Genesis Tramaine

B. 1983 | Brooklyn, New York

“I call myself a devotional painter,” […] “all of [my work] is derived from the presence that I feel when in prayer. I’m only in prayer aiming to gain a closer understanding of what I’m supposed to do in my walk as a human, by way of God.” – Genesis Tramaine, 2020.

For this FSA feature, we highlight the artistic practice of Genesis Tramaine – a queer, neo-expressionist, self-taught painter of devout Christian faith. The Brooklyn-based artist’s semi-abstract portraits take inspiration from biblical hymns, Christian scripture, as well as both the Harlem Renaissance and 1980s graffiti movements in New York. Her religious upbringing in a Bed-Stuy Black Baptist church was a formative influence in her life. In an article for Artnet, she relates to journalist Katie White: “When I was in church, sure enough, I was a talker. You know, I would get up and clap and sing at times that maybe weren’t the most appropriate. And I was often instructed to sit on the back pew, [where] I would sketch inside of the hymn books. I would sketch inside of the Bibles, that’s true. I found a love for trying to keep up with the energy that the gospel fed me […] I liked that it was able to produce something that didn’t look like anything else.”