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Monday, 20 March 2017

Latest video explaining all the secrets to their Universe!


Is the title click bait? A little, you won't discover secrets of the Universe. You will hopefully, get a better understanding of how I created this image inspired by 'Aristotle and Dante discover the Secrets to the Universe' by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
I've created a little video walking through the image and all the bits which I incorporated into the image itself. Have you read the story? If you let me know your favourite bit! I feel in love with this story so hard!

If you want to see my favourite quotes from the story click here to reach my Facebook group! There is also some images from other people there, fan art all inspired by this amazing story.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe book review

I've just uploaded a new video reviewing 'Artistotle and Dante discover the Secrets of the Universe' by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. It's such a beautiful story! It will make your soul weep with joy. Here is the latest image which I created in response to the book. 
This book is wonderful for those who are struggling with their sexual identity or parents who are struggling to understand what their child is going through. If your a parent thinking 'help my son is gay, what do I do!' read this book and it will help you understand it from their perspective.

If you're based in the North West of England, you can access direct support as well through the ProudTrust they also have some great online resourse as well.

I've also uploaded my favourite quotes which you can check out on my Facebook group here

Monday, 13 March 2017

New Video Available Closet Case by Robert Rodi explained



I've just uploaded a new video explaining the image I created in response to the book 'Closet Case' by Robert Rodi. Please feel free to check it out, if you have any questions about the piece let me know I would love to know your thoughts! 

In case you are new to this project I am uploading videos on a Wednesday reviewing fiction with queer characters at the heart of the stories. You can take part as well by linking in with my Facebook group which you can find here. I upload regular quotes from the stories involved and provide fan art images from the titles I'm exploring.

If you want to see what I'm working on at the moment check out my Instagram account as I upload images of works in progress there. You can see them here or search for the hash tag #bookdraw 



Friday, 10 March 2017

Closet Case by Robert Rodi


Hello! I've uploaded a reveiw of Closet Case by Robert Rodi you should definitely check it out! I found this book in a second hand shop when I was sixteen. I had just come out to my friends and family, it was all very scary and new. I saw the title and thought I wonder what if this is what I think it's about? and it was. At the time it was a real relief to know wasn't alone with the thoughts and feelings I had. His journey and coming out story was certainly funnier than mine but it was easy to identify with someone who was being their most authentic self.
It's all about Lionel Frank who works in a marketing agency in the 90s and is a massive gay, but doesn't want anyone to know because he doesn't want it to impact negatively on him. What I didn't mention in the video (and should have) is that their is another really key character in the whole story- Donna.

The reason why Donna is important is because she represents living your authentic self. She's a bit of a 'role model' character in the story and I just erased her from my review and art work (sorry!). I did the video ages ago though and hadn't thought about her importance at the time. But I will go back to the image later and incorporate her into the final image.

So Donna is 'out' at the work place a visible, Lesbian. Lionel freaks out at the start of the story because he was at a gay bar and she saw him. He completely over reacts and tries to make it appear that he was there for other reasons (making himself look even more suspicious). Donna is also Deaf and Lionel gets paranoid her lip reading abilities (he is on the other side of a gaybar talking to a friend). He thinks that she must have seen that he was talking about how he intends to take his colleague Tracy on a date to 'The Trippy' Award's dinner as a date (to help hide his true sexual identity).    

"He should've been more careful of her. He'd known Donna was gay from the day she started- everyone knew it. To look at her was to know it (She wore a crew cut and had shoulders like a linebacker! She wore Doc Marten boots! She chewed tobacco!) And the relentless, increasingly filthy dyke jokes that had since been told behind her (literally behind her back, as there was no danger of her overhearing them) had the effect of pushing Lionel fathrt and fathrt into his metaphorical closet, until he was trapped behind metaphorical tennis rackets and ski boots and piles of old, metaphorical magazines, utterly and hopelessly trapped." p21-22

Remember that this was the 90s and you could either be like Lionel and hide in the closet or you could be brave like Donna and say 'this is who I am'. Donna's character can bes described as a sterotypical 'dyke ' as something pejorative. She was however an open and visible character in a working environment and although excluded and bullied for being who she is, she was still working in that office. Donna continues to feature at different key parts of the book.

 He had the option of approaching Donna confiding in her and gaining an alley but instead, he distances himself from her because he is threatened by her just for being so visible and comfortable in who she is. Had Lionel come out and confided in her he probably would have never got himself into the mess that he does. It is however also uncertain that if he had come out, would he have been able to secure the job he does later in the story or does he actually gain job security because of nepotism (because one of the directors' son is gay.) 

