The Ybor Cock

By Samantha Gottlich

Original artwork by Samantha Gottlich.

In 2017, at the age of 20, I was diagnosed with Lupus and Chronic Pericarditis. I had heart surgery and had to take about two years off school to focus on my health. I began painting to free myself of the pain. 

My paintings shifted from large canvases to hand painted buttons, which I have showcased at Boston Pride, Worcester Pride, Worcester Youth Pride, Nashua Pride, and Chelmsford Pride. I began to use my artistic abilities to spread messages of love, kindness, and fighting for equality. I use my art to tell stories of LGBTQ equality, Lupus advocacy, racial equality, and building support for financially vulnerable communities. 

My mission with my art is to bring peace of mind to others. My art name is NROR ART, which stands for “No Rhyme or Reason.” I empower others to live with no rhyme or reason: to embrace the unique, to fight for your beliefs, and to be 100% you because there’s no rhyme or reason to anything, so live absolutely fully and wholeheartedly. 

The Ybor Cock is extremely meaningful to me. While healing from my surgery and painting, I traveled to Tampa to showcase my art with a local gallery. I was at the Ybor Market, a huge art district with little wild roosters everywhere. I had a little table in the market place with my paintings and buttons. It seemed like no one was coming by. As I was thinking of ways to get people interested, the annual Tampa Pride parade filled the streets and thousands of happy, passionate people and their energy filled the area. 

I knew what I had to do: express myself. Show my art in motion. Be free. I took a look at the energy (and all the wild roosters) around me, and began to live paint in the center of the market place. I threw paint at myself, on the canvas, on my clothes. I began to dance to the music, and paint my heart out. I was filled with the freedom of being my authentic self, with no rhyme or reason. 

I painted my first live painted piece, the Ybor Cock, a symbol of individuality and the freedom of self-expression.

Samantha Gottlich

Samantha Gottlich is an artist and advocate creating under the name of NO RHYME OR REASON ART (NROR ART). Through art, she promotes unapologetic self-expression, lupus and autoimmune disease advocacy, LGBTQIA equality and pride, racial equality and justice, and the betterment of our planets’ ecosystems and sustainability.