LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ben Tousley

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ben Tousely

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ben Tousely - Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ben Tousely - Sondre Lerche

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Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
My name is Ben Tousley, I live in Brooklyn and I’m a graphic designer in New York City.

What are you currently working on?
I most recently did some album packaging for Sondre Lerche’s self-titled release, which came out this past summer and is the second record I’ve designed for him. I’m currently looking into starting a self published magazine to showcase some of my friends work, but we’ll have to wait to see how that idea pans out.

For my day job I’m a designer working for Stephen Doyle at Doyle Partners where I’ve been helping with a redesign for a NYC art museum identity, some large word installations for the NY Times, a photography art book, building signage, and other fun things. It’s been a great experience for me so far. I like the sense of whimsy and humor he always tries to include in his work.

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ben Tousely - Holiday Shores

When did you come out and what was the story?
I came out during my junior year in college, about three or four years ago. I think for me it happened naturally through a combination of pacing and good friends. Looking back, I think realizing it for myself was the hardest part. Then as I gradually started telling my friends, all of my anxiety about it faded away with their support. No one treated me any differently and that helped me realize how trivial it is — or at least how trivial it should be.

How does being queer effect your work, if at all?
As far as subject matter goes, I’m not sure it’s had much of a real effect on the work itself at this point. A lot of my design work has been for clients and I just haven’t really focused on it with my personal work yet. But who knows, maybe I will down the line. I definitely appreciate when it becomes an element of other artists’ work because I think it’s an interesting perspective to have in the world right now.

I also always enjoy meeting and working with other gay people through projects and that’s something I hope to keep up. Ed Droste from Grizzly Bear is actually the first person I came out to while we were working on Yellow House packaging and then this past summer his was the first gay wedding I’ve ever been to. That’s been very special to me.

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ben Tousely

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?
I think it’s different for everyone and that maybe that should be the point – everyone has their own unique situations and it’s worthwhile to just embrace that and make the best of everything. For me, sometimes I think showing pride is simply not worrying about mentioning I’m gay to people I’ve just met, for example. I don’t see any reason to make a big deal out of it nor any reason to keep it quiet, either. I’m just happy to be who I am and to hope that people enjoy that.

That said — going to drag shows, wearing fancy clothes and/or listening to Whitney Houston are also things I think everyone could do a little more of. I have a pink postcard above my desk that I love from BUTT magazine of a glowing sign somewhere that just says “Why Not.”

Bobby Solomon

November 15, 2011 / By

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
My name is Matt Lyon, a freelance graphic artist / illustrator based in South London. I work under the moniker C86 and spend most of my time drawing and making images that occasionally end up on billboards, trains, t-shirts, posters, decals, greetings cards and the like. Aside from that, I drink tea and munch on peanut butter sandwiches, play video games from the 90’s and compile mixes of my favourite music.

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a big commission for a Saudi client, which is proving fun and keeping me busy. I’ve just finished designing some t-shirt designs for a Spring 2012 launch and am about to start on an exciting project creating an alphabet of letters for wall decals. I’m continuing to design album artwork for Tokyo Dawn Records with two new releases, and every evening I spend time updating my Daily Drawing project, which is generating and evolving my creative progress of ideas.

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

When did you come out and what was the story?
I came out to my parents in the late 80’s when I was 17 years old. I’d reached a point where I had to be honest to myself and my family, though at the time it was a difficult decision to make. Prior to this, I look back at my teenage years at school with fondness at a time where being gay wasn’t easy. Even though I wasn’t out, I was fortunate enough to have a strong circle of friends with me. My best friend at the time was fantastic. We shared the same taste in music, art, fashion, humour… pretty much everything. It later transpired that he came out as gay around the same time as me, though we were the last to formally tell each other. In hindsight, it was pretty obvious at school that we were gay.

