Why Queer Art?
As a figurative artist I get a lot of questions about why I use the imagery I use, particularly if it is homoerotic, and why is it that I choose to create artwork that is so… Gay?
It’s a really good question, because as an artist I have absolute freedom to follow my creative process wherever it leads me, and I could easily choose to make artwork that has a much broader appeal. The reason I feel so passionately opposed to making “less gay” art, and instead making artwork that is reflective of my sexuality and queer identity is that I feel like it is the area which I have the most to contribute to creatively.
There are infinite genres and motifs that artists can and do express, from traditional still life to abstract expressionism and everything in between. For each genre and motif there are scores of artists who find inspiration and expression in that form. This diversity of art and artists is wonderful and I believe it is a great reflection of our times that such a diversity can exist and thrive! I also feel like because we live in a time where there is so much artistic freedom it makes it my duty as an artist to make the kind of art that really speaks to me.
I believe the arts act as a mirror which reflects the state of the society in which the art was created. For me seeing queer visibility in the arts was absolutely vital to finding a link to my own culture and identity.
Queer culture is unique in that it encompasses the entire spectrum of humanity, all sexes, races and creeds, but queer people are born into heterosexual families and culture, and must seek each other out. The best way I’ve heard it described was by Professor Gregory Mattson who said that: Gay people are the only group who are immigrants into their own culture. Society as a whole has come a long way towards acceptance and visibility but queer people still need those beacons that show our existence and tell our stories. I make queer art to create those beacons and tell those stories.