Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gay Artist or Artist that is Gay?

I received an email posing the question: "Do you considered yourself a gay artist or an artist that's gay?" artist or artist who is gay? That's something that I've never felt compelled to define for myself, though I have been asked. I think other people feel the need to define and categorize others more than they do themselves.

I often find that I get labeled or rather my art gets labeled as 'homoerotic', which in some cases is true, but I think I express more in my art than that narrow category indicates. I guess that 'typecasting' is more an issue for me than the "gay artist vs. artist that's gay" is.

My art and my homosexuality are so intertwined. Being gay and growing up and living in a society that barrages you with attitudes of abhorrence and condemnation and even legally treats you as a sub-citizen surely effects your personality. I think it played a big part in my development, my sensitivity, my introvertedness, and escaping into art. On the flip side my art became an expression of myself.

The fact that my art illustrates the world from a gay mans perspective is set in stone. Sure I have done other types of art. For instance I used to do portraits. In that case I would call myself a portrait artist that is gay, because I'm not really drawing from within, but when I create for myself it's my passions, my thoughts, fantasies, ideals that I render. Of course being gay isn't my only trait and I think that's why many in the GLBT community don't like to be defined solely by their sexuality since straight people aren't. Sure I'm gay but people also say I'm funny, but I don't call myself a 'funny' artist. It's because I choose to let the fact that I'm gay rise to the surface and spill out onto paper that 'gay artist' is perhaps the more fitting term.

Though, I understand how some artists might reject that label as it segregates and marginalizes them from the collective known simply as 'artists' and most of us have spent our lives being pushed to the outside of the group.

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