We’d come in some days and discuss the same films that we’d seen at home the night before, and when they were the likes of Another Country and My Beautiful Launderette, it goes without saying why we’d watched them. Sadly though, many of those at school who didn’t know us assumed that we were a couple. As such, we often endured verbal and physical taunts, name-calling, being spat upon, etc. Had I suffered this alone, I don’t think that I would’ve been able to cope, but together my friend and I brought the best out in each other. We knew we were different, so we embraced it. We listened to The Smiths and Siouxsie & The Banshees; we dressed in black and customized our clothes. We chose not to fit in, and some people didn’t like that.

But while all of this was going on, I was struggling with my sexuality. I lived in a white, middle class, suburban town and was part of a Pentecostal church, one of many evangelical churches that dominated the area. At first, I thought that my sexuality was a phase, though as time went on I realized that my feelings weren’t changing. According to what I had been taught, I was destined for hell. The mid-80s were a grim time with the AIDS crisis fueling so much bigotry and hate, and to some this was proof that ‘you reap what you sow’. At church, we were told that being gay was ‘a choice’ and if you prayed hard enough you would be ‘cured’. I studied the Bible, and couldn’t reconcile what I was being taught with what I felt and believed in. After spending a week on summer retreat with my Church’s youth group, I returned home and came out to my parents and the church pastors.

During subsequent weeks, I was prayed over in church meetings, I was told to listen to cassette recordings of the Bible as I slept so that I wouldn’t have any impure thoughts, and I had more and more questions that my pastors couldn’t answer. It dawned on me that the Evangelical church was kind of like a kindergarten Christianity – simplistic, juvenile, and with a lack of depth and understanding of anything both theological and spiritual. In essence it was harming me, so I had to leave. Within a couple of years I moved to London to study at UCL, by which point I was finally ready to be myself.

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

How does being queer effect your work, if at all?
Being queer doesn’t directly influence my current work. When I was studying art at university, some of my art reflected my acceptance and openness having recently come out. I guess that there are occasional references to my sexuality in the work that I do now, be it a design quoting the likes of John Waters or Quentin Crisp, or reflecting gay icons such as James Dean, but little much else. My sexuality isn’t something that’s of importance to my work interests, and when I see art that’s branded ‘queer’, most of it appears to me either banal, clichéd or hold no interest to me as a gay man.

LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matt Lyon

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?
I’ve got mixed opinions on how gay pride is celebrated. Pride marches have significant political origins, and the increasingly open celebrations reflect the ongoing acceptance in the West of homosexuality. Whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure, but as a gay man I don’t feel a part of it in the least. I went on a couple of Pride marches back in the late 80s / early 90s, and even then I didn’t feel that I was particularly interested. All the usual gay clones and clichés were in full effect, and I felt that I was making up the numbers. Because I’m gay doesn’t mean that I automatically tune into cheesy pop or Hi-NRG, act camp or flamboyant, am clothes conscious or a body fascist, or am part of any number of gay cliques that seem to litter ‘the community’. My life’s far removed from glitter and rainbows, and that’s how I like it. I’m much more interested in where I historically fit in as a gay man. There’s a heritage to being gay, and that’s what’s most important for me to have pride in. Things have come a long way since my own experiences of the 80s and I feel pride in the changes of progress. Even so, the legacy of AIDs doesn’t allow me to be honest about my sexuality if I want to make a blood donation in the UK, and life in London still remains atypical to the experiences of many still facing acceptance for being gay. The journey continues…

Bobby Solomon

July 26, 2011 / By

The LGBT Creative Series: Interview with Micah Lidberg

The LGBT Creative Series: Interview with Micah Lidberg

Micah Lidberg

Micah Lidberg

Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
I’m Micah Lidberg, and I’m an illustrator living in Kansas City, Missouri.

What are you currently working on?
Well, I just moved my studio so I’ve been working on getting it set up. As for projects, I’m working on a pack for Granimator™, an app that lets you create custom wallpapers for you iPad, and I’m also working on a book cover, a logo, and a few personal projects as well.

