Hunter Acton: Behind the Curtian

Artist Statement

I have always thought drag was a beautiful art form, but I didn’t know much about the process that went into its creation. In our current political climate where gender expression and performance are being criminalized, I wanted to bring the viewer behind the curtain into a drag performer’s personal space where they could see the creative aspects and artistry of crafting the persona.

In Behind the Curtain, I explore the intimate parts of drag to capture not only the performer but also their environment.  For this project I took inspiration from many sources including the photobook of Jess T. Dugan’s, Look at Me Like You Love Me. In this book Dugan combines portraits and still lives to tell a very personal story about relationships, solitude, family, loss, healing, and the transformations that define a life. I employed Dugan’s technique to include still lives of the drag performer’s room and the aftermath of the performance. Like in Dugan’s work, my photos capture the direct gaze of the subject, creating a connection with the viewer.

About the Project

  • Title of Work: Behind the Curtian
  • Medium: four 6" X 9" photographs
  • Student's Name: Hunter Acton
  • Major: General Studies
  • Anticipated Graduation Date: 24-Dec
  • Hometown: Columbia, Missouri
  • Student's Mentor: Madeleine LeMieux
  • Mentor's Department: Art


Sarah Ladd


Angie Lashley

Beautiful work Hunter!!

Angie Lashley

Awesome work Hunter