Our Founder: Casey Hoke

Our Founder: Casey Hoke

Casey Hoke (He/ Him/His or They/ Them/ Theirs) was a prolific transgender artist, activist, and speaker dedicated to helping others combat marginalization with creativity through his Art, Identity, & YOU workshops, design work, and publications. He launched Queer Art History as an educational resource in 2017.

“As a queer artist myself starting in middle school to discover my trans identity and queer sexuality that deviated from ‘straight and cisgender,’ I needed some comfort and validation knowing there were others like me out there. Learning about Stonewall from a friend was just the beginning. I had a homophobic 8th grade history teacher at my public school, so learning about people like me that thrived and succeeded was quite the discovery, and a motivation to keep moving forward with my own life and career. So, one can only imagine how amazed I was to discover how queer the art history world was and is growing to be! That’s where I began writing and giving workshops on my own art and how learning about art history and queer identity in October of 2014 in the Huffington Post. Since then, I’ve given a TEDx Talk, shared my stories with GLSEN, Point Foundation, and have even keynoted for Intel and GLSEN Oregon’s annual youth conference. But smaller speaking engagements can only reach so far, so here’s to Queer Art History, a resource and a guest artist platform that I’m developing for you (thank you for visiting!) and all of my fellow queer folks who may be looking and constantly searching for that ounce of inspiration and knowledge, that yes, we are a vital part of art and history as a whole.”

In this painted self-portrait, Casey lays his head on his right arm and looks out at the viewer through his glasses. The colours of the transgender pride flag are woven throughout, as are testosterone molecules used to abstract Casey's face and the background.
Self-Portrait by Casey Hoke

Beginning in middle school as a shy LGBTQ2S+ activist faced with prejudice from his community, Casey Hoke didn’t expect to have the courage to express himself through his art, writing, and speaking. After coming out as a transgender male in high school, Casey began to work as an organizer and peer educator at his high school’s Gay/ Straight/ Transgender Alliance in 2014 and served as a student ambassador (2014-16) for GLSEN. With this work, Casey found his voice and began presenting on LGBTQ+ art history and identity in a workshop titled Art, Identity, & YOU. He has also written for the Huffington Post and MTV News, given a TEDx Talk, and served as National Executive Board Member for GLSEN. He continued his advocacy and projects along with his college coursework in graphic design and minor art history as a Wells Fargo Point Foundation Scholar.

Casey Hoke leans against a brown metal wall with his left leg propped up against it. His hands are in the pockets of his red shorts and he smiles looking slightly to his right. The sun lights up the upper half of the photo on a diagonal slant.
On August 8, 2018, Casey lost his battle with mental illness. Donations in Casey’s memory can be made to the Pride Center at Cal Poly Pomona. Please enter “Casey Hoke” in the Tribute Information on the donation form.

Queer Art History is maintained in honour of Casey’s legacy. As it grows and develops it centres his goals to generate knowledge about the visual storytelling of LGBTQ2S+ identities through time, and to use art history to inspire contemporary creative expression.