The Artists of this Art are GAY!

Being Out and proud is not a privilege I have. I have told reporters and film makers to be cautious of elaborating on my relationship with my life partner (13 years now!) because of the dangers of the street.
I worship the street, it is our Agora, a bustling mix of sanity of madness. On one side of the street is a multimillionaire dealing in the stock exchange, on the other is a homeless man openly smoking meth in a crack pipe. The extremities of the street is something I have to deal with every day, it is something I deeply respect and really it does take a toll upon me emotionally. I quite literally sit in the middle of it and draw pictures upon the ground. Not only am I in the middle of it, I soak it up like sawdust on a pile of vomit.
Now with that in mind, I hope that one can understand how vulnerable I am on the street. On the ground, hunched over, back turned to the mob itself, meanwhile exploring the alternate reality of Art, (which is transversive of the universe and mind in its mere function).
Being Out and Proud is not a priority, nor a concern. I don’t consider myself a gay artist, nor do I really don’t care about the whole subculture. I am gay. It’s as simple as that, it is how my brain works and what appeals to me. In actuality, this fact should not affect anyone, I’m a monogamous dude and dedicated to The Wayne, my beloved.

Australia is still one the few Western countries that has not legalised gay marriage. A topic I don’t actually care about, but it inadvertently affecting me as it’s now going towards a postal vote. The first serious attempt to deal with the subject.

On Saturday I was working by myself. Some thirty meters, on a amp, is a preacher. I know the guy, his name is “Dusty” and is a former alcoholic, gambler and abusive parent. He was an orphan and suffered from sexual abuse from Catholic priests when raised in a mission. Now that he has found God he transfers his self-justified anger and hate upon the masses on the street every Saturday. His offenses against me have included calling me an Idolater, a pervert, “semen spitting abomination” (which is a titled I take pride in!), telling people not to give me donations because, “I worship the devil”, that my art is “rubbish and should be destroyed” – you get the point. Anyway, he’s a fucking nuisance nutcase I have to put up with every damn Saturday.

Well last Saturday was naturally topical, on the “Wrongs of Gays” and “Gay Marriage”. How homosexuals are unnatural sinners before god – blah, blah – how voting Yes on gay marriage is a sin before god and an insult to our Christian nation.

Here I am *trying*, like really trying, to draw this beautiful reproduction of Bouguereau and being forced to listen to this shit. This same shit I’ve had to put up with my entire life. So I cracked it, I unplugged his amp and threatened the guy if he doesn’t shut the fuck up I’m going to knock his fucking teeth out.

He did shut up, but called the cops on me. I told them to fuck off, but explained to them, I am gay, I suffer from PTSD and a long list of mental problems because of people like that preacher, (a truthful statement: I suffered another severe mental breakdown a few days after this event).  Being reduced to animals, child abusers, being told I’m not untitled to basic human rights is what is called “Triggering”, used in its proper context, not in the way the term is thrown around online flippantly.

What “straight” people reduce to a political topic is an actuality to gays. Being gay is not being political. Expecting to be entitled to the same rights of others is not political.

Now, as my religious role dictates, I must be apolitical. It’s a really hard task. But I do not believe this is a political subject.

In my own religion marriage is a sacred act, it is holy and universal, it’s literally like death. Sex, gender does not even compute in the equations of what is marriage. So male/female only marriage is actually against my religious beliefs. By Australian laws on freedom of religion, I should be entitled to be married to my partner for religious reasons, regardless of if it is commonly recognised as being legal or not.

Anyway, being exposed to this garbage from this preacher, this despicable man, I came out on the street. I wrote in big bold letters “I am gay!”

As I mentioned at the start, this is a statement that can have serious repercussions to me. I’ve already been gang bashed, and Wayne has had his jaw broken for less. So it’s dangerous for me to do this. But fuck it. It needs to be said and I did.

I’m fucking proud of being homosexual, I think it is a sacred thing, it brings me closer to my god, to my love for life and to my partner. It’s about time for this backwater country stolen by whites and called “Australia” to embrace the universal rights of homosexuals.

Vote YES.

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Monthly Shout out to Patreon sponsors and work updates

The title pretty much says it all! Thank you to my sponsors!!! Donations are my main means of income with most of our earning going straight back into making art. Here are some updates of street art and private work.
If you’d like to become a sponsor here is my Patreon.

Street Art Update

I wish to give my thanks to my Patreon sponsors, the donations I’ve been receiving has been really helpful lately. As a gift to my readers and admirers here is some updated photos of our work.

We’re making these pictures really fast and gathering a collection, if anyone is interested in buying feel free to email me for info.

Dona’ria Technitai to Madonnari to Modern Pavement Artists

(Note: I’m going through my old blog and republishing choice articles here. Eventually the old blog will be deactivated.)

Anathema is a word I’ve heard of but never knew what it meant. In Catholic and Orthodox faith it’s a word of condemnation with varying levels of complexity and negative connotations. For the Ancient Hellenics it was different, votive sacrifices dedicated to the gods often in the form of artwork.

What really caught me is this from A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities by William Smith (as quoted on the Art is Anathema website )

“DONA′RIA (ἀναθήματα or ἀνακείμενα), are names by which the ancients designated presents made to the gods, either by individuals or communities. Sometimes they are also called dona or δῶρα. The belief that the gods were pleased with costly presents was as natural to the ancients as the belief that they could be influenced in their conduct towards men by the offering of sacrifices; and, indeed, both sprang from the same feeling. Presents were mostly given as tokens of gratitude for some favour which a god had bestowed on man; but in many cases they were intended to induce the deity to grant some special favour.