The LGBT Creative Series: Interview with Micah Lidberg

When did you come out and what was the story?
The whole process took a few years but I was out around twenty-two. I had to reconcile my sexuality and christianity, so for a long time I was just trickling ‘confessions’ to my family and close friends. As expected, there was a lot tension between my beliefs and orientation. It got to a point where I realized the only solution was to be honest. I had to let go of things I didn’t really believe and acknowledge an aspect of myself that had long been suppressed. That was a rough bit. Unlearning a twenty-year-old worldview of fear and judgement is a difficult pill. Fortunately, the difficulties didn’t last and I was incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a lot of love and acceptance. I’ve been out for about four years now.

The LGBT Creative Series: Interview with Micah Lidberg

How does being queer effect your work, if at all?
I don’t think it has a direct role in my work. However, it’s freed me up to explore things I may have otherwise avoided. I think men and women still have very restrictive gender roles and that can limit the ideas an individual interacts with. Though, if you’re gay, those limits seem to be less rigid. As a creative person, that’s a flexibility I cherish very much. Also, there’s valuable insight to be gained in being excluded from a group. You’re shown the importance of connection through it’s absence. I think this is a large source of my love for ‘excluded’ things and I find it’s something that filters into my work.

The LGBT Creative Series: Interview with Micah Lidberg

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?
I actually hope for the day when gay pride isn’t necessary. Pride events are born out of inequality. When the time comes, and we are accepted as a part of the whole, having an event that distinguishes us ceases to make much sense. However, we’re not there yet. Until then, I think Pride is an excellent chance for the community to come together to be an example of love and acceptance. While I don’t personally relate to all the current forms of gay pride, I think showing my support for the community is what’s important for me. I try to attend whatever event is around. Here in the States, where we enjoy a greater degree of freedom, I think it’s a time to have fun and to be happy with who we are.

Bobby Solomon

July 18, 2011 / By

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matthew Waldman of Nooka

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matthew Waldman of Nooka

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matthew Waldman of Nooka

Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
I am Matthew Waldman, a native New Yorker, entrepreneur, designer, artist and creator of nooka. I speak Japanese, futurist, technoprogressivist, fellow of the royal academy of arts [UK]. Based in New York City, I create physical manifestations of ideas, promote universal communication via the form of visual language and fashion, and design and bring a techno-progressivist set of expectations to the world of ordinary objects.

What are you currently working on?
Our upcoming collections for nooka, our new look book to support that, a secret collab project for a major sportswear fashion company and also a project for two different 3D printing technology companies.

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matthew Waldman of Nooka

When did you come out and what was the story?
Technically I never “came out” – I was born into a very liberal lower middle class background in NYC from a family of mediums, artists and real-life gangsters – so being a homo was neither shocking nor alien. My mom dressed like a drag queen and her best friend was gay when I was little. She was personally, albeit tangentially, involved with the early gay rights movement every time she had to be a character witness for her friend when gay bars were raided and he was arrested.

But for my story, when I was 5 years old, a new family moved into our apartment building: a single mom with two boys the same ages as me and my brother. I went with my mom to bring them a “welcome to the building” cake, and on the floor of an empty living room was a boy my age with a mop of dirty blond hair wearing nothing but his undies playing with lincoln logs. I literally fell in-love-at-first-site and ran to give him a hug. Later that day I told my mom, “When I grow up i’m going to marry Andrew!” and she thought that was the sweetest thing. Of course, it didn’t work out that way, but we still talk. he is married and has two lovely boys of his own now. We were BFFs all through elementary school and I never hid my sexuality or emotions from him or anyone growing up.

A later and more funny story is that in high school I thought I was out but could never get a date from other boys in my school. Then a year after high school I ran into one of the guys I kept asking out and he was shocked to see me in a gay club! I asked him, “Don’t you remember me asking you out all the time?!?” to which he replied, “Yes, but I thought you were just trying to be cool by having a gay friend.” I was like, “How does that make me cool?” and “Why didn’t you think i was gay?” And I remember his answer to this day: “But you were into punk and rock music!”

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matthew Waldman of Nooka

How does being queer effect your work, if at all?
I’m really not sure. Perhaps the ability to be flirtatious with both men and women is a benefit in business but I’m a humanist at my core, and believe that there are so many examples of exceptions to every rule that I really do shun from generalizations. Honestly, it seems that I am an exception in the industrial design world as a homosexual (I don’t like the word “gay” at all) and sexuality has really rarely ever come up in regards to my work.

