Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Review?

Hello all.
Its been an interesting past four months for me. I've traveled, transitioned, and all the changes I've endured has led my art to an interesting place:
Traditional Media!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, the diva of video and installation has been recently exploring the world of traditional media; drawing, in pencil and charcoal; block printing; layering images; and even painting. Its been interesting to say the least. I've enjoyed my journey, and have been longing to make new work! Here is a review of what I've been working on:

This work is white in on black canvas with gold accents and India ink drawings layered on top. The abstract narrative conjured by the supposed images is mysterious, but hints at a monetary concern. For this piece I used a wonderful Kafka scriptliner brush, which is more precious to me than a child, and Copic opaque white ink applied both as a wash and in its pure form. Good stuff. 

This relatively small piece (8"x12" or so) utilizes some familiar media from about as well as the use of colored pencil behind the white ink wash. The posture, expression, and gender neutrality of the subject get to the root of the matter at hand. As I've been working on these pieces of become rather preoccupied with speech bubbles (like, from comic books) and a visual representation of speech itself; the way the bubble is drawn can perhaps say more than whats inside? The way an expression or posture can communicate the inner turmoil of this subject. 

This was a very fun piece to work on. The background is a combination of Krink marker, spray paint, gesso, and watercolor pencil. The piece of larger (2'x4') and I created an 18" long stamp to create the wallpaper effect in the background. I created the image of the digitized Victorian wallpaper as a reference to Foucault's writing on 'The New Victorians', a piece mainly about the way culture changes very little over time and the chaste values of the Victorian era are still markedly present in today modern culture; hence, the blending of digital representation with classical patterning. The figure rests on top, at once the pattern and at the same time separate, their speech bubble empty but for the same iteration of what is contained within their body. This is another reference to culture, in this case the way cultural idioms become so internalized they become our personalities even though we as people strive so hard to stand outside them. Again, a very fun piece to work on. 

The figure has been very prominent in my recent work as well, though I am working on some compositions using just speech bubbles. There are certain figures that are not only attractive, but make an attractive subject for drawing. The above image is a charcoal study on a ground I prepared using acrylic paint on black Stonehenge paper, giving the colors an ethereal richness that compliments the rich volumes of the form. Perhaps just lately I've been preoccupied with beauty?

I've also been doing some web comic type stuff, hosted on Tom Ulch's art collective website, the Hive ( The about piece you can find on the site with an accompanying article discussing the similarities between fan fiction and revisionist history. Be sure to check out the Hive; tons of great articles by many talented people!

These panels are from another web comic that should be hosted on the Hive; unfortunately, because of my crazy schedule it's been difficult for me to keep up with that particular project, though as the semester begins and things settle down I know I will have more time to contribute. You may view them here for you pleasure (heehee). The therapists dialogue was taken from a men's rights website I accidentally went on; I was disturbed and needed to visualize a response. P.S. don't go to men's rights websites and not expect to be pissed off.

In a hilarious anecdote, my MFA installation was blogged about by Yuppie Traveler Lisa, the Link is below:
"It's really interesting"

That's it for now! Sketches and images will be forthcoming <3 br="">

Thursday, April 18, 2013



Lesbian Ancient Aliens, in its new form, has come to fruition. Taking the form of a false archive, it communicates the same concept the movie was meant to express: examining culturally appointed privileges given to certain members of society, and asking what would happen if these privileges were suddenly given to a historically oppressed minority.

Housed within the archive are objects, videos and images all associated with famous lesbians throughout history. These objects are also connected to an experience the individuals within the archive had with lesbian aliens. Clearly the aliens are a fiction and their interactions with the women in the archive just an invented part of the story. This conveys multiple points 1) history is easy to invent; anything can seem plausible when presented in a manner that communicates credibility and authenticity (the museum display), and 2) when very obviously invented things are balanced with very hard, honest truths it plays with our perception of what is real and what is not, calling into being the whole subjective nature of the universe.