The question I have for myself now is, how do I represent Donna in the image? I like the triangulation between Lionel, Emil and Tracy in the image. I think I will incorporate her as a symbol similar to the spear I added to represent the antagonist of the story, Bob. I'm contemplating adding in a pair of Doc Martins outside of the frame. The she is outside of the drama but I'm not sure?  If you're reading this let me know what you think?





Friday, 3 March 2017

Never Going Underground Launch

 
People’s History Museum launched their incredible exhibition Never Going Underground celebrating 50 years of the end to the Sexual Offensives Act. It's open until September so go check it out!
(Lord Mayor Carl Austin-Behan and his husband Simon Austin-Behan)
There is so much to see and enjoy with this exhibition and it’s a testament to the curating of staff and community involvement that have created a range of voices and content revealing so much of our important history.
The most poignant piece in the exhibition for me was seeing the above poster Lesbian and Gays Support the Miner’s poster art for 1985 Pride March event in Hyde park. Not just because of the recent pride march but because on the poster it states '16 not 21'. This made me really emotional because I was born in 1985 and made me remember the entire length of my childhood other people we're campaigning for my rights. 
Before I went to college I came out (feeling particularly sexually curious having just come out) I was relieved to hear that they had just lowered the age of consent to 16 making it acceptable by law to start having sex with other men. It’s kind of crazy to think that they were campaign before I was born and not changed until 2000 when they successfully able to reduce the age of consent for same-sex relations between men to the Sexual Offences (Amendment Act (2000). 
I literally grew up through all those campaigns and changes and was allowed to join in with my friend on our first sexual conquests.
Here is a few snaps when I went around the exhibition. There are fun interactive elements like adding suggestions to their Spotify list of LGBT related tunes and game of frustration which relates to the experiences and challenges of sexual and gender identity. They also give you the opportunity to create your own t-shirt as I modeled- (ta-dah!).
I loved the sheer range of poster art peppered with video of individual accounts of people personal history.
The launch event was so impressive. I was told that over 600 people had accepted the RSVP it certainly felt like there was more. It was really fun to see a lot of active LGBT representatives all under one roof. It was introduced by the Chair of People's History Museum Baroness Jan Royalland opened by Sir Ian McKellen. 


He was very inspiring to listen to you can watch a slice here. Apologies for shaky, wobbly quality! I had a few drinks and I was with some friends but at least you get some of the raw footage. What was particularly striking to hear was the current figures of homeless LGBT people. McKellen said 150 young people were recorded in Manchester last year which sounds incredibly high.
video
It was all finished off my some glorious songs provided by Manchester Lesbian and Gay Chorus here is another little slice with Something Inside So Strong.
  video
The exhibition is also complemented by Paralle Republic: The Art of Civil Disobedience which is an exhibition of Syrian art and citizen journalism. Conscientious artistic creation is a danger our act in Syria. When, in 2011 , a group of school children were arrested and tortured for writing “Ash-sha’b yurid isquat an-nizam” (“The people want to overthrow the regime”) on the walls         Of Dera’a.
The act sparked renewed Syrian protest and uprising at the Arab spring. As the war rages on and under the weight of this oppression, countless artists, musician and activists were standing up to be seen and heard, dealing with the chaos of war through painting, illustration, photography, film, graffiti and music. The exhibition was curated by Sarah Faraday and Ibrahim Fakhri and eveloped from an exhibition which took place at Fuse Art Space (Bradford) in 2014, and also gratefully acknowledges and builds on the work carried out through the exhibition “Culture in Defiance”, held at Rich Mix in London and the Prince Claus Fund Gallery in Amsterdam, (with thanks to Malu Halasa and Zaher Omareen.)
 
I particularly loved Khalil Younes who created a series Revolution 2011 using pen and ink portraits of famous martyrs from the  a voice anymore because they were killed, jailed or have fled uprising.
 
