Art is Androgynous: I Merey

My school counselor once said something to me that I would never forget: “Art is Androgynous”.

Art is all around, is inclusive and not exclusive. Art is androgynous because it embraces both masculine and feminine (and all that in between). The institution of art has been dominated by male; the society it which the institution locates has been dominated by male, but art itself has always been about beauty and truth. And beauty and truth is beyond gender.

So what would be more appropriate than to introduce artists and their art of androgyny?

The Morning After (ink, acrylic, oil pastel, colored pencil and graphite on cardboard) by I Mere

 

I Merey is a Hungarian artist and graphic novelist from Portland Oregon, currently living in Munich.

His 2010 graphic novel a + e 4ever is named 2012 Stonewall Honor Book in Children’s and Young Adult Literature [2], and listed as one of the top ten choices on the 2012 Over the Rainbow book list for Adult Readers. [1]

I have come to know I Merey through Tumblr, and have been in love with his art ever since. His topic of choice is consistently of androgynous subjects, trans* and queer individuals.

He does a number of portraits of famous androgynous models, including Australian top model Andrej Pejic and Stav Strashko, Ukraine born androgynous model famous for his apparence in the 2013 Toyota Auris commercial.

Portrait of S. Strashko by I Merey

Andrej Pejic by I Merey

In I Merey’s art, one could see the influence of Japanese manga, art nouveau, and expressionism. Some of his favorite artists Alphonse Mucha, Audrey Kawasaki, James Jean, Rod Luff, and Takato Yamamoto are known for erotic, detailed, deluxe, and exotic style of art; often create a dream-like atmosphere and aura around the characters. Such characteristics could also been observed in many of I Merey’s drawings.

Vampire by Takato Yamamoto

Nest Drawing (2011) by Rod Luff

The Third Dream by I Merey

In one of our exchange of messages, I Merey quotes Oscar Wilde that “To define is to limit.” It appears to be a rather befitting caption for all of his art, from drawings, portraits to graphic novels. The beautiful creatures in I Merey’s art are always fluid, otherworldly and untouchable; they do not answer to the society’s gender rules and so-called norms. They refuse to change who they are to “settle in”.

When I asked I Merey for what mediums he used for his art, his response, in retrospect, was rather metaphorical. He said that he uses everything. Most of his drawings are composed of all kinds of mediums from ink, graphite, pastel, oil pastel, water color to acrylic, gel pen and colored pencil. “The only thing that is consistent is what I draw on (always paper–white, brown or cardboard).” He wrote in one of the messages we exchanged, “I don’t do that canvas thing.”

It is just like his art–a bit of everything. Male and female; masculine and feminine; angelic and devilish; innocent to erotic… The only thing that doesn’t change is the subject of his art–always the beautiful outcasts, walking the teletrope between genders, sexualities and identities, wandering in and out of the norm and absolutely lavishing.

Reference

[1]  “Over the Rainbow Books.” Over the Rainbow Books 2012 Over the Rainbow List74 LGBT Books for Adult Readers Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2013. <http://www.glbtrt.ala.org/overtherainbow/archives/342&gt;.

[2] “Stonewall Book Awards List.” American Library Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2013. <http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/award/honored&gt;.

Something worth celebrate: Coy Mathis

Today is a day worth celebrate because we have made another step forward on the scene of transgender equal rights movement.

Coy Mathis, a six year-old transgender first grader, has been told by her school that she cannot use the girl’s restroom because “as she grew older and developed, some students and parents would likely become uncomfortable”, and that “Coy’s birth certificate stated she was male” even when her recent medical and legal documents acknowledged her identity as a female*, according to today’s New York Times article.

After an investigation since Kathryn Mathis, Coy’s mother, filed a complaint with Colorado Civil Rights Division in February, the Division has ruled in favor of Coy Mathis. It has become the first case ruling in the U.S. that holds that “transgender students be allowed to use bathrooms that match who they are”, said Michael D. Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (where Coy’s story made the homepage of the organization’s website).

Coy (L) and her family. Credit: TLDEF Information

TLDEF’s Homepage Article on Coy’s Winning the Case

*It is mentioned in CCN’s report that “Coy’s passport and state-issued identification recognize her as female.” [x]

To see more reports:

Admin Note: Thanks to Lesley for linking me the article this morning. It was a wonderful thing to wake up to.

Tebya: Why say something?

While advocating LGBTQ rights, or any human rights in that matter, there’s always the question of “why bother?”. Why not just be gay, be lesbian, be bisexual or be trans and go on with your life? Why vocalizing it and announcing it to the world? Why ‘pride’? Why advocate?

It seems easier to save the trouble; it feels safer to remain silent. Speaking up means exposing yourself, means to take matters into your own hands and putting yourself on the line. Even in California, one of the most LGBTQ friendly states in the U.S., over 78% of transgender individuals have reported being harassed at school, according to National Gay and Lesbian Task Force‘s regional report. Sometimes, speaking up puts you in danger.

But not saying anything is also dangerous.

Not saying anything is breeding ignorance, is allowing the discrimination to continue. Hatred and discrimination doesn’t stop itself. Not saying something against it might be avoiding the confrontation and immediate danger, but it only puts the danger in the future.

Of all the things I fear, ignorance the greatest. People fear the things they don’t understand; fear grows on ignorance, and hate grows on fear.

Saying something is to break the silence, removing the barrier and let conversations happen. It might be intimidating at first, but just like what R says in the movie Warm Bodies: all great changes are a little scary at first.

-Tebe

The Genderbread Person v2.0

The Genderbread Person was introduced me a while back in the comments by a school teacher (the comment was not published because it mentioned my name). It’s a rather accurate graphic model explaining the concept of gender, expression, sex, and sexuality.

It’s beautiful, fun and easy to understand. Quite like the Gender Book project that’s introduced in my earlier post (which was kind of the archetype for this entire blog if you may).

I like how the creator says in his video that the goal of his project is not only to create resources that help people to be aware of the issues, but also help people to teach other people about these issues.

As someone in the community, I like to think of it not as a responsibility but a privilege to educate others about these issues that would ultimately benefit everyone if resolved.

The Genderbread Person is a project under the site It’s Pronounced Metrosexual (http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/). They also have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MetroSam) and Twitter account (https://twitter.com/ActuallyMetro).

Admin note: What should I blog about next? Suggest in the comment! Or contact me at cerealwithwine@gmail.com.