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

The LGBT Creatives Series

The LGBT Creatives Series

Two years ago President Obama declared June to be LGBT Pride Month here in the United States. As a gay man, I have some mixed feelings about the idea of “Pride” and what exactly that should entail. I doubt that few schools are teaching kids about notable LGBT people in history, or reading books specifically because they’re written by an LGBT author. At the same time, there are Pride parades happening all across the U.S. and the world, which are less about Pride and more about a bacchanalian style event filled with go go boys, glitter and drag queens. If that’s how you choose to show your pride, good for you, but that doesn’t work for me.

So what I thought I’d do is profile some LGBT people who also happen to be fantastic artists/illustrators/designers and so on. Some of the people have been featured on the site before, and maybe you didn’t even know they weren’t straight. As a gay man, I feel that this is the least I can do to support my community and do it in a way that makes sense.

I’d also like to point out that I made the little logo above a few years back during the whole Prop 8 debacle. I felt like the LGBT community could use a new symbol to stand by, something that actually looked kind of cool. It’s three triangles, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, laid over one another to make three more triangles. To me it symbolized not only the rainbow flag, but also references the pink triangle as well as the idea of coming together to create something more whole.

I’ll be posting the first interview later today, so stay tuned.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

June 14, 2011 / By

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