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Matthew Waldman of Nooka

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?
This is the most complicated question for me to answer. Intellectually I understand how important Gay Pride is in a world where homosexuals are routinely discriminated against, but I also believe that one should only be proud of their accomplishments. Being gay in-and-of itself should not be a source of pride anymore than being black, white, Jewish, American etc. I want to see gay pride celebrated in the context of the whole human family, not as sexuality, and I know this view is often misinterpreted by the mainstream gay culture. Not to back-track, but I like to celebrate the memory and legacies of people like Alan Turing to show the world that bigotry against homosexuals has real consequence, and that gays have made contributions that without, modern society would simply not exist. I do envision a world where we can all just be proud to be humans without all these labels.

Bobby Solomon

July 5, 2011 / By

The LGBT Creatives Series: An Interview With Terre Theamiltz

Terre Theamiltz (DJ Sprinkles, K-S.H.E., G.R.R.L.) on The Fox Is Black's LGBT Creatives Series

Before we dive into the interview, I wanted to say that it is with great happiness that I share our interview with audio producer and musician, Terre Theamiltz. I have been a big fan of Theamiltz’s work for years and, personally, think the work as K-S.H.E. and DJ Sprinkles is some of the most important musically for the LGBT community. Both of these projects broke down the music industry, the history of House music, and queer identities in a way that I feel has never been accomplished within the medium. Theamiltz’s work is absolutely fantastic and we are honored to feature this interview on The Fox Is Black’s LGBT Creatives Series.

Who are you, where are you, and what do you do?

I am a non-essentialist transgendered and pansexually queer socio-materialist feminist based in Kawasaki, Japan. I use various media including audio, video, graphics and text to generate culturally critical discourses and alternative histories around issues of gender, sexuality, class, economics, migration, race, ethnicity, etc. A large part of my work is thinking about how identities are constructed in relation to contexts, emerging as strategies for cultural change (as opposed to thinking of identity as an expression of “who we are inside”). I see identities as very dependent upon cultural and historical contexts, and try to deal openly with the hypocrisies and contradictions that are a part of everyone’s lives. There is no avoiding closets.

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What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a 30+ hour single album called, “Soulnessless.” The album is composed from an openly non-spiritual and anti-religious perspective that sees atheism not as a “solution” to religious organizing, but as an act of self-defense entwined with the hopelessnes of life amidst an unstoppable onslought of spiritual dogmas and superstitions. The impractical length of the album comes from thinking about what constitutes an “album” in the MP3 era. Album length has always related to media playback duration: vinyl albums were generally 36 minutes long because you can fit about 18 minutes of audio on a single side of a record before encountering significant loss of sound quality; CD albums were 74 minutes and then 80 minutes; and today we have the CD plus digital exclusive downloads, supporting podcasts, etc…. Meanwhile, as audio producers our advances and royalties are the same or dropping. For me, this combination of the demand to produce more and more media for less and less pay is a real labor crisis within fields of audio production. So, thinking about the MP3 as a format with it’s own playback limitations, I wanted to produce the world’s first true full-length MP3 album by using a single, maximum file size MP3 file. FAT32 system requirements currently limit files to a 4GB size on Mac and PC, and a 320kbps 4GB MP3 file is about 29 hours 40 minutes long. Then I also include supporting videos and texts… it’s a real sprawl of data. I actually petitioned the Guinness Book of World Records to create a category for “World’s Longest Album” – they declined, citing a “lack of public interest,” which is just all the more perfect for my type of work. [Laughs] The release format will be a MicroSD card.

When did you come out and what was the story?

