian designers as well as the textiles themselves, these wraps are not only utilitarian but also works of art.

Bees Left the Lavender Field” wrap. Wool, rayon, cotton, acrylic-blend, bamboo button. “The Sound of Her Wings” wrap.

Springtime for Degenerates” wrap. Wool, rayon, cotton, acrylic-blend, ceramic button.