It was interesting to hear some talk from a blogger in Europe who had come to the conclusion that a lot of graffiti was homoerotic art. I totally agree. I think he came to this conclusion from visiting Sydney because Sydney is a gay capital and the spectrum of graffiti seems to cross over into over masculine or hyper masculine tropes of being super tough. This is totally applicable to Sydney and the scene here. It would probably cross over into Europe as well but Sydney seems the capital of this attitude. It probably sounds inflammatory or completely stupid but if you think of the level of denial and over masculine anti-homosexual sentiment that plagued graffiti in the late 80s and early 90s it makes sense. The level of denial is suppressive and in my opinion sexuality is fluid but these sometimes gaol entering tough guys seem to end up in largely masculine oppressive structures. The joke of the state being the gay dungeon master seems to make sense when in Sydney graffiti artists end up in gaol quite frequently for various crimes as well as graffiti.
Some graffiti artists come out of gaol putting on an even more masculine attitude than when they went into prison. It isn’t that they are homosexual that isn’t the point. What it says though is they express a homoerotic fantasy through their fixation of masculinity. Graffiti is also a masculine dominated form so homoerotic themes are going to be there. Even in my own work I have noticed these themes and I have been aware of them. For me I embrace it and let it come through the work. My own work is mainly dominated by themes of mental instability and mental illness primarily. But I normally joke about the over masculine work because it is there at times.
The funny thing is it doesn’t need to be denied in any way. It is simply part of the art form. It is an underlying theme and why not? I am surprised that a lot of graffiti artists are not collected simply for the homoerotic themes. It seems weird meaning not only are the graffiti artists in denial but also serious collectors who will turn their noses up. It should be embraced by everyone.
As an example take an artist like Ladson Pollock who makes homoerotic art with its tough guy muscle bound persona. He is probably part of a few others embracing this part of Sydney culture. It is great. The art taps into this sexualised area well. There are a few artists exploring it. This really helps opens doors, probably some back doors too!!!