I am someone who has always felt identities as things forced upon me. I was harassed as a fag and girly-boy since my first day of elementary school, so by the time I reached puberty and started to consciously think about these things for myself, I felt the question of identity was completely arbitrary. Nobody asked how I saw myself, and it socially made no difference what I said one way or another. I feel no internal compulsions around sexual or gender object choices – at least none that cannot be explained in relation to experiences and conditioning. To me, dressing as a male or female are both equally violent. And my “homosexual” identity is just one aspect of homophobic cultures that force binary divisiveness upon us. We all know the majority of same-gender sex around the world does not occur between two pride-filled “Gay-identified” or “Lesbian-identified” people. It never has. So I feel a lot of trepidation around the construction of these very culturally insular and divided identities of “heterosexual” and “homosexual” – particularly when people are fighting for the legislation of rights based on biological predisposition and other arguments of being “born this way” that all but eradicate our capacity for choices (including the choice to completely reverse our orientations over time, perhaps rotating several times throughout our lives). There is no fluidity or choice within the rhetoric of contemporary Humanist Democracy. And any argument that relies on DNA is ultimately about birthrights, which is a feudal stance. I feel no representation within this exclusionary legislative framework rooted in issues of “visibility.” In the end, this way of obtaining rights relies on the pity of the “dominant majority” toward those who “can’t help it” (historically speaking, first it was women, then people of color, then gays, then lesbians, and now transgendered people…), all of which only denies our struggles. It also reaffirms the systems of domination which only have to expand their definition of who is “human” under Humanism without actually challenging or transforming the relations of power themselves. I see US television shows in which we are always told it is a question between whether “homosexuality is a choice” (implying free will and curability), or if “homosexuality is not a choice” (implying biological predisposition). But both of these pop cultural stances distract us from a third possibility – that the absence of choice so many of us feel (straight or queer) emerges from an absence of free will within incredibly rigid and unforgiving homophobic and patriarchal cultural systems that condition us from day one. Even if one does believe in biological predisposition, when it comes to strategizing cultural change it seems more important to focus on socio-material process – the very thing we wish to change. The more refined and established lesbian and gay identities become under current patriarchal systems, the less room we have for perversion, deviance, defiance and uncommon views that do not conform to the dominant models of acceptable homosexuality. It is the destruction of queerness from within.

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How does being queer affect your work, if at all?

Queerness (distinct from “Gayness”) absolutely skews my world view and all I do, for better and worse.

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?

I always say Pride [TM] is like a lesson unlearned. It is about power sharing – a desire to place oneself safely within the systems of domination that brutalize us daily. I am not interested in power sharing. I am interested in divestments of power, and creating moments in which the functions of domination falter socially, economically, interpersonally, subjectively- if only for a moment. Pride is arrogant. Pride is boring. Pride is sneakily anti-social in that it prioritizes one over another, all the while touting the benefits of “community.” And, of course, today’s model of pride is completely market driven, inseparable from the “pink economy” through which we have come to reconcile our LGBT [TM] self images with capitalist process. Yes, there is stability and safety to be found in pride – and I get that so much of what happens in lesbian and gay communities, as well as in trans communities, is fundamentally driven by fear and a quest for safety – but the entire concept of “queer pride” just strikes me as a complete contradiction that only shows our capitulation to models of power shitting on us endlessly. We should be feeling rage and anger, not self-indulgent pride. I wish more queer and trans people could see how pride is just another closet.

KYLE

KYLE FITZPATRICK

June 28, 2011 / By

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Atherton Lin

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Atherton Lin

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Atherton Lin

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Atherton Lin

Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
We are Jamie Atherton and Jeremy Lin, and as a codependent couple we make stationery and paper goods and art things under the name of Atherton Lin. We are in London.

What are you currently working on?
The 2012 wall calendar, which is all about taking walks in Britain. And wedding invitations; we seem to be getting asked to do these more, both for straight weddings and gay partnership ceremonies.

When did you come out and what was the story?
Jeremy came out at 18 while he was at UCLA, because he can’t keep his mouth shut. Jamie was very British about it and never really said anything; his family just sort of met Jeremy and everything was fine. We’re very lucky to have such good folks.

