It was the opening night of the Trans/Forms exhibition last night, and what a wonderful night it was! We had intense and beautiful live art from Raju Rage and exciting and celebratory drumming from Afon Sistema, which took us out of the gallery and through to the canteen to entertain unsuspecting punters. The co-created memorial for transgender day of remembrance had a good start on it, and is looking really beautiful. It’s great to see my Man Cunt paintings framed and on the wall for the first time,
and I was very excited to see Ludo Foster’s beautiful, subtle drawings and Rachel Green’s bright and bold sculptures alongside each other. Altogether it’s so great to see such an eclectic mix of amazing work by trans people altogether in one place!
I’m so grateful to all the people who believed in the project and supported
it, and I’m so happy that we were able to manifest such a powerful and beautiful thing. Thank you to all the artists for being willing to show themselves through their work, to CoResist who I worked in collaboration and who worked out a lot of the practical stuff, to the coexist gallery managers for being so accommodating, and to my friends and housemates for putting up with me for the last week.
This is the first time I’ve done something like this and I’ve certainly learnt a lot, there are a lot of things I’d do differently at future events. I’m very open to feedback, it would be really great if people could let me know what they think works/worked well and what could be improved and I’ll strive to accept feedback with grace and not take it personally (unless it’s from someone being transphobic in which case they can fuck right off).
To see us into the next week I thought I’d share these pictures I took of one of the paintings as I made it from the initial sketch of basic shapes to the finished piece, showing the process of building shape and form using many layers of colour. I used watered down acrylic paint, and I don’t mix shades at all but use the layering to create different shades Click below the line to see.
Hello! So in the last week I’ve started a new painting project I’ve subtly titled Man Cunt, which is basically what you would think it is. These close up acrylic paintings of my genitals are probably going to be studies for a larger painting or series of paintings, and I’m also planning on using them as the basis for a piece to submit to this prize on the theme of taboo. See below the cut for images and more info.
I know I’ve been very quiet on here for a while now, I’ve been doing lots of things and I’m planning a post taking about them all but I wanted to share this one now. I post more frequently on my Facebook page, follow me there to see what I’m up to day to day!
New painting! This is the first in what I’m hoping will be an ongoing project: the subject is a friend of mine who is transgender, after interviewing him about his relationship with his body I translated these thoughts and feelings into a body painting, and used photos from that as the basis for this painting. He was just about to have his mastectomy when I took the pictures, and I’ll do the same process in a month or so once he’s healed to make a dyptic.
My intention with this series is to explore a way to document and express people’s experience of being transgender/transsexual. Very often the focus is on appearance and aesthetics, with a focus on how well they “pass”. I’m trying to move beyond this, with expressive paintings with elements of abstraction, using the body itself as a canvas to speak about itself.
Often trans people feel like our bodies are our enemies – not all trans people experience physical dysphoria, but for those who do it can be overwhelming and affect everything about how they exist in the world. When we are able to take control of our bodies, whether through hormones/surgery or simply by how we present ourselves, we are able to come to peace and to flourish.
I I have purposely chosen to focus on my subject’s current experience rather than their history, so creating a snapshot in time. I feel like very often trans people are defined more by our history than our present; the questions people want to ask are about when we first knew, how our parents reacted etc. To me these questions are incredibly dull and don’t really communicate much about what it means to live one’s life as a trans person, especially for someone who came out and transitioned a long time ago.
Hopefully I’ll be doing more of these, so do watch this space, and get in touch if you’re trans and you’d like to be a model
These aren’t great pictures, but I wanted to share what I’ve been doing and it might be a while before I can get descent scans. I’ve still been painting in acrylic on canvases, but I’ve been doing abstract monochrome/duochrome paintings. These are the first two I’ve finished that I’m really pleased with. My focus is on flow and shape, creating a feeling of organic movement across the canvas, building up layers with a roller to get texture and depth. I’m really loving doing abstract painting, it feels so liberating to not be constrained by representation. It feels more like dance, focusing on the form and the composition and seeing how the shapes want to flow around and across the canvas. It also feels like it matches my new year’s resolution to not attempt to be an art business or to sell my work, or at least not do it in a way that puts pressure on me to produce work in a certain way. I was a bit worried that doing these paintings would “confuse the brand”, but now I know that I’m *not* a brand, I’m an artist, and if I want to produce good work I need to follow my own flow without putting perimeters onto it. I want to just play, to focus on creating and to see where my work takes me. This new style of painting feels very apt for this!
I’ve also found myself thinking about abstraction, and what it means for these pictures. There’s part of me that really resents the idea of people trying to see anything pictorial in them, although I know I have no control over this. I definitely have no desire to give them names that might even hint at an idea or an atmosphere. As far as I’m concerned a name or an image or an idea that there is an idea outside of the piece which it is representing would distract from it. They are flowing lines and shapes, and the relationship that each person who encounters them has with them is their own.
This is a fascinating video, I listened to it while oscillating between thinking they were being old curmudgeons and that they were getting it bang on. I think it’s a little of both, and I also think it’s just what I needed to hear right now. Even if these new upstarts aren’t destroying art and painting I’m definitely feeling more aligned to the attitude these four have!