I’m Sorry Mamma, I’m a Cowboy
“I’m sorry Mamma, I’m A Cowboy” is a compilation of animations created in response to my return to Appalachia as an out queer individual. The work takes its name from the country song, “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”, and the act of coming out to my mother as gay. Visuals include iconography from cowboy culture and imagery that is associated with masculine heteronormativity, but, through the process of animating myself into the work, my presence queers the narrative, juxtaposing ideas of the American cowboy with queer existence. Metronormativity promotes the idea that queerness and the urban are inseparable, thus invalidating the ruralized queer and placing queerness and rurality at odds. By animating queerness in a rural space, the act of existence is an act of assertion. The work questions notions of masculinity, authenticity, and fantasy.
Nate King is an interdisciplinary artist with a heavy focus on animation using hand drawing, photography, painting, and digital manipulation to create time based mixed media compositions. His work explores ideas of identity, particularly in relation to themes of urban and rural queerness and digital connectivity. King’s work has been exhibited in national and international spaces including the Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, NC, (2022) Deiglan Gilfélagið, Akureyri, Iceland, (2021), ACRE Artist Residency (2021), and Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA (2020). He holds an MFA in Digital Arts and Animation from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and a BA in Cinema from Virginia Commonwealth University. He currently teaches animation as an assistant professor at Virginia Tech in the School of Visual Arts.