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Atherton Lin

How does being queer affect your work, if at all?
Well, each of us has created stuff in the past, writing and drawing and photography, that is more explicitly queer. But together we just naturally tend to focus on other stuff: Landscape, music, all kinds of things. There’s a theme of coming-of-age in our work so illustrating that from a gay perspective surely casts a certain tone. We use a set of recurring characters, like the Peanuts gang, and two of those characters are the hoodie boys: A gay couple who are always kissing with their hoods up. We’ve had requests to create a lesbian couple but it hasn’t happened yet. Things need to evolve naturally in order to feel truthful. We’ve been in talks about putting the hoodie boys on a skateboard deck. That feels sort of subversive, because the skateboarding industry is dominated by straights and the gay side of it seems to be pretty closeted.

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Atherton Lin

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?
Being proud is a challenge on different levels. There is the public level, in which we still need to fight for basic civil rights. And that’s why you still need parades and petitions and everything. And then there is a personal level, which involves the question: To what extent is my identity informed by my sexuality? For a lot of our peers and friends, there was a process of coming to terms with sexuality, and then trying to figure out whether you fit into gay culture. When we were featured by Attitude magazine, a gay publication, the angle was: These guys are drawing pictures for gays who are into Belle and Sebastian, not the typical homo imagery. In terms of celebrating gay pride, we’re all for people going out and having parades and street parties. But that’s not really our style these days. Gays celebrate pride all the time, just by hanging out with other gay friends. You indulge a sense of humour that’s informed by shared experiences, which incorporates a lot of bullying and pain and stuff, but also good sex and funny stories, too. And we’re always really happy to meet people who are in touch with queer art and literary history. It’s a long tradition of rigorous, challenging, sensitive work that comes from the perspective of men and women outside the social norm. And that’s a kind of gay pride, to feel invested in that legacy. We try to pay homage to some of our forefathers. Derek Jarman and Bruce Chatwin, for example, are referenced in our next calendar.

Bobby Solomon

June 22, 2011 / By

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ana Benaroya

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ana Benaroya

Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
My name is Ana Benaroya, I am a freelance illustrator and designer living in New Jersey, pretty close to New York. I spend my days doing a blend of commercial and personal work… all of which is usually pretty colorful, graphic, and somewhat humorous. All my work starts by hand and usually ends up on the computer. Besides drawing and trying to be an artist, I enjoy getting out of the house and exploring New York. I also enjoy eating and drinking coffee.

What are you currently working on?
The most exciting thing I’m working on right now, I sadly can’t speak about… but I will say its several posters for a huge music venue in NYC. Besides that I’m actually working on another poster for a blues festival in Missouri and several editorial projects. In my personal work, I actually just self published a book called Men Eating Fruit and I’m working on a series of paintings on florescent paper.

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ana Benaroya

When did you come out and what was the story?
I came out to my friends in college and to my parents the summer after college. I didn’t really date in high school and only came to the realization (or rather accepted the fact) that I was gay my second year in college. The coming out story to my friends wasn’t dramatic at all, they pretty much figured it out on their own. Plus, I went to art school where these things are commonplace and very acceptable, which might have been a factor in my own self-acceptance.

After college I moved back home and was dating someone at the time and felt like I didn’t want to have to lie or pretend I was someone I wasn’t while living under the same roof as my parents. It wouldn’t be fair to them and it wouldn’t have been fair to me (and my own mental health). So, one night as I was actually just about to leave for a friend’s house, I awkwardly walk into the living room where my mom is in the process of taking out the trash and my dad is watching Fox News… and I address them both and say “I have something to tell you…(long awkward silence as I literally feel as though the words won’t leave my lips)…I am dating someone…and they are a girl.”

They were both silent for a little while but then my mom comes over and hugs me and says that she isn’t totally surprised and that they both just want me to be happy. My dad agreed with her… and that was that! Pretty painless and I am lucky that I have parents who love me no matter what.

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ana Benaroya

How does being queer affect your work, if at all?
It definitely does affect my work but not in an intentional sort of way. By that I mean I don’t try and make work with a particular message or political statement. But the people I draw definitely do sometimes blur the lines between gender-roles, not in appearances but perhaps in mannerisms or actions. There is nothing I love drawing more than an effeminate muscular man, haha…as strange as that might sound. I’ve always thought I have the taste of a gay man but I’m trapped in a lesbian’s body.

