Coming out as gay opened my perception and understanding of masculinity, sexuality and gender. Using interactions and experiences with male behaviour in both straight and gay men, I critique the broad expressions of masculinity. Such aspects are the unrealistic displays of masculinity and the pressures to attain it. The association between homosexuality and narcissism by casting sex between men as the very image of self-mirroring and the self-scrutiny and objectification the male body is subjected to. My work also celebrates the beauty found in the male form and the expression of queer sensibility.
Using imagery of paradise and pastoral settings to represent my own psyche, I construct these landscapes to express the sexual confidence I have found, and the effect aggressive masculinity has on me. This aggressiveness is expressed through imagery of monoliths that represent the destruction skewed ideas of masculinity can cause. I convey this through the guise of Greek mythology and antiquity. The use of bird motifs represents Fisherian Runaway in men. Fisherian Runaway is a sexual selection mechanism found in birds to account for the evolution of exaggerated male ornamentation by persistent female choice. This sexual mechanism is explored through visuals to express the performative habits of masculinity and how it influences male behaviour.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your work
I studied printmaking and contemporary practice at Limerick School of Art and Design where i grduated in November. This course gave me the freedom to experiment with many different types of printmaking techniques, both traditional and digital. This is how I leant my interests in photography, video, silkscreen and collage. I try to combine as much of these techniques and mediums as I can when I am creating. I am inspired by animals, nature, films, fashion, history and mythology. Such artists that influence me are Frida Khalo, Hans Bellmer, Derek Jarman, wilhelm von gloeden, James Bidgood and many others. I always had a liking for surrealist art and take a lot of compositional ideas and displays of the human body from classical, renaissance and rococo art.
What is your working process?
My process for making art changes quick and often depending on what I am trying to create. I mix collage, photography and silkscreen printing processes together often. I would jump from one process to another and the imagery starts piecing together sort of like a puzzle. When it comes to my collage process and gathering my imagery, it is a more meticulous and strict process. I do not use the internet for imagery collecting, I get the majority of my collage pieces from my own photography, natural geographic magazines, postcards, wrappers, zines, photography books and any other kinds of photo books of interest. After I cut them out I then scan them into photoshop to adjust colours and I can then reprint them with higher quality paper and cut them out again if needs be.Being an artist is like being a chameleon, research can dive me deep in historical figure and events, while the next day I can act like a scientist mixing different liquids and chemical processes to achieve different colours, reactions and results during printmaking. A small scissors, a scalpel and glue are the things i can't live without while creating.
I don't really know how I navigate the art world or even know how to. I just graduated so the college bubble just popped and i'm still new and fresh to big bad world, let alone the art world, but it's all a learning process. Even doing this magazine interview about my art is new to me. Come back to in five years and ask me the same question.
What do you feel the role an artist has in society?
I believe that the role of an artist of any medium in society is to express their ideas and feelings through the visual language. Artists maintain and evolve culture with each new artwork made which I think is an important pillar of society.