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Gunner Sizemore (He/Him)

Artist Bio

Gunner Sizemore is a fine arts & commercial photographer based in the Mississippi Delta. Born & raised in Cleveland, MS, Sizemore began studying photography in 2017 while building his personal business, Gunner Sizemore Photography, which has become one of the top photographer brands in the Mississippi Delta. After graduating with a BFA in photography & graphic design in 2020, Sizemore dedicated most of his time to supporting his alma mater, Delta State University, and continuing his photography business. In 2022, however, Sizemore decided to return to school in pursuit of an MFA in Studio Art. In his personal time, he enjoys spending time with his boyfriend & family, and is always planning his next trip to the rodeo.

Artist Statement

I have spent much of my life attending and acknowledging a world that I felt familiar with but was never home to: rodeo. In the rodeo community, you pray, sing the National Anthem about our great country, talk about the Republicans in office and how we hope they’ll fix things, all before any cowboy touches the arena dirt. To this world, my sexuality is a taboo. Through the Gate, In the Arena reveals a different side of the rodeo, one that is little known, and one I only recently discovered.

Most people would not assume that these two worlds collided in any way; it was only until I began this project that I realized that gay rodeo existed. While I still am happy going to straight rodeos, the disappointment in those years is what drives me to create the work in this project. I always wondered if any of those cowboys/cowgirls were like me when they rode a bull or ran barrels.

The title for the project, Through the Gate, In the Arena, comes from the idea of traveling through the chutes behind the scenes of the gay rodeo while also metaphorically calling to the difficulty of everyday life as a queer. The action of stepping through the gate is only the beginning while the arena has the possibility of fun, terror, and worry alongside being watched throughout your duration there.