Neil Daigle Orians

Neil Writes Things

Occasionally, I write things. Some of these are published formally, some of them less-formally, and others are only on here. To commission something, contact me.

Posts in Essay
A Quiet Roar: "Build a house, dig a hole"

My initial reaction to Build a house, dig a hole is intrigue. Moments of recognizable characters (a hand, a ceiling fan, a chair, a face, etc.) come in and out of legibility, forcing me to wonder what is actually going on in these works. Abstractions muddy the imagery in the paintings, prints, and sculptures (if there was any to begin with). Each artist is interested in flattening or condensing information from bodies, spaces, and objects.

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UConn School of Fine Arts Hooding Ceremony 2019

Even in my own kushy nonprofit arts administration job, I am never not working. Cultural workers are the pinnacle of hustle culture -- always working towards the next “thing”. Sometimes it can be self-destructive, I admit, and we do need to learn how to practice self-care. But at the same time, there’s something inside us all that pushes us to continue.

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Unstretched Facsimiles: Mateo Nava

Aesthetically, the imagery launches an attack on our nostalgia. In addition to collaged and transferred imagery that appear taken from a photo albums, various hues hint at history, a time back when. The wooden paneling in Fotos De Pasaporte takes me back to sleepover at my great uncle Herman’s farm in Plymouth, Nebraska. The blue tints of Miledy feel like posters faded due to sunlight, while the bright orange and pink in Dos Por Uno feel like a 90s display of pop albums in a Best Buy (and rightfully so).

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Aggressive Vulnerabilities, Part 2: Sympathy and Empathy

Sometimes, we don’t have control over these moments, and even those things we go through to fix or change them don’t fully work. I am on antidepressants and have been flirting with therapy (currently out of it but that’s an entirely different essay altogether about my lack of self care practices), but it’s not perfect. The remedies aren’t immediate, and they certainly aren’t always 100% effective.

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How I Became My Own Ex-Gay Therapist (Part 1)

Through prayer, shame, and self-abuse, I became my own ex-gay therapist. The therapy didn’t have a chance to go as far as self-harm, but I hated myself enough to feel like it did. I was terrified. I couldn’t imagine telling anyone about what I was going through. The idea of discussing something so shameful, so sinful, so sexual with anyone involved in the church was mind numbing in how much it scared me. This needed to be a cross I would bear myself.

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From Hankies to Hashtags

Something that always fascinated me is how directly connected digital cruising is to traditional cruising. There are obvious similarities, such as anonymously searching for sex in public spaces, but on a deeper level, they both fundamentally run on the same idea; coded language in plain site. Traditional cruising is less direct and requires a certain je-ne-sai-quoi. The perfectly placed hand on the groin, a wink, watching him lick his lips from across a room, the head nod as a “follow me.”

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