Thursday, February 28, 2013


Also, Amphieroticsm

 Amphiertic, The Gay Dictionary Series (8" x 8") January 2013

I did not know or use “Amphierotic” either in writing or speech before doing the Gay Dictionary series, so when my search for gay related words found it, I jumped on it – yes, I know that is an unfortunate pun.  The word is synonymous with “androgynous” and almost to “bisexual” and is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “capacity of erotic reaction toward either sex.”  In the future I shall use it whenever the occasion allows.  I can find no extended definition with word origin, though “amphi” meaning “both sides” comes from the Latin by way of the ancient Greek tongue and is related to “ambi,” meaning either/or. The term was invented by the Hungarian Psychoanalyst, Sandor Ferenczi (Ferenczi Sandor in Hungarian usage).*

I’ve imbedded bits and pieces of historic amphieroticsm in the layers of the distressed painting including “The Right Honorable J. A. Plantagenet Stewart,” (a cross dresser) painting by Thomas Hazelhurst (circa 1800).  A photographic image of Sandor Ferenczi is partially buried in paint and paper near the center of the artwork.   I’ve also buried the definition of AC/DC as electric current as well as the vernacular form that is synonymous with amphierotic in the layers of distressed paint and torn paper.  There are other buried and lost historic images, and some purposefully left very visible.  These are not my images, nor do I own them.  They were found on the Website, “Homo History,”  a great site for images specific to gay and lesbian history.

*Ferenczi (1873-1933) was an associate of Sigmund Freud.  Ferenczi advocated for a more active role on the part of the psychoanalyst than Freud.  He believed that an active empathy was the foundation of interaction between patient and psychoanalyst during therapy.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Gay Dictionary Series, "Queen" (8" x8") January 20, 2012

Not the rock band – instead it’s another in the Gay Dictionary Series.  I used two nostalgic images of rather obviously partnered gay men from the Website, Homo History:  Reclaiming Our Past and Ruffling Some Feathers.  I also found a paperback book, Idylls of the Queens, Greenleaf Classics, Inc., first edition (1968), value, $124.00 at Amazon.  Yes, that was $124.00!  So, I do not own a copy, just used the image, buried in paint and repeated different sizes so as to telescope the image creating an illusion of hidden depth.  Hopefully that illusion at the center of this montage will help to lead the viewer into the painting.  The glittery orange-red band around the perimeter of the artwork is made from a photograph that I took of glittery cloth that I have processed in photoshop to be of many shades and hues.  There are other images hidden in the layers of paint.  Can you find them?  I don’t feel the artwork is as successful as most of the others in the series.  However, artists are notorious for being dissatisfied with their own finished work, and viewers may surprise.

Queen as a stereotype of a flamboyant gay male has been around since the 1930's.  There are many subtypes including  drag queen, bean queen, size queen, and many others.  A detailed history of queen in all its various permutations can be found in Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Fruit, mixed media distressed painting (8" x 8") January 30, 2012

Number 16 in the Gay Dictionary Series is “Fruit.” Along with the terms “fruitcake” and “fruity” it is one of the more obvious pejoratives used over the years to denote persons of my ilk. These terms indicated the widely held belief that all gay men behaved in a manner that heterosexuals considered to be womanish or “effeminate.” The terms are, unfortunately still used by those who hold prejudice against gay men. In contemporary LGBT life the terms are used humorously,and/or as terms of endearment as in “I love fruit,” or “you’re a real fruit, sweetie.” Newer terms have appeared that combine fruit with other terms such as "fruit machine," used to describe LGBT (more specifically gay male) nightlife.

 In the artwork I play with “fruit,” pun literally, as well as look for historical references to behaviors that gay men purposefully used with one another and flaunted in front of their heterosexual brethren. These include a photo that I tore and painted over from a 1970’s San Francisco Pride Parade. Buried in the layers of paint and text are my own photographs of actual, apples, figs, and peaches. The red and gold borders are made with painted tape and metallic pen in that order.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


"Festive," mixed media distressed paint (8" x 8") January 25, 2013

Another in the Gay Dictionary Series of mixed media distressed paintings, Festive is a near synonym for “gay.”  As a gay man, I always found most interesting the contrast between the negative public connotation for lesbian women and gay men versus our own use of terms like “festive” and “gay” to describe many of our social activities.  The artwork here is meant to emphasize the positive nature of our pleasure in socializing as lesbian women and gay men.  So many of my gay friends use “festive” in their speech to punctuate a special time with gay friends. - “What a festive outfit! Or ”Tom threw a festive party Last Valentine’s Day.” It is also meant to contrast the pleasure many gay men take in creating a “festive” and often ‘’elegant’ home environment, sometimes as compensation for family members having difficulty with their “festive” offspring, and/or the larger culture’s negativity. 

In short, festive is an extremely positive gay term, and is gayer than Emerald City in the film version of The Wizard of Oz!  A recommendation to all my straight friends - I realize that almost every gay person was closeted when that film was made - but really, open your eyes and watch that film one more time.  It’s all that colorful "festive" gayness that makes it such a wonderful cinematic experience.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

“Fag” Changes

"Fag", (Acrylic, distressed paint, glue, torn paper and digital photography), reworked January 29, 2013

Quite often I look at a finished artwork and say to myself, “that isn’t right.”  In such circumstances I usually end up putting the work aside and moving on to something else with the intent of letting my subconscious work on the issue.  Upon revisiting the unsatisfactory work, I know what to do to make it right.  And, on the occasion when I am still not sure, frustrated, I lock the piece away in a closet and forget about it for several weeks, months, even a year.  If at that point I am still in a quandary, I paint over the inadequate piece.

In this particular case the intense cyan line forming a square 3/8” in from the edge of “Fag” really annoyed me (Refer to my blog entry for January 23, 2013 to see the painting in its original state.).  So, after pressing the work along with others beneath a stack of books for a week, I took another look, and removed that bothersome cyan square.  Fortunately the tape made blue with acrylic paint came away with only a few flakes of paint coming away with it.  Had there been more it wouldn’t have mattered since these mixed media works are made with multiple layers of distressed paint.  Next, I added a new square made of cut strips of a cyan glitter photograph I took with my trusty Sony digital camera.  Still not completely satisfied, I added a thin line of gold metallic paint around the 4” square containing the distressed, and digitally manipulated words, “Fag (noun).”  

Finally, I thought, as I beheld the painting.  I am blessed with a feeling of resolution, and I can put "Fag" away until time to float it in its frame.