Gay Men’s Vagina Illustrations Prompt Book Project

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“Gay Men Draw Vaginas” is exactly the project it sounds like. Three years ago, Keith Wilson and Shannon O’Malley were eating at a restaurant with a group of homosexuals when the topic of vaginas came up. This led to O’Malley asking Wilson to draw a vagina on the table with a crayon. This inspired more conversation and more drawings from the gay men at the table. A few months later, the duo decided to explore this idea even further, setting up a “vagina collection booth” at gay establishments across San Francisco. While they were given a few sneers here and there, most of the gay men who participated were excited to dive in and contribute to the project.

O’Malley observes, “In casual conversation, at surface level, I knew asking gay guys to draw vaginas was funny because it zeroed in on what some people might have perceived as ‘opposites.’ What I kept to myself were my navel-gazing meditations on ‘queer identity’ and ideas people (and the culture) hold about women and bodies.”

The duo recognize that the drawings range anywhere from misogynistic to celebratory to puzzling and enigmatic. They hope to eventually get people like Dan Savage, Neil Patrick Harris, Perez Hilton, John Waters, and/or George Takei to participate. “Ultimately, though, we hope people do a lot of things; we hope they’ll laugh, we hope they’ll think about what it means to identify as a ‘gay man,’ we hope they’ll think about ideas our culture has about bodies and body parts. Their responses are part of the study, part of the art,” they explain.

O’Malley and Wilson are currently running a Kickstarter for their book project. With 3 days to go, they have raised $56,500, exceeding their projected goal of $37,000. You can follow their project on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. (via huffington post and vice)

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Colorful Photos Tell The Story Of Motherhood, Fertility And Femininity In Democratic Republic Of The Congo

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Photographer Patrick Willocq grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its culture has shaped his work as an adult. In the series I am Walé Respect Me, Willocq provides us with a peek into tribal traditions that are still practiced in the DR Congo. These particular photographs create a narrative that portrays the stories of primiparous (first-time) nursing mothers. They are colorful scenes featuring compositions that are set like a stage, as we see objects hanging from a not-so-invisible string. Willocq speaks more about his images that blend the truth with the fantastical:

I’ve always been fascinated by native tribes because I feel they have a wealth that we have somehow lost. To document this beautiful tribute to motherhood, fertility and femininity, I proposed to some Walés to participate in staged photographs. Each set-up worked as a visual representation of one of the subjects that the Walé would sing about on the day of her release from seclusion. On that day, she sings the story of her own loneliness, and with humor praises her own behavior while discrediting her Walé rivals. (Via Juxtapoz)

 

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Lisa Yuskavage’s Paintings Of Voluptuous Women Reclaim Femininity

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If her voluptuous women with their cartoon eyes weren’t enough, Lisa Yushavage captured my soul by saying:

“As an artist you’re supposed to spend your life doing something that’d be an utter waste of time for anyone else. And even so, there’s no proof you’re not wasting your life making some total crap.” (Source)

Using her exceptional skill in oil paints to create hyper-hued landscapes with ripe, almost blowsy, nudes is clearly not making crap. With a career that started in the mid 1990s, her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions, including the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; Royal Academy of Arts, London; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.

“I don’t want my pictures to be up to any good. I like the idea that they’re troublemakers. So if I’m told they’re bad for the world, it pleases me. I don’t want to make something that’s an antidote. I want to pose questions. That’s what I do. I suppose I strive to bother people and be loved for it. That’s the dream.” (Source)

These are erotic pictures of women, painted by a woman. Rather than the patriarchal view of sexual woman as object, these women are sexual for themselves. Sometimes kinky, often controversial, these paintings have been compared to soft-core porn. It’s intended as an insult, but it’s actually a reclaiming of power and the ability to depict women in all their forms. “It’s not about being well behaved,” Yaskavage says. “It’s not about behaving for others.”

The essence of female power is not that women must be desexed, it’s that women can decide how they want to be seen—sexy, silly, powerful, maternal, erotic, masculine, intelligent, profound—any combination of these, and much more. Yaskavage’s women are the creatures of her mind, brought to life through her skill with a paintbrush, and behaving in exactly the way they’re meant to in the worlds she’s created.

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Nick Sethi’s Intimate Portraits Capture Brooklyn’s Hip Underbelly

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Nick Sethi reveals the intimate aspects of the exceptional lifestyle he shares with his friends in Brooklyn. His photographs provide a glimpse into their mild degeneracy and playfully ironic demeanor. They’re appealing because they lack seriousness and record a snapshot of a genuine culture that is not often accessible, though frequently watered down and imitated in more mainstream circuits. In his ‘portfolio’ series are portraits of his friends, standing with their pants around their knees, or wearing a giant bejeweled ‘SEX’ necklace. The photos have an apathy or melancholy combined with a subtle power emanating from the characters he documents. Although they are obviously staged with dramatic intention, they evoke a fantastically underwhelming air.

