The City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division installed a new temporary public artwork, Heteronormative: Death of the Golden Child, by Travion Payne, on the ground floor of the West Hollywood Park Five-Story Parking Structure, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. This 9-foot by 9-foot temporary vinyl mural was installed on Monday, February 7, 2022 and is anticipated to be on display through September 2023.
The “golden child” in the title of this artwork refers to a popular, noteworthy person, whose admiration stems from outside admirers’ infatuation with the “golden child’s” talent, looks, or other attributes. It’s easy for others to only perceive one’s external traits, and so much more difficult and rare to truly understand the internal landscape of an individual. While a person may appear strong on the outside, internally, they may be more vulnerable, more anguished, more troubled. Through this painting, Payne hopes to bring attention to the fact that Black and LGBTQ individuals face an increased risk of suicide due to societal factors and other complications. In this painting, the “golden child” is a reflection of a reality that so many face today.
Artist Travion Payne is an African American artist from Houston, Texas. While he holds a recently acquired degree in psychology, his passion for creating art has never left him. In fact, he likes to utilize his psychology background to create thought-provoking paintings with a goal to emotionally influence the viewers of his work. He enjoys painting portraits using a variety of vibrant colors and textures to add depth to the meaning behind each painting. His art sheds light on controversial topics that will give insight into the issues that Black men face, such as mental illness in correlation with religion, colorism, homophobia, and fragile masculinity within the Black community. Although the paintings feature predominantly Black men, the themes can apply to various groups of people. The paintings also include hidden symbolism, which intertwines with the numerous meanings behind each painting. Lastly, his paintings fuse apparent contradictions, seeking to heighten the experience of the spectator by creating immersive portraiture. His work explores an array of human emotions that are associated with different facial expressions. He has learned through his experiences, both positive and negative, that there is power and beauty within emotion.
Previous artworks installed at this location include Mei Xian Qui’s Let A Thousand Flowers Bloom; Yuri Boyko’s The Persona, and Rajab Sayed’s Partition.