To illustrate the narrative pattern, I shall provide you with an example: the sword pictured above is a replica of the sword of Joan of Arc. An illiterate farm girl, Joan was able to take control of the French army and defeat the English by listening carefully to the voices inside her head. The sword is also significant because of how Joan acquired it: the voices in her head told her of its location - behind an altar in the church of St. Catherine (it is also interesting to note that St. Catherine was one of the voices she heard in her head on a regular basis). If we factor in the ancient alien theory, then the voices of the religious saints Joan of Arc heard in her head were really the voices of extraterrestrials. If we factor in the lesbian ancient alien theory, then these were the voices of lesbian aliens leading Joan of Arc, a lesbian herself, to historical greatness.

Joan of Arc: Aliens, they don't impress me much.
Other objects in the archive include: a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to her lover describing an encounter with a sapphic space craft; a comic book by lesbian author Patricia Highsmith telling one of the first modern narratives about the lesbian ancient aliens; the musket ball that cross-dressing revolutionary war soldier Deborah Sampson dug out of her own leg under the instruction of mysterious voices; and much more. The objects and the stories of the famous lesbian women are all housed inside the Lesbian Ancient Alien: Expanded Archive which will be published and available for consumption shortly. 

 Visible above are more objects from the collection, all pertaining to a certain document, Lesbian Ancient Aliens: The Movie directed by queer cinema icon Jennie Livingston. The three over-sized advertisements were on display during the movie's opening in 1995. The costumes, that of a lesbian ancient alien and of a cave lesbian, are also on display in a sort of abstract environ evocative of the theater. This dramatic installation is intended to suck the viewer into the world of the lesbian ancient aliens. Accompanying this natural-history-museum-esque display is a movie trailer for LAA:TM, also released in 1995 and presented below:

This 30 second cinematic wonder conveys the astonishment and awe a prehistoric person would have probably felt when confronted with lesbian ancient aliens. The video also establishes that aliens presence and involvement with human culture is prehistorical, implying that homosexuality has also been a part of our culture and biology long before the modern age.

 The following is an excerpt from my written thesis regarding Lesbian Ancient Aliens:

"My work, Lesbian Ancient Aliens: The Sapphic Paradigm, takes the form of an archive, utilizing the context of the museum to present an alternative history and investigate the formation of power structures. The archive houses the stories of real historical lesbian women, the stories of which are fictionalized to include an encounter with lesbian aliens. Utilizing this specific form, I am able to create a meta-narrative that challenges our preconceived notions of history and culture. Lesbian Ancient Aliens is a projection of a constructed future; it is a Utopia, wherein cultural forces aggregate around the needs of lesbian peoples."

I'll end this post with a quote from the seminal text on the ancient alien theory, Chariots of the Gods written by Erich von Daniken:

“A number of scholars would like to stick to the so-called realities. 
In doing so they are too ready and willing to forget that what 
is reality today may have been the Utopian dream of a visionary yesterday.”

There will be more updates soon, including: a video of my artist talk to be given at the Broad April 23rd, at 3:00 p.m; more images, stories, and facts about the women involved in the project; things for sale including copies of Patricia Highsmith's comic (made to order: 16 page comic book includes two never before seen advertisements!); and much much more!

Thanks to all who assisted in this endeavor!
And share this!

I'll leave you with the first three pages of Patricia Highsmith's comic book, Lesbian Ancient Aliens. Enjoy!

Oh Demus, what a naughty alien!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Space Invasion...!

Hello all! 
Its been awhile since my last update, so I have lots of juicy content.

In case you missed it, here is the link again to my last project, Death Becomes You, Rebekah Zurenko. For more information about that project, see the previous post. Don't forget to share with your friends and fellow gays!

 My latest project will also be my final project while working here at MSU. The project is a feature length film called Lesbian Ancient Aliens.

 My thesis film will essentially ask the question: what would happen if Ancient Aliens returned to earth...and were all lesbians? The space lesbians live in what could be described as “lavender paradise”; the present day environment will serve as the flip-side to this utopia, a dystopian society where lesbians and gays are discriminated against politically and socially. In doing so I am actively questioning culturally appointed privileges given to certain members of society, and asking what would happen if suddenly these privileges were given to a historically oppressed minority.

Lesbian Ancient Aliens crosses over many contemporary areas of academic research. It involves anthropology, a critical analysis of history, manipulation of context to reveal greater truths about situations, and a philosophical and practical interrogation of capitalism and socialism; all of which results in a work that serves as a cultural critique and a love letter to the impossible.