The work is supposed to ‘articulate the emotions of those who don’t have a voice because they were killed, jailed or have fled the country’. The work has totally inspired me and I definitely will be influenced by this work in future images that I make!
 I also really enjoyed spending time looking at this piece by the collective Alshaab Alsori Aref Tarekh.
The collective was created by a fine art student from Damascus University and a young calligrapher from the countryside outside of Hama who made posters for the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt when demonstrations began in their home country of Syria. They were soon joined by other Syrian artists and are now the anonymous fifteen member-strong poster collective known as Alshaab Alsori Aref Tarekh (‘The Syrian People Know Their Way’).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

OUTing the past at People’s History Museum: The National Festival of LGBT History

On Sunday I went to OUTing the past at People’s HistoryMuseum: The National Festival of LGBT History. They had a great programme across two spaces and lots of tours going on during the day for their new exhibition Never Going Underground. You can follow all the latest on this exhibition and tweets from the festival using the hashtag #NGU2017.
 
The day was opened by the very handsome campaigner and activist Stuart Milk. I joined the day a little later and checked out Blurring the Lines: Trans representation and gender expression in rock music which was led by Kate Hutchinson from Wipe Out Transphobia; She was fantastic.
A total music buff I loved her energy and passion for music of the period. She really described what it was like growing up in the 80s being surrounded by all these artists who challenged gender binaries and found freedom of expression and identity through performance and lyrics. Of course David Bowie, Boy George was mentioned on several occasions as well as the Kinks who I was very familiar with through my parents and their friends.
 But she also introduced a load of stuff which I was less familiar with or had never had exposure too. Like New York Dolls, Suzi Quatro  and Against You. 
She looked at Punk and Goth culture and the ever increasing comeback hair styles the both men and women adorned at the time.
Then I checked out Jenny White discussing the invisibility of Lesbian women in history (You should check out her blog to just click here).  She gave a range of account where by women on women action was not accounted for as it wasn’t possible for women to have penetrative sex with each other. It was considered a disturbing vice between men. There was also the 1811 case Miss Pirie and Miss Woods v. Dame Cumming Gordon. White described how men thought of women as a lower rank than men and were not perceived as a threat to them so were often dismissed as innocent beings.

“There is no indecency in one woman going to bed with another.”   
“The crime of one woman giving the other the clitoris… is a crime which is impossible in this country to commit.”

Sexual acts were consider only something that foreign women performed and a small minority at that. Women often has friendship and holding hands or kissing was just practicing up until they could be with a man. Women who lived together were just protecting themselves from criminals.
She went through several examples like the Ladies ofLlangollen, Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. Two upper-class Irish women whose relationship was scandalized.  
AnneLister who kept diary accounts in code of her Lesbian relationships
 JamesAllen who was married for 21 years was found to be a female husband was she died.
I then checked out Andrew Lumsden who gave a talk on all their favourite activists who had been hidden in history but were relevant in the 1940s and 1950s and beyond and were instrumental in making changes to the sexual offense law in 1967. 
Anthony Edgar Gartside Wright (6 October 1927 – 30 April 2010), better known by his pseudonym Antony Grey, Robert Reed  and EsmeLangley
Langley was credited for creating the first openly political LGBT periodical Arena 3. She was warned by Lawyers to become the only share holder to avoid been imprisoned for conspiracy. They also mentioned Ellen Rosabelt and May Atkins who was a local straight alley. She had gay friends and would campaign to local government saying she was from the law reform society to get them to open the door to her. She would then tell them that she was from the homosexual law reform society and would receive a range of comments of support and disgust in her campaign.  
Tomorrow I’ll be going back to People’s History Museum to see the official launch of their Never Going Underground exhibition. It’s an exhibition which was created by the LGBT community and the museum, there is loads of really interesting campaigning documents and It’s going to be launched by Ian McKellen! Which will be pretty cool.  I'll tell you more about it later :)

Monday, 27 February 2017

New video- just a little catch up for now

Hi I've uploaded a little catch up video to keep in line with my plans. I'm trying to keep uploading regularly on a Sunday and Wednesday. In the video I discuss how it's going now that I've done my first three weeks on this new project. I also chat about seeing Tegan and Sara (with live footage from the gig!)
 In Between Times festival , Mother's Ruin and a new exhibition happening at People's History Museum called Never Going Underground. I checked out the exhibition which was awesome! Below is a little preview picture of me playing with their interactive display where you could make instant T-shirts with a projector screen. It was a lot of fun- but I'll do a full post on it later when it has the official launch has happend. There is a mega special guest opening it but you'll have to check out my video to find out which actor and activist is invovled! So come back here for a full review later in the week for more on that :)
In the meantime I just wanted to share a picture of the amazing Fat Roland who performed at Mother's Ruin during Queer Contact he has his own blog as well which is worth checking out fatroland.blogspot.co.uk

His humour is surreal, self depreciating and unique- totally worth checking him out