David Ayala

As a queer and gender-nonconforming artist, I make paintings that explore complex relationships between queer aesthetics, Christian iconography of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods, and human sensuality. I borrow imagery from art history, 20th century American pop culture, and my own life to reflect on intersectionality and perception.

Using highly-textured surfaces, I disrupt images to varying degrees depending on one’s proximity to the work, and am interested in shifts in perception as the viewer moves around the work. Beads, glitter, and other aggregates mixed into the paint come in and out of focus opposite the image, evoking the complexity of queer intersectionality juxtaposed with the assumptions one may make when viewing from a distance.

I am primarily an oil painter, my practice resting on a foundation of traditional Western painting, however I am interested in a queer sensibility that disrupts tradition with materials like nail polish, glitter, and beads. I welcome kitsch as a generative foil to “serious” art making, and embrace camp as the result of this practice.  


David Ayala is a Baltimore-based painter who explores relationships between queer aesthetics, Christian iconography, and human sensuality. Ayala combines traditional oil painting with non-traditional materials such as nail polish and glitter to subvert imagery borrowed from art history and pop culture. Ayala received a BFA in painting from the University of Iowa in 2020 and completed their MFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting in 2023.