At the time when the fine arts flourished in Greece the anathemata were generally works of art of exquisite workmanship, such as high tripods bearing vases, craters, cups, candelabras, pictures, statues, and various other things. The materials of which they were made differed according to circumstances; some were of bronze, others of silver or gold (Athen. VI p231, &c.), and their number is to us almost inconceivable (Demosth.Olynth. III. p35). The treasures of the temples of Delphi and Olympia, in particular, surpass all conception. Even Pausanias, at a period when numberless works of art must have perished in the various ravages and plunders to which Greece had been exposed, saw and described an astonishing number of anathemata.

Individuals who had escaped from some danger were no less anxious to show their gratitude to the gods by anathemata than communities. In all cases in which a cure was effected presents were made to the temple, and little tablets (tabulae votivae) were suspended on its walls, containing an account of the danger from which the patient had escaped, and of the manner in which he had been restored to health. Some tablets of this kind, with their inscriptions, are still extant (Wolf, l.c., p242, &c.). From some relics of ancient art we must infer, that in some cases, when a particular part of the body was attacked by disease, the person, after his recovery, dedicated an imitation of that part in gold or silver to the god to whom he owed his recovery. Persons who had escaped from shipwreck usually dedicated to Neptune the dress which they wore at the time of their danger (Hor. Carm. I.5.13;Virg. Aen. XII.768); but if they had escaped naked, they dedicated some locks of their hair (Lucian, de Merc. Cond. c1 vol. I p652, ed. Reiz.). Shipwrecked persons also suspended votive tablets in the temple of Neptune, on which their accident was described or painted. Individuals who gave up the profession or occupation by which they had gained their livelihood, frequently dedicated in a temple the instruments which they had used, as a grateful acknowledgment of the favour of the gods. The soldier thus dedicated his arms, the fishermen his net, the shepherd his flute, the poet his lyre, cithara, or harp, &c.

It would be impossible to attempt to enumerate all the occasions on which individuals, as well as communities, showed their gratefulness towards the gods by anathemata. Descriptions of the most remarkable presents in the various temples of Greece may be read in the works of Herodotus, Strabo, Pausanias, Athenaeus, and others.”

As Smith states there are many ancient examples of votive offerings dedicated to temples, including simple things like basic terracotta or bronze animals to complex protomes, sculptures of deities, tripods, tables etc. But what I wasn’t aware of is the commissioned illustration of traumatic scenes, illness, accidents.  This is a particularly fascinating to me because it’s a tradition that continues today in Sicily in the form of Ex-Voto.

“Ex-votos can take a wide variety of forms. They are not only intended for the helping figure, but also as a testimony to later visitors of the received help. As such they may include texts explaining a miracle attributed to the helper, or symbols such as a painted or modeled reproduction of a miraculously healed body part, or a directly related item such as a crutch given by a person formerly lame.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex-voto

Example of Ex-Voto, man being hit by a flower pot and surviving.

 

This then brings me back to my own work as a pavement artist. As this is my profession I have a keen interested in regards to the history of pavement art. It is an history obscured by a lack of interest from art historians because it deals with a subject that is usually considered lowly.

However pavement art history is extremely rich and powerful, there are even examples of it being a political movement in the late 1800’s as a preferred form of expression for the suffragettes.  http://screever.org/

Asphalt Renaissance  by Kurt Wenner* discusses the history of the pavement art, looking at examples found in other cultures in India and Buddhist mandalas, but Wenner’s main focus is on the Madonnari  The traditional pavement artists of Italy. The Madonnari are known for drawing votive images of Madonna.  In this regard, the Madonnari are considered the first pavement artists with references of their existence in the late Renaissance as maimed veterans of the Crusades.**

They were in every sense ex-voto painters, that would work outside churches, churchgoers would purchase the crude images and donate them to the church. Just like what the Greeks did. Some artists were so poor they could not afford boards to draw / paint upon so they began drawing on the street itself – giving birth to pavement art.

This discovery therefore draws a direct line from the Madonnari to the dona artists of ancient Greece and illustrates that the tradition of devotional artists goes back to ancient Hellenistic times.

*Unfortunately my book was stolen so I cannot provide quotes, however it’s highly recommended to buy this well researched, beautiful and awe inspiring book.

** This is why the crutch is a symbol of pavement artists.

Modern pavement Artist, Francois Pelletier in Paris.

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“The Beloved”

At the beginning of the year I started a large reproduction of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s “The Beloved”, also known as The Bride. It has taken me roughly two months to complete at a size of 1.5 by 1.8 metres, on canvas in pastel.

I’m a fan of Rossetti and intend to do a series of his works over the next year or so. (Already started a new one!)

I technically finished my version earlier this week, but will need to make some corrections and repairs in the studio, especially if sold – yes, this work is for sale – email me if interested: markos.gage “@” gmail.com

The Beloved is a fascinating painting as it is very odd in terms of composition, style and colour. Rossetti’s work is usually very strange and unique, but with obvious influences from European masters, in this painting there international uses of clothing and jewellery including the green Japanese silk dress of the bride and Peruvian jewels.

Being one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Rossetti sought to change the Victorian standards of art and challenged the artistic establishment in Britain with his pieces.

The Beloved is in part inspired by The Song of Solomon, (one of the most beautiful and erotic pieces in the Bible), on the frame of the original painting are two passages from the song:

My beloved is mine and I am his (2:16)

And

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine (1:2)

Therefore this scene captures the bride revealing herself to the groom (the viewer).

I’m happy with my rendering of it, especially considering I was sick for a majority of drawing it, but there are a few things I wish to fix. Foremost is the left eye of the bride – it needs to be reshaped and adjusted. The African flower boy’s face needs some shaping and his hands corrected. Also some basic repairs from the damage caused by the elements.

Below are some selected progress pictures. (Also to prove to my hecklers that *NO* I don’t buy my paintings from overseas and “pretend” to draw them.)