About the Project
What is Inside Out?

Inside Out is a community-based art initiative celebrating the strength, beauty, and resiliency of transgender individuals.

Participants create mixed-media self portraits in a small (5 person) workshop setting OR by working virtually through Zoom.


Workshops and virtual sessions are led by trans artist and Inside Out creator, Jay DeFazio. The self-portraits will be exhibited virtually on this website, as well as in-person when possible (dependent upon pandemic-related restrictions.)

What is the purpose?

Started in Cincinnati, Ohio, this project seeks to bring together members of the transgender community to participate in a collaborative and supportive art experience.

By creating self-portraits that focus on acceptance and love  in the company of others facing similar struggles, participants will have a safe environment in which to express their authentic selves. They will be able to practice techniques to recognize self-worth, translate their identity into artwork, and meet others who can inspire and help them through the often-isolating process of transition. By virtually exhibiting the work, we can join the global community and further trans visibility.  

Why is it important?

Transitioning, or the process of living authentically, is an emotional and sometimes physical process which often involves loss, and is often done alone.

Inside Out combines art, community, and therapy into a cathartic session on self-acceptance and appreciation. Its goal is to unify the trans community in a tangible, lasting way and bring hope, safety, and freedom to individuals grappling with the dichotomy of their assigned and innate genders.

What does it look like?
  • Multiple socially-distanced workshop sessions beginning August 31, 2020. Groups will be limited to 5 trans participants and 1 instructor.

  • OR individualized Zoom sessions with Jay, scheduled at participant’s request.

  • In-person sessions last 3 to 4 hours while a typical virtual session lasts about 45 minutes. 

  • Participants can learn art techniques, participate in group discussion, and practice methods for healthy self-expression and acceptance while creating a mixed-media self-portrait. 

  • Participants write or record an artist statement to accompany their work.

  • Artworks are photographed and uploaded into the virtual exhibition here.

  • We are researching the possibility of an in-person exhibit in early 2021, but it is largely dependent on gallery availability and pandemic guidelines.

Who is Jay DeFazio?

The creator of Inside Out, Jay is a licensed art educator, artist, and trans activist from Northern Kentucky. He has worked with many local organizations including ArtWorks, Cincinnati Art and Technology Studios, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Cincinnati Opera, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and countless local high schools around Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. 

He is a board member for SOS Art, a non-profit organization supporting art and poetry created around themes of social justice. Jay is also involved with non-profit Love Must Win where he is Director of LGBTQ+ Art Programs for its Arts Must Win initiative. 

Jay’s personal art focuses on finding the beauty that’s easily overlooked in things mundane. An observer of details, he often uses photography to capture intricate patterns and textures found in the natural world. His photos inspire additional works across a variety of media, from acrylics to handmade jewelry. You can find him on Instagram @jays_artstagram.