Say her name: November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance 

I wept the day I learned of Shade Schuler’s death. I’d never met her, hadn’t seen her picture until that morning, but I’d just finished the portraits of Lamia Beard, Ty Underwood, Jazmin Vash Payne, Taja de Jesus, Penny Proud, Bri Golec, Kristina Gomez Reinwald, London Chanel, Mercedes Williamson and India Clarke. The quick succession of portraits brought only sadness; death lingers heavily on the United States.

In just weeks, more names were added to the list of those destroyed: K.C. Haggard, Amber Monroe, Elisha Walker, Kandis Capri, Ashton O’Hara, Tamara Dominguez, Jasmine Collins, Keyshia Blige, Keisha Jenkins, and Zella Ziona.

Transgender women face a one in twelve chance of being murdered in the United States; Transgender women of color have a one in eight chance.

#SayHerName is a twenty-one piece set of 18 x 24 watercolor and ink portraits of Trans Women killed in the Untied States during 2015. Each piece is painted in reds and blues with negative white space as a dra- matic contrasting element. This red, white and blue color scheme reflects the citizenship of the women and the culture that produced their deaths. Paint is splattered across the pristine white of each page, representing the violence each woman faced. The backgrounds number their murders as reported (not the order that they occurred).

K. Ryan Henisey is a queer artist in Los Angeles. The art in his #ArtToEndViolence collection celebrates a passion for important and challenging social justice issues juxtaposed against a veneer of pop art. The superficiality of the genre draws attention to the violence perpetuated against communities marginalized by the dominant culture by forcing the viewer to confront what is meaningful.

Dear family 

Tyler Clementi was driven to suicide for being gay. When we excuse hate-driven language and actions, young people die.

Dear family,

I don’t know what to say to you because the things that you say to others and the things you don’t say to me already ring with the sounds hate, discrimination, and everything you taught us not to be. 

I see when you comment on news articles. They trickle through my feed. 

I see your posts to each other. They’re difficult not to read. 

I can see the things you like and the people in your life. 

I can see when you do nothing. 

I can see you. 

I can see. 

Bri Golec was murdered by her father for being Trans.

Your gleeful support of men and platforms which have clearly stated their hatred for Queers, Muslims, Black Americans, women, and the disabled is confusing and upsetting. 

That support echoes: at worst, of the bully-boys on the school yard teasing me to tears; at best, of the silent, sneering children as the others called their jeers. 

Would you see me converted through electroshock therapy? 

Am I to blame, in my queerness, for the nation’s faults? 

Do you believe that our fellow citizens should register based on their religion? 

Or that women are objects for men to taunt and abuse? 

Do you believe that a publicly operating business should be able to turn me away simply for a perception of queerness? 

And for that matter, do you even support my right to marry? 

Do you think I’m evil? 

How do I help you see that there is no difference between some discrimination and totally oppression.

Your behavior, your silence, and your support for these men and platforms leads me believe that the answer to each is yes. 

Yes to torture and to blame. Yes to abuse and to discrimination. Yes to the perception of evil. 

Dear family. I don’t know what to say to you because the things that you say to others and the things you don’t say to me already ring with the sounds hate, discrimination, and everything you taught us not to be. 

Out of the Darkness: Taming violence through painted story

I’m working on something new. 

But it reminds me of my ongoing, illustrative, fine art series, Out of the Darkness. 

The Coming of Man

The series explores the taming of violence through global mythology. We are living in the safest times our species has ever known and we strive to do more. These tales of woe are, in many ways, tales of what we have overcome. 

Sedna the Seawitch


The Birth of Creation

Each piece in the series is watercolor and ink on 140lb paper, 18×24 inches. The first five pieces won second place at South Bay Contemporary’s ‘All Things Condidered’ exhibition, 2014, curated by Scott Canty, formerly the director of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park. 

K Ryan Henisey is a Los Angeles area artist. His watercolor and mix media works explore the human experience. 

Portraits link the past and the present 

When they come, black booted and their sirens blazing, the community shuts its doors and draws its curtains tight. To the neighborhood, emergency sounds mean another black boy may die tonight.
On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice was shot and killed by two police officers.

Tamir was in a park, with his toy gun. When the call was made to emergency services, Tamir was described as “a male sitting on a swing and pointing a gun at people,” “probably a juvenile.” Tamir was fired upon twice, fatally struck once in the torso. The investigation into Tamir’s death is ongoing but failures of justice and controversy surrounding police-involved deaths of other African American children has caused unrest in neighborhoods throughout the United States.

Tamir was 12 years old. This occurred in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hands up. Don’t shoot.


Parts of #BlueHolocaust are currently on display at Betti Ono Gallery as part of Viral: RK25, recalling 25 years of police brutality. The piece is six 20×20 watercolor and ink portraits in black frames. $7,200. Ten percent of the artists profits will be donated to support social justice in the US. 

K Ryan Henisey is a protest artist living in West Hollywood, California. His art often confronts violence faved by marginalized communities. 

Fine art in Fall colors 

Growing up in the high desert means you really only experience two seasons – hot and windy or cold and windy.
Spring and fall like to vacillate between the two, sometimes changing their temperament — and the temperature — in the course of an hour.

On this first day of fall, I’m reminded of those bygone days during the change of seasons. The wind is always fierce along the edge of the Mohave, but the gifts of the desert carry their own beauty.

Orange, yellow and pink are favorite colors. The desert likes to wear them in the early hours of the morning. Her blossoms blush in the vibrant hues, creating poppies and lupines among the sagebrush and chaparral.

The morning that inspired this painting, Sunrise Highway 138, I was driving to work from my brother’s farm. Being a school-teacher, I had created an intimate relationship with the dawn.

The sky was alive, reminiscent of the wildfires that rage through the region. Ahead, where it met the railroad tracks, the highway turned at a right angle. A train was slowly crossing the valley floor and the rising sun caught between the steel beams of the chugging cars.

For a moment, I was a boy again. The work was fresh and new. A great train stood before me and I was struck by the wonders of our time.

For just that moment — those infinitesimally short seconds — I felt a sense of awesome smallness within the universe. That feeling of being small connected me to the beam of light and I was myself and the train and the sun and the earth and all things. Then I blinked and the world was as it always is.

Sunrise Highway 138, is watercolor on 140lb cotton paper, six by nine inches. The original painting normally retails for $145 but is on sale for $75 through Fall 2016. Contact the artist directly at for purchase inquiries. Sale prices include shipping but exclude frames.


K Ryan Henisey is a fine artist who lives in West Hollywood, California. His protest works are currently on display at Betti Ono Gallery in Oakland and at the Kellogg Art Gallery at Cal Poly Pomona. An ongoing exhibition of Slumbering Sea is on display at the Newhall Aquarium in Santa Clarita.