‘Man & Penguin’ Original illustration.
This is one of the 4 part Original series; ‘Birds’. The series depicts 4 men along with 4 different exotic birds. These men blur the gender lines by appearing beautiful & ornate.
I created this series to celebrate male femininity. I feel that there is nothing shameful about crossdressing. I feel that everyone has a right to be and project whatever makes them feel beautiful.
I believe that femininity isn’t gender exclusive, and a man can express femininity and be ornate, while still being a man. Expressing femine aspects does not de-masculinise men, and shouldn’t be seen as a threat.
Similar work by artists Rion Sabean and Paul Richmond explore the underlying sexism of men not being expected to pose submissively and flash their knickers. I whole heartedly agree with this point, but I’m interested in is the issue that men don’t always have the freedom to express themselves in this way if they wish without attracting negativity; usually a comment about what ‘real men’ are supposed to be/do/think.
Why is it ‘ridiculous’, and ‘funny’ to see men in traditionally feminine poses or roles? I’d like to quote Charlotte Gainsbourg:
“Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots. ‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading. ‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly you’d love to know what it’s like… Wouldn’t you? What it feels like for a girl.”
Femininity does not necessarily mean female, no more than masculinity means male. My intent with this series was to celebrate the male form celebrating their femininity and being ornate.
Copic markers on cartridge paper