I enjoy drawing women as well, but I try to be very conscious of how I depict them. All the women and men I draw have some sort of sexuality about them… but with women I walk a fine line between sexualizing them and creating a parody of how they are typically portrayed in popular media. I always try and make something a little imperfect and a little bit off-putting when I draw women. Whereas with men I have no problems turning them into a sex object.

The LGBT Creatives Series: Interview with Ana Benaroya

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?
To me, gay pride is not something that happens once a year at a parade, it is something you must live your entire life. It doesn’t need to be loud and in your face, it should be quiet and strong. Once I accepted myself and who I was I really felt my whole world and my whole being change. I became a better, happier person and I actually think my artwork improved. It is this inner strength that people need to be proud about and share with the world.

Although being gay can cause hardships and bring out ugliness at times, I truly believe it is a blessing. It allows you an outsider’s look at society and at how the world works – and this outsider’s perspective is what allows you to be a more innovative and interesting person. In a way, it allows you to be free of the constraints that society places on most people. I certainly wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

June 20, 2011 / By

The LGBT Creatives Series: An Interview with Jules Julien

The LGBT Creatives Series: An Interview with Jules Julien

The LGBT Creatives Series: An Interview with Jules Julien

Who are you, where are you and what do you do?
I am Jules Julien. I live and work in Paris, France (soon in Amsterdam). I make illustrations and graphic art shows.

What are you currently working on?
I am between two things right now. I have just finished a design pattern for a series of objects for a Shanghai brand (plates, umbrella, posters, notebooks … ). I also finished a print for a group show at Kemistry Gallery in London about 70’s movies, one movie per artist. I chose Quadrophenia. I have also designed a pack of images for the application Granimator, which will be available for the iPad, should be on the iTunes store soon. I am just back from a week in Amsterdam where I’m moving soon. This week I’m working on CD covers for music compilations edited by a cultural french magazine.

The LGBT Creatives Series: An Interview with Jules Julien

When did you come out and what was the story?
I did not come out early, I was 18 years old. I met guys before but not really lovers. I have waited to be in love with a guy before announcing it to my family. I thought it was easier to say to my family “this is my boyfriend” than “I am gay”, because to be in love is always good news. I am from a little place from the south of France, a farming family where the son works with his father generation after generation. To be gay and not a farmer was the end of this long family story. But my parents, after being a little shocked, were very happy for me, and now they like my actual boyfriend so much, he’s called Julien too. We’ve been in love for 9 years.

How does being queer affect your work, if at all?
I think to be gay gives strength. I think that I am a lucky man to be gay. We live the difference very early in our life. We have to understand and to imagine what is our position in life. We have to live the difference and that is perhaps sometimes hard but very rich and instructive I think. In the same direction our works and style can’t be the same as hetero people because often the creation of a person is little like a mirror of inner side. I have worked a lot for the gay press, and during these times I triedto show a different gay icon. No super muscular men, no gogo dancers or super sexy guys, but something more intimate, sweeter and sometimes with humor too. Because oftentimes, the gay pictures in press are really poorly done, my way was to show another gay reality.

The LGBT Creatives Series: An Interview with Jules Julien

In your mind, what should gay pride be and how would you celebrate it?
To speak about France, what I know, I think a big party in the Parisian streets isn’t the best way to do it. Often gay pride looks more like a praise for sex, discotheque and fashion… and not something really political. It is a little stupid I think, because we already have sex, discotheque and fashion. It was important before to show us because gays were hiding, but not today. There are a lot of problems for gay people here, but I think they are not the same problem than before and we continue to use the same method.

Looking at the Russian gay pride, which finished in blood, or the mentality in some of the new European countries like Poland or in North Africa, I think the situation is very grave. Perhaps gay pride could give a new shape to being more committed?! There is only the ACT UP group here, who puts on a great event each year, very strong. For my part, I don’t know yet what I will do on this day.

A huge thanks to Jules for participating. Be sure to view the rest of his portfolio by clicking here. Check back in the next couple days for another interview with another creative LGBT person.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

June 14, 2011 / By

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