Ever since I was a little kid, I have wanted to be an artist. It has helped me process everything: my parents divorce, me discovering my gender identity and sexuality, my mental health, and more. Creating photographic and printmaking work has helped me express myself in a way that allows others to understand what I am discussing through my art, whether they can relate or not. I have become an educator of the queer perspective and I will present that information to whomever enters with an open mind. My photographs primarily discuss what it is like to be nonbinary in a world that has not been accepting of those who are genderfluid as well as questioning social standards and expectations. My printmaking shows the mental hardships in an unfair world. The work has to show us as a strong and thriving community, through the constant microaggressions that threaten to invalidate our existence. I use art to create a space of affirmation for those who are twos in a world of ones and zeros, and a space of inclusivity and understanding for those who don’t.


AJ Schnettler is a nonbinary, multi-racial photographer and printmaker born and raised on the South Shore of Long Island. They decided to get a new perspective on life and education by moving to the West Coast for their BFA. They received their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography with a minor in Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2019. Their work is based around what one does to provide self-acceptance, whether through identity or the space surrounding them, and how to feel at peace overcoming negative social and cultural pressure, as well as, work discussing mental health. Specifically, depression and anxiety in relation to body dysmorphia, social standards, and childhood trauma. Their printmaking work discusses the topics of depression and anxiety. They have shown work with the Texas Photo Society and PRPG.MX. They have received the Silver Artist Award from the Canadian Magazine, ArtAscent, in their February 2021 issue Portraits, have work in the permanent collection of the Kruizenga Art Museum, and are featured in Ikouii Creative’s second edition of their book Inside Their Studio: Deaf and Disabled Artists Reshaping the Arts. They can be found in the directories of Visionary Art Collective, Now Be Here Art, and Asian American Women Arts Association. They are currently an artist in residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California.