The larger story arc is as follows: the Lesbian Ancient Aliens return to earth. Upon returning, they are confronted by a hostile society. Unprepared, they attempt to find shelter and fellow lesbian Earthlings. Eventually, they befriend a group of student lesbians/queers/trans people, and it is the interactions between these two groups (future/present) that give rise to arguments for and against perceived utopic societies. In the end, the lesbians that return to earth are faced with a moral dilemma: destroy Earth because it is too heterosexual or leave it the way it is for their lesbian descendants to struggle through and hope it gets better. This moral dilemma speaks to the hearts of all social activists; how do we fight inequality?  Is there a way to live peaceably in a dystopian society without being crushed by oppression?

The black & white images seen above and below are concept art/drawing made in preparation of the film. Filming will begin in October, and I am very excited! Enjoy the rest of the images below, and don't forget to watch my other videos if you have not all ready!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Death Becomes You: Rebekah Zurenko

Appearing before you is my longest film to date, Death Becomes You: Rebekah Zurenko. A video-self portrait, I split the self into the classical dichotomy of 'body' and 'mind'. Together, my body and mind fight for control of themselves and each other as they traverse the multiple stages of my own personal obstacles. An examination of my own ability to inflict self-torture, watch as I attempt to overcome the perpetual ennui that is the fragmented western psyche.

It was super fun to make and I'd like to thank all my actors and supporters throughout this endeavor!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Hello all! It has been a while, I apologize, but its really for the better since I have some AWESOME updates to post.

My most recent project is a short film titled, "Death Becomes You, Rebekah Zurenko". A death-fantasy/self-portrait, DBYRZ is an exploration into one lesbian's fragmented Western psyche.

This painting, "Dead Bitch: Self Portrait", was a precursor painting to the film; here, I picture myself as a walking corpse, supported by an allegorical figure of profane lesbian love. Loosely related to the theme of the movie, it supports the assertion that we are all walking corpses, held up by allegories and ideologies.

I created these two promotional images from still shots taken during the video shoot. The use of fetish/bondage is meant to be a metaphor for control of the self and others, as well as a reference to the subjective nature of pleasure. 'Rebekah Zurenko' in the film is played by two individuals chained together, depicting the relationship of the 'mind' to the 'body'; this relationship can be expanded to discuss the relationship between the immaterial and material nature of identity.

And last but not least, a 1:15 second promotional video/commercial for the film. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


My solo show at Kresge Art Center opened up last week. Above is a video walk through of the gallery installation, and below I have some screen shots from the three videos I showed, as well as some other images.

Above is a screen shot from the video Abstract Music Video, #1. To create this video, I filmed myself in front of a green screen, applied a mirroring effect using Adobe After Effects, edited out the screen and layered it on top of a found piece of video, in a fashion reminiscent of collage.

In the film, the deer head used is a real taxidermy buck head; I hollowed it out, riveted leather straps with a buckle to it, and strapped it onto my face. My goal was to create an androgynous being that possessed all qualities of 'gender', to illustrate freedom from social constraint and unrestrained expression, whether it be artistic or personal.

Within the video is a transition from a colorful world to a colorless one. Meant as a reflection of the coming out process, this particular video combines celebration with premonition as the video shifts between artificial constructs and the underlying, gritty, reality.

The piece featuring the mermaid is the one displayed inside the fish tank. Its a comment on stereotypes but also the disparity between reality and fictitious constructions.

Drunken butch mermaids are hilarious in the worst way.

The final piece I included in the show, Origin of the World II, deals with representation, the inconsistencies between public/private life, and the concept of ownership over image and bodies in art and representation.

Warning: it is NOT a real eye.

Here are some more photos from the show:

Blue jean mermaid tail, made out of two pairs of jeans sewn together.

Taxidermy deer head piece.

Above is the artist bio that I painted on the wall adjacent to the doors.

At the opening of the show, I served only hot dogs to create an audience interactive performance piece demonstrating the destruction of phallic icons. In total, 68 hot dogs were consumed/lost their lives.

To end this post I would like to share some sketches/character art I did in preparation of filming.

The butch mermaid is still funny.
Thanks for reading! Check in soon for another update.