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;.

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

More about Transgender (and more)

How old is it old enough to ‘decide’ whether or not one is transgender? Is gender identity something one could decide? Below are three documentaries of profound stories, about children who started transitioning at a young age.

Josie’s Story

“They’ve made the decision to kill themselves at the age of 12 and 13, that’s a pretty powerful decision. […] If doing nothing is doing harm, you have to do something.” -Dr. Olson

Boys Will Be Girls 20/20 part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

“You don’t make a decision about your gender identity. It’s not something you decide.” -Dr. Olson

“I knew I was a boy when I was two years old. I think everybody knows what gender they are at a very early age.” -Jackie’s father

“Many people think after you have the [sex reassignment] surgery you are completely happy with your life. No! It’s just you feel complete, you feel at a beginning. Because that’s what other girls have when they are born.” -Kim

Jazz’s Story

“Just because I’m a little different, does not mean I should not have the right to play with my team [girl’s soccer].” -Jazz’s response to her school board rejecting her from playing in the girl’s soccer team