Keepsakes from several occasions

25 Jan

At Jol’s 40th I met a young artist who works in various media but whose performances have included knitting naked. He came by my motel my last night in Los Angeles and agreed to appear in a sex-tape painting. I’ve been doing them since shortly after participating in the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s 2010 restaging of ceramicist James Melchert’s 1972 performance in clay slip. Wanting a keepsake from the occasion, I transferred video stills to unprimed linen:

Reliable Narratives, Melchert Reenactment, No. 1., 2010. Iron-on inkjet video-still transfers and acrylic matte medium on unprimed linen.

This lead to thinking about how to use imagery from the early Devon days:

Reliable Narratives, Keepsake, 2010. Iron-on inkjet video-still transfers and acrylic matte medium on unprimed linen.

Because the photo-paintings, which did soon become more painterly were primarily seen by people who saw me naked, I soon began asking viewers — that is, visitors to my apartment — if they wanted to be appear in paintings. Credit the power of the canvas as a signifier of art, not porn, but sure enough, they agreed, although in this case the man with me is Devon Hunter.

Reliable Narratives,Trust Exercises, No. 1, 2011. Enamel, iron-on inkjet video-still transfers and acrylic gloss medium on canvas.

Anyway, the knitter is my latest collaborator. He was also the first guy I’ve played with off-duty since resuming escorting last month. We gathered source material Sunday night that I’ll later incorporate into paintings.

The joke behind sex-tape paintings is that they’re porn and video art with the boring parts — that is, all but four frames — edited out, but I think their thin slices represent real sexual chemistry more accurately than porn, which involves a lot more staging than simply turning on a lamp, placing a Canon Powershot on a desk and hitting “record.”

And while porn memorializes an encounter through lighting, staging and direction, the canvas does that job in sex-tape paintings by saying the event it records belongs there. Ironically, because I use t-shirt iron-on paper to make the transfers, the canvas will resist it, causing areas of crackle and crumbling in the final image that underscores the sense of an encounter’s ephemerality.

Doing the painting will make me more sentimental about both the occasion and my collaborator. How will I ever forget the knitter now, let alone once we’re in a painting together — even one in which he is mostly obscured? Implicit in the act of memorializing something and/or someone is a declaration that they’re special; doing that, in turn, makes them more so.

One Response to “Keepsakes from several occasions”

  1. pete January 30, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    My wish is to see a sex tape of u in a worship session. Post for your fans

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