Artist Profile: Axton Burton

Person of European descent in straw hat with flowers in their mouth

Pronouns: They / Them

Axton is a non-binary Redmond local passionate about connecting the queer community and bringing life to the spontaneous ideas in their head. They founded Pride Across the Bridge, which organized the first Redmond Pride in 2022.

Coming To

I woke up when I was 16 years old. Before then, I took out my anger, confusion, and lack of terminology to identify myself out on my body and mind at every turn. “Tomboy” was the closest thing that my small town could call me – that, and “dyke”.

I discovered my sexual orientation at 16 when I learned that “gay” wasn’t just a bad word. This was when I started to come out of my shell. I can recall the moment my awakening turned into self-discovery and action at age 17:

While looking for cool haircuts on YouTube (in the early years!) , I saw “Skye’s Testosterone Transition, 1 Year” and loved this guy’s hair. But with every word that he shared of his story, I learned that he was speaking from my soul. It was then I knew that I was transgender.

I found no comfort or understanding from my family or peers, except my bff Anna! I so heavily wish I had the words beyond “a girl that likes to play with dirt.” to describe myself when I was younger.

With my combative teenage energy, I was thrilled to defy the boxes that those in my community put me in. Fighting to find support in family, friends, resources, and medical providers has been an ugly hell, but the second I had the words to put to myself, I got to work filtering out those who couldn’t see Me, and treasuring those who loved Me beyond just words.

I’ve spent every day and night since then finding myself and working to improve the lives of those who don’t have the support that they deserve.

I now have a beautiful husband of 10 years, (thank you!) an army of cats, rats, our dog Homie, and a family of friends who listen, care, and understand Me. I didn’t think that I would make it past 18 years old, but I am thrilled to be supporting my community, helping animals, and eating good food with wonderful people.

My Rat Boys

Two rats perched on the shoulder of a short-haired human in profile

Rats are inherently queer animals. So often misunderstood, they are associated with feelings of fear or disgust by people who conjure up the image of sewer mutant rats that caused the plague. This is not the case; fleas on rats caused the plague.

I have been rescuing senior rat boys for 10 years, and these little fellas absolutely have my heart. Such small beings filled with a stunning capacity to feel and express love, fear, frustration, sadness, and grief. Some boys come to me from homes that no longer have the time to care for them.

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Detail from “See You Again” bone art installation

rat skeleton in side view hung from curved branch

Rat bones and Redmond wood
Exhibited at Rainbow on the Eastside 2023

My boys often come to me as adults and only live 3-4 years on average. The heart and soul I give to them brings me to my art. My way of grieving, connecting and finding closure with these souls that go too soon is to give them a proper burial in our garden. Checking in on my dear departed boys, cleaning and honoring their bones gives me peace. My rat mobiles come from a place of love, longing, pain, and appreciation.


Spider and web  composed of rat bones arranged on round wooden background

Rat bones and otter tail bone on wood
Exhibited at Rainbow on the Eastside 2023

Creating a new life with what remains of my beloved rat boys brings me light, and hearing from the community how my creations bring them excitement and comfort is such a huge honor. I’m thrilled to be, for the first time in person, sharing some of my boys and creations with the public.

I have since worked with a cat, bats, a bunny, and an otter. Those who are lost too soon, and don’t receive the burials that they deserve, find rest in my garden, and love at Home.

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