HOUSTON NATIVE GROVER HOGAN IS NOT AFRAID of standing out. The non-binary artist, currently attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (where they're president of the Black Artist Student Union) has leaned into developing and embracing a unique personal style—and Hogan refuses to shy away from it, even at the expense of others' comfort.
What style advice do you have for readers?
Anyone can pull off anything. Being able to rock something just depends on how genuine it is to you. If you like it, wear it. Don’t limit yourself just because you’re afraid of what people will think. If you feign that confidence, you can pull it off until you actually become confident.
What inspires your artwork?
I mostly do work relating to identity—both my Mexican heritage and Black heritage, and my upbringing being raised Protestant. I went to Lakewood Church for most of my life as well as a Baptist church. That upbringing really influenced the way I think about myself and my identity, so my work mostly focuses on that idea. I do oil painting, acrylics, sculpture, and a [use] wide range of materials to show my ideas.
What inspires your style?
I was very into anime as when I was younger. I did a lot of cosplays which involve crazy makeup and making sure I get a look down precisely. My mother was very against me mixing patterns when I was little, but I constantly fought against that and she basically accepted it after a while. I was just really into patterns and costuming, and I now consider myself as, like, a constantly costumed being, so I try my best to always have a look every day. I'm really influenced by this e-girl and e-boy fad right now; I'm very into the chains and tight-fitting clothing and stripes and patterns. I'm also influenced by uniforms, like school uniforms or Boy Scout uniforms. I love colors and patterns, anything that looks very sharp and has some kind of weird style or flare to it. I just want something that says, look at me, but also I'm very much like, please don't look at me. It's a very weird tug and pull.
Do you get a sense of liberation from your beauty routine?
Yes, I absolutely love it because there is this point where you just kind of cross the line of life of like, wow, that person is in a costume, but after that point it gets really freeing. I really enjoy doing my makeup. I spend two hours getting dressed every single day just to come to work because I love the process of doing eyeliner and putting little stars on my face or fake freckles.
At what age did you begin experimenting with your style?
Well, my mother wouldn't let me do my makeup until I was 15—you know, "womanhood," quinceañeras—but that was the first time I did my makeup ever until cosplaying. I started off with YouTube tutorials, and then it kind of went crazier and crazier.
Do you find your look helps boost your self-confidence?
For sure. Before, I was very depressed because I had no control over anything. As you get older you get more freedom to figure out who you really are, and this is one of those things. It gives me a really big boost of confidence, and I know that's rooted in internalized misogyny or even racial pockets as well because a lot of makeup has to do with making yourself look more European. I understand that, but it also makes me feel like I have a sense of control over my own body. I can make my own body into the custody of this artwork and not feel like it's something that weighs me down, because I feel like oftentimes bodies can be something that are very politicized, almost like a battleground for yourself or for other people. You may think I look kind of crazy, but I'm actually having a lot of fun with myself, and I didn't have that before.
What are your favorite things to do in Houston?
I'm really into roller derby; I love going to the Dairy Ashford Roller Rink. My friends and I typically go to the Contemporary Art Museums. They made a Stone Wall exhibit that I absolutely loved this past summer.
Who is your style icon?
Oh my God, Rico Nasty. I'm in love with her. I love how she just mixes punk and rock fashion. Also, she just liberated every emo black girl, and I really appreciate her for that.
If you had only 10 minutes to get ready, what would be your go-to beauty products?
If I only had 10 minutes to get ready, which has happened many times, my go-to beauty products would be good old Cantu cream for my hair, any liquid eyeliner (typically Sephora brand waterproof liner), Tarte blush (and pack it on!), and eyebrow filler—a must no matter what.