31-year-old gay artist Frank Sansone was recently a vendor at RuPaul’s DragCon in NYC. The Upstate New York native’s booth was covered in his renditions of Drag Race queens as emojis and stunning interpretations of his favorite Disney characters.
The Visual Arts
Sansone was always a creative type. ‘If I didn’t have a coloring book, I’d draw on my own,’ he tells GSN of his youth.
‘I’ve been obsessed with Disney since I was an infant,’ he says. ‘It’s in my DNA.’ Some of his favorite Disney films include Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, and the Little Mermaid.
When Sansone began attending conventions like DragCon and FlameCon, he was inspired to learn more about art for the digital age. This inspired him to try different artistic mediums.
His favorite style to work in is the art nouveau style. In fact, the work he’s most proud of to this day was an art nouveau piece inspired by Rey from Star Wars.
The Performing Arts
Aside from visual arts, Sansone is also a big fan of the theater. He recalls being a kid and forcing his friends to put on plays with him. In middle school, he began participating in drama clubs.
The musical Hairspray has always been one of his favorites, as it combines the glitz and glam one expects from musical theater with a really strong, heartfelt message.
Sansone eventually went on to attend Marymount Manhattan College where he majored in theater with a concentration in musical theater. His whole life has been at attempt at balancing both his passion for the visual arts as well as his love for theater.
The perfect opportunity for this balance came when Sansone joined a theater company in Colorado. On top of performing in their unique productions, he also designed the posters for their shows.
Struggles & Identity
When it comes to struggles he’s faced as an artist, Sansone describes them as two-fold. The first being learning to create his own work and make his own value.
‘Artists really struggle with feeling they’re doing something that matters,’ he explains. ‘Some days are more optimistic than others.’
The second is learning to rely on himself. Especially in a big and competitive city like New York, it’s easy to become discouraged. This is exacerbated by the digital age we live in where there’s always a fear of missing out on something fabulous.
‘Everyone has [bad] days,’ he says. ‘Even if it doesn’t seem that way on social media.’
In terms of how his identity is reflected by his art, it wasn’t always. ‘I haven’t always fully been in touch with my own identity,’ Sansone says.
Now, he notes, it’s easier to recognize the importance of saying something with his work. Though he doesn’t immediately think of a message before drawing, this political climate has made it easier to make a statement.
Over the years, Sansone has grown to embrace his identity as a gay man, an artist, and a lover of pop culture.
See more of Frank Sansone’s work on his website.