His most recent series, more specific in its aims than his overall portfolio, is titled FYEO. It is a curated selection of selfies that women have taken from inside tanning beds. Visually it’s the lights and the rays from them distorting the photographs that are the point of interest. They look like strange psychedelic light tubes in outer space. The selection is well done as he matches the aesthetic between the photographs seamlessly, but also chooses ones with just a tweak of oddity. The Playboy Bunny bellybutton ring paired with a Playboy tanning stamp, or the panties around the ankle create intrigue around these women and their own artistic decision when taking their photographs. Sethi himself is an avid selfy-taker. His HCO series of self-portraits – pictures of him posing throughout a Hollister store – is as entertaining as it is ridiculous and juvenile.

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Bizarre Portraits Feature Masks Made With Junk Food

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These bizarre photographs by British artist James Ostrer feature himself and others covered in thick, sticky-looking layers of candy, frosting, and other junk food. Decadent edibles look hardened and become a strange replacement for conventional masks and armor.

Candy and sweets are often associated with joy, but looking at Ostrer’s work its hard to feel that way. They aren’t delightful, but are visceral. Frosting is slathered on haphazardly with licorice used to create outlines. Sometimes, the lines are droopy and it appears that the entire piece is melting.  The result is a peculiar and unsettling group of photographs that speaks to the sickening amount of junk food we have available as well as a reinterpretation of the self portrait.

These photos are currently on display in his exhibition Wotsit All About at the Gazelli Art House in London through September 11th of this year.

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Sexually Charged Paintings By Till Rabus Collide Between Hyperrealism And Symbolism

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Swiss artist Till Rabus combines hyperrealism aesthetics with a touch of surreal scenarios to create his sexually charged, marginal paintings. Rabus’s inconvenient art consists mostly of suggestive anthropomorphic still lives and tangled up limbs, all engaging in provoking sexual situations. His immaculate attention to real-life detail makes it hard to distinguish a painting from a photograph.

Regardless of the intended eroticism, Rabus’s paintings are far from vulgar. His works rarely depict straightforward sexual objects, rather use symbols to create the desired connotation. Viewer is left with phallic confectionery, oysters and other inanimate objects that stimulate the imagination. Even the orgiastic compositions don’t reveal the full story but depend on observer’s ability to give personal meaning.

The clash between hyper-realistic style and symbolic, surreal content is what makes Rabus’s works so eye-catching. An also unexpected symmetry and palette of complementary colors induces a sense of order in an otherwise chaotic Rabus’s world of fantasy. (via Asylum Art)

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Revealing Photos Showcase Taboo Evening Activities People Engage In

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The photographic series Day & Night by Atlanta, Georgia-based photographer Forest McMullin showcases the dual lives that people lead. As the title may suggest, it captures the difference between what people do during the day versus their evening activities.  This often results in the visual dichotomy of the socially acceptable paired with the taboo.

Each composition features side-by-side images of people or a couple. In the photograph on the left, we often see them in professional attire sitting in their living room or at their job. The image on the right, however, tells a different tell. We see the same person clad in leather, completely nude, tied up, gagged, and more. It’s a stark contrast and a side that only a select few get to see.

McMullin’s photographs are meant to challenge the notion of what is considered normal and acceptable. Obviously, in the sexualized images are not seen as common and even deviant to some viewers but are a form of expression and freedom nonetheless.  (Via Dark Silence in Suburbia)

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Intimate Portraits Of People With Disabilities Questions Societies Notions Of Beauty

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The nudes in Olivier Fermariello’s series “Je t’aime moi aussi” aren’t the familiar forms. Do they make you uncomfortable, these images of men and women outside the norm? Do you want to look away? Do the portraits feel exploitive?

People with disability in most cases feel the discrimination of not being considered entirely as a man or a woman: instead they feel treated either as children, either as beings belonging to a third gender, neutral with no libido. This project is about people, who are suffering from this kind of discrimination, but are not willing to give up their fight choosing a direct way to express themselves revealing their intimacy.

There is very specific platonic ideal of attractiveness that we all know, even if we choose not to accept it. Sure Dove has been campaigning for “real beauty” and Debenhams put size 16 mannequins in shop windows, but the vast majority of self-acceptance/social-acceptance images we see feature non-disabled people. The exclusion of images of people with disabilities removes them from the context of normalcy, both alienating and alien-making.

The series title translates to “I love you, too,” and this comes through in Fermariello’s photos. His pictures are not sensational —there is little effort to make the subjects of the photos look strange or other. There is also very little artifice, especially in the photos of the little person. She is captured, documentary-style, allowing us to see commonalities. This is an adult woman, sexual and sensual. All of the people photographed are making a clear statement in their fierce nakedness.

I wondered to what extent a disabled person was willing to go in leading a battle against the ultimate taboo in the field of disability. These images are the answer to my question.

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