Photos by Ash Gerlach
Oxymajor (äksi•mel•dȷ r)
Someone whose hobby or skill is completely unrelated to their course of study, but they do it anyways.
Comics are kind of a visual supplementing the written because some of my family doesn’t speak Spanish and some of them don’t speak English, so to be able to fill in the gaps with visuals was really intriguing.
Peyton Del Toro is a masters student in the department of women’s gender and sexuality studies on track to earn her PhD. When she’s not studying, she makes her own comics and travels the country choreographing All Star Cheer.
Del Toro’s area of study focuses on lesbian representation in pop culture, and she’s all about combining her (many) interests with her academic experience and using art as an outlet for exploring her identity.
I’m lucky to be at OSU because there’s so much support to incorporate comics into the classroom, I want to keep bridging that gap because comics are kind of seen as this lesser form of literature/art, where people don’t take them as seriously as they should.
Del Toro’s comics are inspired by her own experiences with language, family, and identity. She uses art as a visual language that brings people together. Her art has been published in ¿Qué Pasa, Ohio State?, a magazine that focuses on making space for Latinx scholarship and community.
“Comics are kind of a visual supplementing the written because some of my family doesn’t speak Spanish and some of them don’t speak English, so to be able to fill in the gaps with visuals was really intriguing.”
Del Toro finds time to draw on airplanes while she travels the country working with kids as a choreographer for All Star Cheer.
I really value opinions and experiences of children, and I think we should, as a society, be listening to them more. I guess I want them to be part of my conversation, and comics can be a really interesting way to do that.
Finding a balance between the physicality of All Star Cheer choreography and the mental exercise of being an artist and masters student is hard, but Peyton finds connections between all of her passions and goals.
Her advice for people who want to explore art? “Just do it! I think there’s a lot of ways to do art. Makeup, Instagram stories – I think anything that engages with the way that you’re experiencing the world can be considered art, and I think it’s really important that people share whatever that is to them.”
Learn more about Peyton by following her Instagram, @peytondeltoro. Want to be our next Oxymajors subject? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate yourself or a friend.